The family behind two of Sonoma County’s largest commercial properties — including Coddingtown in Santa Rosa — on March 28 said they finished splitting business holdings into two organizations.

Investment company SOMO Living, LLC, whose largest holding is the 175-acre SOMO Village development in east Rohnert Park, is now separate from Codding Enterprises, which retains Coddingtown, Merced Mall in the Central Valley and commercial properties around them. The Coddings first discussed this transition in December as they were reacquiring full ownership of Coddingtown from Simon Property Group.

The reorganization also comes as the first construction is moving toward starting this year at SOMO Village, a former Agilent Technologies campus where 1,721 homes are planned.

Brad Baker shifted from the helm of Codding to lead SOMO Living, with ownership of it shared by Connie Codding, his mother and wife of the late Hugh Codding, a major local real estate developer. Codding Enterprises is run by granddaughters Lisa and Lois Codding, who also run Codding Construction.

“It is more of an estate-planning exercise between different family members,” Baker said Wednesday.

Connie Codding said in a statement that Hugh Codding would see this new ownership structure as “work to continue his legacy.”

Codding Enterprises in December bought back the 50 percent stake in Coddingtown sold to Simon Property Group in 2005. Proceeds from the original deal helped fund Codding Enterprises’s purchase of the 200-acre former Hewlett-Packard then Agilent campus on Valley House Road, setting the stage for Baker’s plan to create a large, environmentally friendly community, called Sonoma Mountain Village then SOMO Village.

The 600,000 square feet of former Agilent buildings there are 97 percent full. That’s thanks to the recent addition of Keysight Technologies in temporary space as repairs continue on its headquarters in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove area.

Under the umbrella of eight-employee SOMO Living umbrella are SOMO Village Commercial, LLC; SOMO Land Company, LLC; SOMO Construction, Inc.; and SOMO Management, LLC, which are involved in real estate development, property management and construction. Holdings include retail space in Rohnert Park such as the building that houses Driven Raceway. SOMO Living also invests in natural-foods, technology and alternative-energy companies.

Montgomery Village Shopping Center in east Santa Rosa has been owned and operated for years by a different Codding, Hugh’s son David.


Plans for the undeveloped part of SOMO Village could be finalized by this summer to a point where deals could start being struck with homebuilders to build the units and work on infrastructure could begin, Baker said. A final development plan was submitted to the city of Rohnert Park last week, asking for a couple of amendments to development agreement the city green-lighted a few years ago.

The changes include more specificity on the locations of a water tank to serve multiple developments in the area, affordable-housing units and a fire station. Also in the works is a plan for a 30-acre buffer area between the planned development and a breeding pond a half-mile away for the protected California tiger salamander. These matters are set to be before the city Planning Commission on Thursday and City Council in May.

If approved, final maps for the development could go for a city OK by June then circulated to prospective builders, Baker said.

“We’d love to break ground this year, but a lot of infrastructure needs to be in place,” he said.

Some are prepared to do some of their own infrastructure, such sidewalks and as pads on which to build houses, and others would be more interested in buying into the project after that preliminary work is done, he said.

“Maybe 20 percent we will let in early, and 80 percent will want to buy finished pads,” Baker said.

SOMO Living plans to put in as much of the infrastructure as possible attract builders. Basic sewer lines have been extended into the development. The company will take care of the affordable-housing requirement by building those 225 units. Other elements to be added will be 48 acres of parks, a multipurpose path connecting the development to the Cotati SMART train station, and a soccer field. A goal is to start such infrastructure construction this year and have it done by next year.

Despite facing competition from rebuilding over 5,000 homes at the north end of Santa Rosa destroyed by the October wildfires, SOMO Village has interest from homebuilders, Baker said.

“A lot of people have interest in our sustainability and what our brands mean,” he said. “It’s also kind of easier when you can go in and build from scratch 50 or 100 homes at a time versus homes here and there and having different homeowners going with different homebuilders or selling their lots.”

SOMO Village qualified for the One Planet Living Program in 2008 and in 2011 received Platinum-level certification for its project plan under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development rating system.


Meanwhile, construction continues in and around Coddingtown. Upgrades to the north side of the 833,000-square-foot mall are set to wrap this year, and an Ulta Beauty store is lined up to occupy part of it. At the southeast corner of the property, Crunch Fitness and Habit Burger are set to open this year. Commerical buildings to the south of the mall have been eyed for housing.

Jeff Quackenbush (jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256) covers the wine business and commercial construction and real estate.