Sonoma Mountain Village

Today, we held a meeting at a very cool place. Sonoma Mountain Village is a recycled Agilent campus in Rohnert Park, CA.

During the technology boom, 3000 people used to work and relax at this Agilent facility. During the technology bust, those thousands of people were downsized and vacated the campus. The very rich real estate-owning Codding family bought up the plant and brought in focus groups of young and old people. “What would you want if you lived here?” They answered: “A car-free center that has a movie theater, unique houses, and shopping.” They are hoping that SMV will become Rohnert Park’s downtown city center – which it currently lacks, despite being home to Sonoma State University (part of the Cal-State system).

But enough of the boring history. This place is going to be sweet. It has the second largest solar array in the world (beat only by Google). Codding Steel plans to make pre-fab houses from recycled cars – even better, they make them to each resident’s specs, so you don’t get the cookie cutter effect where all the houses in a planned neighborhood look the same. The Agilent campus is meticulously designed and people friendly, so it’s got good bones for future development. The meeting room (nee Agilent’s cafeteria) is bright and airy. “The first model homes should be available for viewing by mid-2008.” Squee!

Read about it in the San Francisco Chronicle, or check out the satellite image of the site.


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