By Iris Richmond. Denver-based M.D.C. Holdings' San Diego operation has reached a critical mass worthy of a full-time management team, says Robert Shiota, M.D.C.'s regional president for Southern California. San Diego's operations had existed in tandem with those at the SoCal division, headquartered in Irvine, since 1995. The company decided in July that it was time to make the split. (Within the past six months, M.D.C. also announced its new Dallas division and the purchase of WL Homes' assets in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.)

As a result of the split, M.D.C. collapsed its SoCal division to form two separate divisions, one in Irvine and the other in Los Angeles. Irvine plans to build roughly 400 homes this year; Los Angeles, 100 units; and San Diego, 350.

San Diego's management team should be in place by fall, says Shiota, who expects the division, doing business under the Richmond American name, to be fully operational by year's end. Spearheading the organizational effort is Lisa Gordon, who joined M.D.C. as executive vice president of the new division as this issue went to press. Gordon had been vice president of land acquisition and planning at KB Home's San Diego division.

M.D.C.'s 50-employee San Diego outfit delivered about 250 homes last year, with prices ranging from $220,000 to $320,000. Richmond American will continue to target first-time and move-up buyers, but the plan, says Shiota, is to let the market dictate what the division builds, which could include infill projects.

"Our parent company [M.D.C. Holdings] wants to double in size," Shiota says, "and we intend to do our part." M.D.C. built 8,174 homes last year.

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, September 2002