Horton Digs Into McKinney D.R. Horton picked up what some market experts consider one of the last remaining large parcels in the growing Dallas suburb of McKinney. The builder purchased the 1,000 acres in the nearly 8,000-lot WestRidge golf course community wedged west of U.S. 75 and south of U.S. 380 for an undisclosed price. The purchase could yield as many as 4,000 lots. The Dallas Business Journal estimates that the acquisition bumps the builder's market share in McKinney up to roughly 21 percent, based on information from market research firm Residential Strategies.

Wall Creates Realtor Site Following its grand openings in five new communities, Arlington, Texas–based Wall Homes has tapped into the local Realtor base to boost the company's profile. The builder launched a Web-based tool, Realtors Corner, which agents can access through the builder's Web site. The resource details information about community openings, incentive offers, and Wall Home events.

Warburg Pincus Backs Builders FirstSource Warburg Pincus purchased a 26.2 percent beneficial ownership interest in manufacturer and supplier Builders FirstSource from JLL Partners through its $8 billion global private equity fund, Warburg Pincus Private Equity IX. The deal should close by 2Q06.

Banking on Gainesville's Growth Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is betting that Central Florida development will migrate north into Gainesville. The company shelled out $21.5 million for 540 acres northwest of the city. The company says the land is ideal because it's close to some of the area's biggest employers—the University of Florida, Shands Hospital, and the Alachua County School Board.

The company has a mixed-use development in mind, with up to 2,200 single- and multi-family housing units; nearly 1.5 million square feet of retail and commercial space; 182,000 square feet of office space; 300 hotel rooms; and 440,000 square feet of industrial space.

CENTRAL FLORIDA CORRIDOR Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust plans to get in early on growth creeping north along the Central Florida corridor. Here's how Gainesville stacks up against some of the area's other hot spots.


Mercedes Goes Extreme Melbourne, Fla.–based Mercedes Homes' charitable activities have reached the mainstream limelight. The builder recently signed on with ABC's “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to construct a home in Altamonte Springs, Fla., for recovered addict Sadie Holmes and her five children. Focused on the theme “families helping families,” the employee-owned and family-managed builder plans to construct a business center alongside the home, out of which Holmes will run her nonprofit organization that collects clothing, food, and furniture to distribute to needy residents.

Texas Start-Up Grabs Lots Muscled out of home building by national builders moving into Central Texas, Clark Wilson, founder of start-up Wilson Family Communities, is back in business. His development company is carving out a new place in the industry by buying and developing land to sell mostly to smaller builders.

With $10 million in convertible note financing secured at the end of 2005, the company has gathered some some steam. Recently, it acquired 115 lots in Hutto Square West near Red Rock, Texas. It also has two other projects underway—Georgetown Village and RimRock. Green Builders, Cobblestone Homes, and Lennar Homes are lined up to take down lots. Four more communities are in the pipeline.

KB and Martha Go Global Pleased with the public's warm response to KB Home's first Martha Stewart–inspired community in Cary, N.C., the builder entered into a new agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) to pepper the country with them. In addition to the Cary community, which opens March 12, the builder plans to open additional communities in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla.; and Southern California within the year. At build out, this means roughly 1,800 homes nationwide.

The agreement also finalized the decision to create an exclusive line of MSLO products and design options for both the interior and exterior of the homes.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.