MDC HOLDINGS, WHOSE SUBSIDIARIES build under the name Richmond American Homes, announced that it has acquired certain real estate assets of Watson Home Builders, a northeast Florida builder, for an undisclosed purchase price paid in cash. The purchase includes more than 330 homes in various stages of construction and more than 280 lots under development in 18 separate communities. Also included was the right to purchase about 1,400 finished lots over the next five years.

The acquisition will boost MDC's market share in Jacksonville, positioning it to become one of the top three single-family detached home builders in the city in 2005. About 55 Watson employees could join MDC in construction, sales, purchasing, marketing, and finance.

In an unrelated purchase, MDC also announced that it has acquired the right to purchase approximately 600 vacant entitled lots in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in southern New Jersey from Patriot Homes, Marlands Homes, and Ivymont Properties. The lots are located in 12 different communities. MDC stated that the company should acquire the properties over the next three years as each project becomes fully entitled. MDC says it plans to build single-family detached homes in each of these communities with base prices projected to start as low as $225,000.

David Mandarich, MDC's CEO, said, “The lots we will be acquiring from Patriot will enable us to significantly accelerate the expansion of our Philadelphia/Delaware Valley division in a market where the regulatory environment can be difficult for new construction. Both the Patriot and Watson transactions will enhance the geographic diversification of our operations in two of the strongest markets for new homes in the country.”