Lennar Launches World’s First WIFI Smart Homes Controlled by Alexa


July 24, 2017

This month Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corporation has launched its WiFi certified smart homes designed for “seamless voice control, shopping and home automation.”

Planned in association with the WiFi alliance, Lennar (the second largest homebuilder in the US, bringing 25,000+ homes to market each year) is the first to participate in its WiFi Home Design program designed to bring the optimum technology-using experience to the home.

Its designs incorporate integrated home automation and voice control via Amazon Alexa as part of what the homebuilder labels its “Everything’s Included” approach to constructing new homes, but significantly the installer is noticeably absent from the picture in favor of household IoT products. Rumors instead suggest Amazon’s “Smart Home Services” (launched only a month ago) will be relied upon to deliver, install and provide support the systems.

“By engineering state-of-the-art Wi-Fi right into the design and construction of every new Lennar home the way we do plumbing and ventilation – and then bringing it to life with Amazon Alexa – families will be able to enjoy a connected lifestyle to the fullest.”

Lennar’s WiFi certified, Android and iOS-compatible home designs are powered by Ruckus Wireless to provide coverage in every room of the home, “with no dead spots” according to the company. It says this can support a seamless experience communicating with the Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, whether controlling their lights, streaming TV or music, unlocking their front door or changing the temperature of their home.
Home automation is facilitated by Samsung SmartThings technology, with other technologies present in the designs including Lutron, Sonos, Honeywell, Kwikset, Baldwin and Ring. At the same time Lennar is making low voltage wiring obsolete, with plans to only implement Ethernet cabling to one or two WAP locations in the whole home. There is also no word on support for outdoor technology such as surveillance cameras or speakers.

“We live in a connected world, but most existing homes simply weren’t built for that world – leading to frustrating dead spots,” commented David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, adding that in 2017 homeowners expect WiFi to “just work.”

“By engineering state-of-the-art Wi-Fi right into the design and construction of every new Lennar home the way we do plumbing and ventilation – and then bringing it to life with Amazon Alexa – families will be able to enjoy a connected lifestyle to the fullest.”

The response to the announcement among the CI community has so far been mixed, with some applauding the homebuilder for sparking an industry-wide conversation on how homebuilders and home technologists can work better together, with others lamenting Lennar’s heavy focus on the wireless technologies of consumer-friendly brands over wired solutions.

Lennar’s WiFi Certified home designs from this month onward, with a nationwide rollout expected by the close of 2017. Homes from Lennar typically start at around the US $245k in some states, and as high as $350k in others.

Link to Article


Newhall Ranch Will Bring Almost 22K Units to LA – Here’s Why It Still Won’t Fix the Housing Shortage

Emile Haddad, Rendering of Newhall Ranch townhouses (USC Lusk Center/Five Point Holdings)

July 24, 2017 04:00PM

Los Angeles County’s housing crisis is so severe that a even a massive development the size of a small city will offer little relief, experts say.

Developer Five Point Holdings won key approvals last week for its Newhall Ranch project, which would bring 21,500 residential units to Los Angeles County over 15 to 20 years. But development would have to continue at the same pace —  and occur at a higher density — in order to have any real impact on the county’s housing shortage, said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA Ziman School for Real Estate.

“Newhall Ranch will certainly be helpful, but not curative in any sense,” he said to KPCC.

Ten percent of housing at the mega-development, which sits in Santa Clarita Valley, will be priced below-market for low income families, according to KPCC.

The 12,000-acre project is expected to break ground next year, following a decades-long battle with environmental groups. 

Newhall Ranch will start out as two villages with 5,500 homes and 2.5 million square feet of commercial space between them.

Environmentalists have been concerned about the greenhouse gases the project could generate and its impact on local wildlife. An attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity said the group might appeal the county’s approval.

Five Point, headed by Emile Haddad, is working to reduce the project’s carbon footprint to zero, according to KPCC. It’s planning to use solar panels on every home and set up electric charging stations.

The developer is also planning off-site mitigation projects such as buying forest land in northern California and delivering clean-burning stoves to sub-Saharan Africa. [KPCC] — Subrina Hudson

Link to Article

UPDATE: Appellate Court Affirms Newhall Ranch’s Landmark Village

Newhall Land Development Inc. won a victory Wednesday in its bid to begin construction of Newhall Ranch as an appellate court affirmed the environmental review and approval of Landmark Village, the first phase planned for construction.

The decision, however, has not stopped environmentalists who sued to halt the planned project on the West Side of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Click HERE for the article.

Appeals Court Clears Path for First 1,400 Homes of Newhall Ranch

A new California Appellate Court ruling affirms the environmental review and approval of Landmark Village, part of Newhall Land’s proposed 20,000-home Newhall Ranch community west of Interstate 5, the company announced Wednesday.

A three-justice panel of the California Second Appellate District unanimously supported a February 2013 ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court that affirmed the development project’s Environmental Impact Report, and other land use permits,  as approved by the County of Los Angeles in late 2011. The court acted on a lawsuit brought against the County by Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, SCOPE and other environmental groups.

The appellate court’s 44 page opinion concurs with the earlier ruling by the trial court and fully validates the EIR, finding that the County of Los Angeles –which was the lead government agency that conducted the environmental review–had acted appropriately and with substantial evidence to approve the detailed document and its related mitigation measures.

“The appellate decision fully supports the Superior Court ruling and validates the several years of environmental review undertaken by the County of Los Angeles regarding Landmark Village,” said Marlee Lauffer, Newhall Land spokeswoman. “We had great confidence in the diligence the County took to certify the EIR.”

“As an owner of a company that is building master planned communities in California, we value our partnership with the County of Los Angeles,” said Emile Haddad, President and CEO of Five Point Communities, the development manager for Newhall Land. “Today, the exhaustive review of the County was affirmed by the Appellate Court to have been completed properly. We are thankful for their efforts and look forward to implementing the plans for Landmark Village.”

Landmark Village is located south of Highway 126 and includes a mixed use office and retail center, an elementary school, 2 miles of river trails and about 1,400 homes. It is part of Newhall Ranch’s Specific Plan which has undergone over 15 years of environmental reviews by the County, state and federal agencies. At build out, Newhall Ranch related villages will bring over 80,000 permanent jobs to the region and over 47,000 development related jobs. The Plan also calls for over 10,000 acres open space, 60 miles of trails, several public schools and community infrastructure including a water reclamation plant, fire stations, library and sheriff station.

Click HERE for the article.

Scoping Meeting Set for Newhall Land Development

Los Angeles County planners have scheduled a scoping meeting March 24 for a development called Entrada, billed by Newhall Land Development Inc. as the gateway to the firm’s proposed Newhall Ranch development.

Entrada would add 1,150 multi-family dwelling units and 2,624,400 square feet of commercial use space to 457 acres of land in the Santa Clarita Valley located west of Interstate 5 and south of Highway 126.

Click HERE for the article.

Review Process Starts for Newhall Land’s ‘North Entrance’ with Town Center

Santa Clarita Valley residents will have a chance to weigh in on the “north entrance” to the eventual 20,000-home Newhall Ranch development at a public meeting March 24.

Entrada North – “entrada” meaning entrance – is envisioned as a new Town Center with shopping, dining and entertainment surrounded by 1,150 multi-family residential units.

Developed by The Newhall Land and Farming Co., Entrada North would sit on 479.3 acres southwest of the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 126.

Development would be concentrated in two main areas. “Site A” is the long-talked-about town center/entertainment area between Interstate 5 and the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. “Site B” is the freeway corridor between the highways and the Santa Clara River.

Entrada North is actuallly part of Newhall Land’s original Valencia Master Plan – not the separate 20,000-home Newhall Ranch project. But it will “feel” like part of the Newhall Ranch development, which will abut it.

Entrada North is in the early stages of the process. A “notice of preparation of a draft environmental impact report” has been published (the “NOP”). It identifies the issues that are to be addressed in the EIR when it is drafted. The public comment period on the NOP opened March 10 and closes April 8.

The meeting will be held March 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Rancho Pico Junior High, 26250 W. Valencia Blvd.The March 24 meeting is a part of that process. On that date the Regional Planning Department will hold a scoping meeting in the Santa Clarita Valley to give the public additional opportunities to identify issues that should be covered in the EIR.

Then the EIR will be drafted, and then additional hearings will be held.

Adjacent to Six Flags Magic Mountain, The Entrada North master plan brings together residential, commercial, and hospitality into a new district. The master plan is based on a “Town Center” concept, with pedestrian friendly streets that connect various districts with outdoor parks and plazas that provide areas for congregation. With over 1,200 residential units planned, the Entrada North is envisioned to be a vibrant community, where residents and visitors alike can enjoy the many services and amenities provided.

This new town center will provide 3 distinct Districts linked together by a loop road. The “Shopping District” provides a combination of retail and outdoor spaces, all connected via a Main Street, the character of which is defined by ground level retail with office/residential above, along with a linear park that incorporates outdoor seating and dining opportunities.

The Shopping District culminates at a central park fronting a new hotel. The “Entertainment/Dining District” consists of a movie theater, dining, retailers and residential, all centralized around an outdoor plaza. The plaza provides opportunities to gather, to dine at the various restaurants and nightclubs, and enjoy the night activities highlighted by the movie theater. The “Outdoor/Sports Fitness District” will provide a unique experience with major sports retailers, a fitness center, and a true outdoor experience, with water features, climbing walls, and skateboard parks.

Click HERE for the article.

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