Lennar Corporation | November 11, 2022
Lennar, one of the nation's leading homebuilders, and ICON, a construction technologies company pioneering large-scale 3D printing, announced today that construction on the largest community of 3D-printed homes is underway and reservations will begin in 2023.
Situated north of Austin in the city of Georgetown's master-planned community of Wolf Ranch by Hillwood Communities, a Perot company, the 100-home community combines innovative robotics, software and advanced materials to create homes that are technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable and architecturally striking. Each Lennar home in Wolf Ranch is co-designed by the renowned architectural firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. Prices are anticipated to start from the mid-$400,000s.
"We are very pleased to partner with ICON and BIG in building a first-of-its-kind, printed home community that combines innovative designs with sustainable features at an affordable price, Given the housing shortage that persists across the country, it has never been more important to innovate in order to find new methods of construction that will enable greater design flexibility and greater production at affordable prices."
-Stuart Miller, Executive Chairman of Lennar.
Blending contemporary Texas ranch style aesthetics, the community of 3D-printed homes features elevated architectural and energy-efficient designs that highlight the benefits of resiliency and sustainability with the digital possibilities of additive construction. Delivered at speed and at scale using a fleet of ICON's Vulcan robotic construction systems, software and advanced materials, each home's full wall system - including interior and exterior walls - are produced with less waste and with more design freedom.
"For the first time in the history of the world, what we're witnessing here is a fleet of robots building an entire community of homes. And not just any homes, homes that are better in every way… better design, higher strength, higher energy performance and comfort, and increased resiliency, In the future, I believe robots and drones will build entire neighborhoods, towns, and cities, and we'll look back at Lennar's Wolf Ranch community as the place where robotic construction at scale began. We still have a long way to go, but I believe this marks a very exciting and hopeful turn in the way we address housing issues in the world."
-Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO, ICON.
Construction at Wolf Ranch deepens a relationship that began with Lennar's investment in Austin-based ICON's series B financing round and offers a promising path toward an alternate method of delivering technology-driven homes that meet rising demand in desirable communities. In addition to state-of-the-art homes, Lennar homeowners in Wolf Ranch can enjoy all of the amenities offered in tree-covered hill country – including pools, recreational trails and parks within easy access of downtown Georgetown and a short drive to Austin.
Lennar's investments are facilitated by LENX, which drives a focused strategy within Lennar to integrate technology solutions across the homebuilding industry. With a clearly defined strategy of investing in technology companies directly adjacent to Lennar's core homebuilding operations and a disciplined investment process, LENX provides hands-on mentorship and guidance from senior leaders of Lennar's management team and a marquee opportunity to provide products and technology to Lennar customers, allowing portfolio companies to scale at an unprecedented pace.
The community will offer eight stunning floorplans with 24 unique elevations ranging from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet of thoughtful living space. The homes will offer three to four bedrooms and two to three baths. All homes will be powered by the sun with rooftop solar panels and will feature components from Lennar's Connected Home package including a Ring Video Doorbell Pro, a Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi deadbolt and a Honeywell Home T6 Pro WiFi smart thermostat. Plus, each home will come equipped with the Wolf Ranch security package.
We are excited to welcome Lennar and ICON's cutting-edge home construction technology to Georgetown, Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. The Georgetown community prides itself on honoring our past and innovating for our future, and we are eager to see the future being built right here.
Hillwood Communities is honored that ICON and Lennar chose Wolf Ranch to launch this exciting initiative and we look forward to the positive impact it will bring to the homebuilding industry," said Fred Balda, president of Hillwood Communities. "This innovative approach aligns with Hillwood's long history of elevated design and the thoughtful development approach we take to ensure a higher standard of living for the residents of our communities."
About Lennar Corporation:
Lennar Corporation, founded in 1954, is one of the nation's leading builders of quality homes for all generations. Lennar builds affordable, move-up and active adult homes primarily under the Lennar brand name. Lennar's Financial Services segment provides mortgage financing, title and closing services primarily for buyers of Lennar's homes and, through LMF Commercial, originates mortgage loans secured primarily by commercial real estate properties throughout the United States. Lennar's Multifamily segment is a nationwide developer of high-quality multifamily rental properties. LENX drives Lennar's technology, innovation and strategic investments.
ICON develops advanced construction technologies that advance humanity. Using proprietary 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials, ICON is shifting the paradigm of homebuilding on Earth and beyond.
About BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is a Copenhagen, New York, London, Barcelona, and Shenzhen-based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers, and inventors. Led by Bjarke Ingels, the studio is currently involved in projects throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. BIG's architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. BIG believes that by hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, architects can find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms.
Hillwood, a Perot company, is a premier commercial and residential real estate developer, investor and advisor of properties throughout North America and Europe. Through its Communities division, Hillwood has delivered more than 40,000 single-family lots in more than 100 master-planned communities across 13 states and Costa Rica. These communities continue to raise the bar in terms of quality, innovation and the unmistakable sense of community that sets each property apart. Before laying the physical groundwork for any new residential development, Hillwood Communities takes the time to focus on the ideals that draw people together — and the everyday interactions that strengthen those bonds. By purposefully designing its walkways, gathering spaces, and structural amenities to spark spontaneous encounters and foster shared interests, Hillwood Communities believes in the power of community.
About the City of Georgetown:
Georgetown is a welcoming, vibrant city that has been ranked No. 1 in Southern Living Magazine's "South's Best Cities to Live in" and is home to the "Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas." Georgetown has a rich history, with Victorian storefronts and a cultural district with a wide selection of restaurants, wineries, shops, art galleries, theaters, and museums, as well as Southwestern University, tied for the No. 1 National Liberal Arts College in Texas in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking. Outdoor recreation includes 40 parks, 16 miles of hiking and cycling trails, and Lake Georgetown. Georgetown is the fastest growing city in the U.S. with a population of more than 50,000.
Exyte | November 17, 2022
Exyte, a global leader in the design, engineering, and delivery of high-tech facilities, has announced that funds affiliated with BDT Capital Partners, LLC ("BDT") have entered into an agreement to acquire a significant minority interest in Exyte. BDT, a merchant bank that provides advice and long-term capital through its affiliated funds to help family- and founder-led businesses pursue their strategic and financial objectives, will become a minority shareholder of Exyte alongside Georg Stumpf, Exyte's current sole owner who will retain a majority stake.
"Exyte is a leader in the design, development, and delivery of the world's most sophisticated manufacturing environments. The company plays an indispensable role enabling clients across semiconductor, biopharma, life sciences, and cloud computing industries to create best-in-class facilities where technological breakthroughs happen. Due to the strong leadership of Exyte's management team and the dedication of its talented employees in serving the needs of its clients, the company has an impressive track record of profitable growth. We look forward to partnering with Georg Stumpf and the Exyte management team to help continue and enhance the company's growth and impact."
-Don McLellan, Partner at BDT.
Georg Stumpf, Exyte's continuing majority shareholder, says: Exyte serves the most technically demanding customers in thriving markets. The company is a driving force behind important megatrends of today and tomorrow, as well as developments that will profoundly change individual and societal life and promote progress across digitization and connectivity, e-mobility, sustainable energy, digital health, and personalized care. Since I invested in the company in 2008, Exyte has exceeded all expectations and the company will again achieve record sales and results in 2022. I look forward to continuing to support Exyte's successful strategy and its future growth together with BDT.
"Our clear focus on high-tech industries is paying off. Due to the favorable market outlook and Exyte's focus on semiconductors and batteries, biopharma and life sciences, and data centers, we are well positioned in our markets and successfully on our "Pathway to Ten". This year, too, we will exceed our forecasts with targeted sales of around 7 billion euros, putting us closer to our goal of reaching 10 billion euros in sales in 2027. With our successful ongoing projects and significant project pipeline, we are well positioned for future profitable growth. I am pleased that BDT is convinced of Exyte's potential and prospects and will accompany us on our journey."
-Dr. Wolfgang Büchele, CEO of Exyte.
The closing of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Financial terms were not disclosed. Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor to Exyte in connection with the transaction.
Exyte is a global leader in the design, engineering, and delivery of ultra-clean and sustainable facilities for high-tech industries. With cutting-edge expertise developed over more than a century, we serve clients in the sophisticated markets of semiconductors, battery cells, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and data centers. Exyte offers a full range of services from consulting to managing the implementation of turnkey solutions with the highest standards in safety and quality to our customers worldwide. We create a better future by enabling key industries to enhance the quality of modern life. In 2021, Exyte generated sales of EUR 4.9 billion with around 7,400 employees worldwide.
About BDT & Company:
Established in 2009, BDT & Company is a merchant bank that provides advice and long-term capital through its affiliated funds to help family- and founder-led businesses pursue their strategic and financial objectives. The ﬁrm works with the owners and leaders of these closely held businesses to ﬁnd creative solutions to their most complex issues, while also providing access to its world-class network. The ﬁrm's affiliate, BDT Capital Partners, has deployed more than $30 billion in capital through its investment funds and co-investments by its global investor base.
Placer Solutions | November 22, 2022
Placer Solutions, a consulting firm focused on driving change and accelerating technology adoption in construction, today announced a new partnership with AXA XL Insurance, a leading provider of global commercial insurance. Under the terms of the agreement, Placer Solutions will join the AXA XL Construction Ecosystem as a preferred partner in a network of products and services focused on advancing technology adoption, leveraging data to solve customers’ problems, enhancing risk management and supporting business goals.
The construction industry is at a crossroads when it comes to emerging technology and new ways of doing work. Historically, the industry has been slow to adopt new tools and technologies and has experienced stagnant productivity as a result. With more agile ways of addressing operational demands using emerging technologies, modern construction firms could achieve productivity gains up to 40 percent, similar to peer industries. Placer Solutions is addressing this challenge by taking a field-first approach that shines a light on field and project organizational networks in construction companies, which improves strategic planning and the tactical implementation of technology solutions.
“Placer Solutions has a deep understanding of the construction ecosystem, specifically how the industry’s field-based and project-based nature can make enterprise-wide programs difficult in practice, The greatest technologies in the world are most effective if embraced by the culture of the industry they serve. By partnering with a company like Placer Solutions, we enable our customers to focus on the human element that drives technology adoption, which will result in them having a more robust technology adoption roadmap.”
-Rose Hall, Senior Vice President, Head of Innovation, Americas at AXA XL.
Placer Solutions has been selected to help support the Construction Ecosystem as an AXA XL-endorsed consulting firm who will work with their construction customers on technology change management. As part of the Construction Ecosystem, Placer Solutions will offer a customized Field Assessment to AXA XL customers, which leverages a proprietary network analysis approach to highlight and profile key groups of individuals in a construction firm’s operations. Previous clients of Placer Solutions have included Top Engineering News-Record (ENR) contractors who have used results from the assessment to improve strategic technology planning and inform product selection.
“AXA XL’s leadership in bringing together construction’s fragmented value chain to solve big problems is exactly what the moment demands, We look forward to working with AXA XL’s customers. brokers and other business partners in our shared journey to modernize the industry and deploy new solutions that can address the needs of our industry’s workforce in meaningful ways.”
-Nate Fuller, Founder of Placer Solutions.
About AXA XL:
AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. We partner with those who move the world forward.
About Placer Solutions:
Placer Solutions is a management consulting firm focused on building high performance teams and improving technology adoption across the construction industry. Experience shows that successful change initiatives require up to 10 percent of an organization’s involvement – in construction, that’s mostly field users and project stakeholders. Placer Solutions’ unique Field Assessment goes beyond usual suspects to surface the embedded leaders and networks of employees who make change initiatives successful in construction. They have one of the largest databases of construction field personas and a network of contractors, suppliers, owners, and technology start-ups to help in their client’s needs.
Akela Engineering and Consulting | December 06, 2022
DC Capital Partners Management, LP ("DC Capital" or "DCCP"), a sector focused private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies in the Government and Engineering sectors, today announced the launch of Akela Engineering and Consulting ("Akela"). Akela is a full-service Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) firm providing engineering and consulting services to the construction industry in California. Industry veteran Dennis Berlien, P.E., has joined Akela as Chief Executive Officer.
Akela partners with public and private entities to provide a diverse range of services, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, commissioning, sustainable solutions, architectural lighting and technology. The firm serves clients in the military, life science, government, education, corporate, multi-family, sustainability, hospitality and healthcare spaces.
DC Capital serves as the parent company to Akela. Michael Wall Engineering, Inc. and DEC Engineers, Inc., two leading Southern California MEP engineering firms, united to form Akela, which is a sister company of Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services.
"Akela is the fusion of two successful engineering firms combining 47 years of shared experience, We are extremely pleased to share the official launch of Akela and welcome these industry experts to our portfolio of companies providing differentiated and innovative services and solutions in the Government and Engineering markets."
-Thomas J. Campbell, Founder and Managing Partner of DC Capital.
Mr. Berlien brings more the 25 years of experience to his role as CEO at Akela. He most recently served as President for Glumac, a Tetra Tech Company, and prior to assuming that role, he held a variety of executive roles since joining in 2011. Throughout his career, Mr. Berlien also held leadership positions at Vanderweil Engineers, Wright Engineers, AMEC, Adobe Consulting Engineers and Bechtel.
Mr. Berlien holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Orangewood Foundation, one of the leading providers of services to foster and community youth in Orange County. He was a Director for the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), an organization committed to a sustainable, prosperous future through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria as well as a DBIA certified professional. Mr. Berlien is also co-author of the book, "Connections: Everyone Happens for a Reason."
"Akela is dedicated to delivering innovative design and sophisticated solutions to complex challenges and our culture emphasizes a collaborative wolf pack approach, We believe we are Stronger Together, and I look forward to partnering with our colleagues and clients to deliver results for the communities we serve."
-Dennis Berlien, P.E., Chief Executive Officer at Akela.
About Akela Engineering and Consulting:
Akela Engineering and Consulting (Akela) is a full-service Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) firm providing engineering and consulting services to the construction industry in California. In 2022, Michael Wall Engineering (electrical engineering since 1996) and DEC Engineers (mechanical engineering since 2000) amalgamated to create Akela.