Orange County Business Journal

OC 50: Real Estate

Saturday, May 11, 2013

RECENT: Largest backer of Villa Real Estate, a residential brokerage launched this year that’s targeting high-end coastal properties. Has bought more than $200 million in local commercial, residential properties in separate deals, using some buildings as satellite offices for Villa. Failed in bid last year to buy San Diego Padres baseball team. Remains close to sports scene; new Mobilitie business line provides upgraded wireless service to sports arenas, concert venues. Recent deals with Honda Center in Anaheim, Churchill Downs.

PERSONAL: Last year named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year for real estate. Calls Mobilitie as much a real estate venture as a technology company. Wife, Lisa, two children. Family last year gave $1 million to Sage Hill School for upgrades to its sports fields, has also given to Irvine, Newport-Mesa’s school districts.

—Mark Mueller

WILLIAM LYON

Executive chairman

William Lyon Homes, Newport Beach

Born in Los Angeles

Age: 90

Lives in Coto de Caza

BILL H. LYON

Chief executive

William Lyon Homes, Newport Beach

Age: 39

Lives in Newport Beach

WHY: Father-son team that runs namesake housing company, long one of region’s most active homebuilders.

HOW: William Lyon Homes, predecessor companies have built estimated 100,000 homes over the past 50 years. Gen. Lyon started Luxury Homes with brother Leon in Fullerton in 1954. Started William Lyon Co. in New-port in 1972, William Lyon Homes in 1993. In 1999 combined with The Presley Cos. under William Lyon Homes name, just in time for housing boom. Took company private in 2006.

RECENT: 2013 marks a return as a publicly traded company for William Lyon Homes, which underwent restructuring, short stint in bankruptcy last year. Plans for $200 million IPO filed in April as way for private equity investors to cash out portion of their investment, while raising money for land buys. IPO would give Lyon family majority voting power, about 18% ownership stake in company. Move to public markets comes with changing of guard in executive ranks. Younger Lyon named chief executive this year, with father taking on executive chairman role. Company now building in Irvine and Ranch Mission Viejo, among local projects. Tapped for first batch of Great Park Neighborhood homes.

PERSONAL: Senior Lyon is a retired Air Force major general and has long history in aviation. Served as chief of Air Force Reserve, 1975 to 1979. Pilot during World War II, Korea; 17 combat decorations. Opened Lyon Air Museum in 2010 next to John Wayne Airport. Joined fellow OC 50 member George Argyros to pay $62 million for AirCal in 1981. Sold five years later to American Airlines for $225 million. Wife, Willa Dean, five children. Younger Lyon is Stanford grad, dual bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and product design. Worked for homebuilder and its predecessors since 1997, worked way up company ladder, last served as president. Has served on board of Pretend City Children’s Museum since 2005, chair since 2008. Serves on board of governors of Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Wife, Christina, two children.

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