A mix of local and national homebuilders has been tapped to build the first new batch of homes seen in more than five years on land owned by Rancho Mission Viejo LLC.

The land development and real estate company, Orange County’s second-largest land owner, has been overseeing a heavy dose of early-stage ground and infrastructure work in recent months along Ortega Highway in South County, near the developer’s headquarters.

Land sales to the builders are expected to close later this year, with some home construction starting near the end of the year, according to officials with the developer. The builders’ land costs haven’t been disclosed.

The work is being done to handle a new 690-acre residential project, called Sendero, which is scheduled to open in summer 2013. Some 940 homes are slated to be built in the project, along with 200 apartments.

About 30% of the homes in Sendero will be part of gated community called Gavilan, which will cater towards residents 55 years of age and older.

The project represents the first new homes built by Rancho Mission Viejo LLC since it stopped building at its Ladera Ranch master-planned community in 2007, just prior to the housing downturn.

Anthony “Tony” Moiso, president and chief executive of Rancho Mission Viejo LLC, and other executives of the company met with a handful of media outlets on Wednesday to discuss plans for the company, which is OC's largest landowner besides Newport Beach-based Irvine Company.

The company also noted that more than 17,000 acres of open space on the ranch will remain as-is under the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo name.

See the Business Journal's edition of March 26 for more details.