In its first California venture away from its home base in Orange County, the Mission Viejo Co. has announced plans to build single-family houses in the Village of Heritage, a planned community in Fontana.
The firm will join residential builders Akins Development, Bramalea California, John Laing Homes, Lewis Homes and Sanport Development in the 1,433-acre community by BD Fontana West End Venture. The general partner is BD Investors (Richard Barclay & Associates and Joseph N. DiIorio) and the limited partner is the Fontana Development Agency.
"In our first venture into San Bernardino County, we look forward to providing highly affordable detached homes for young families," said Harvey Stearn, senior vice president of marketing and residential/construction for Mission Viejo. "The Village of Heritage promises the same standards of excellence with which our company has been associated for the past 20 years."
Completion in Summer
Stearn added that his firm plans to construct about 300 houses in two programs in Fontana, with prices ranging from "just under $70,000 to the mid-$90,000 range." The houses will have about 900 to 1,600 square feet of living area and models are expected to be completed by late summer, he said.
In addition to the original Mission Viejo development, the firm is the developer of Aliso Viejo, across Interstate 5 to the west of Mission Viejo, and Highland Ranch, a 12,000-acre master-planned community 12 miles south of Denver.
When the Village of Heritage is built out in about 10 years, it will have 3,973 dwelling units on 698.3 acres, according to Neil Stone, director of the Fontana Development Agency.
Single-family houses will account for 2,458 units, senior housing and apartments will total 919 units, and Akins Development will construct 596 "manor/estate homes"--attached housing in four-unit clusters. Sales are expected to begin this summer, with for-sale housing priced from about $60,000 to more than $100,000, Stone added.
Agency to Profit
In addition to the residential builders, Cadillac-Fairview will construct industrial facilities in the planned community, roughly bounded by East Avenue, the Devore (15) Freeway, Baseline Road and Foothill Boulevard, Stone said.
"The Village of Heritage project is a rare example of a true public/private partnership in which the Fontana Development Agency is an actual equity partner with BD Investors," he added. "The agency's share of the profits will help pay for parks and infrastructure in (largely undeveloped) north Fontana without the need to increase taxes."
Stone said the 568 acres of commercial, office and business park uses in the Village of Heritage will enable many residents to work a short distance from where they live. Since the closing of the Kaiser Steel plant, Fontana has attempted to diversify its employment base, as well as develop land for housing, he said.
"Quite simply, the Village of Heritage master plan redefines the quality of living in the Inland Empire," said Joseph DiIorio of BD Investors. "This quality, combined with the area's proximity to metropolitan Los Angeles, Orange County, mountain resorts and Palm Springs, promises to meet the Southland's intense buyer demand for affordable housing."
Parks and Trails
Two land planners are involved in the Fontana project: The SWA Group, Laguna Beach, for the West End Specific Plan and Land/Plan/Design Group, Newport Beach, for the Village of Heritage master plan.
The Heritage plan calls for 80 acres of parks and trails, more than 85 acres of naturally landscaped usable open space, two day-care centers, two elementary schools, a junior high school, tennis courts, sports fields and provision for a library, police station, fire station and community centers.
Commercial space will total about 26 acres, while 100 acres will be devoted to office/institutional uses, possibly including a major medical facility.
Stone said that the 442 acres of industrial space is fully committed to developers or users.
"We estimate that the city of Fontana will net $615,000 every year from development in the West End Specific Plan," he added.