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New Community to Rise on Ranch

December 13, 1987|EVELYN De WOLFE | Times Staff Writer

Moreno Valley, a young city that grew from three separate Riverside County communities (Moreno, Edgemont and Sunnymead), will soon have its largest master-planned community, the 4,000-acre Moreno Valley Ranch.

The ambitious project by the Warmington Co. of Costa Mesa is planned to include up to 5,200 homes, 2,900 apartments, 3,800 multifamily units, commercial villages, retail centers, a high school, six grammar and secondary schools, a campus of Riverside Community College, hospital and public championship golf course.

The $1.5-billion development, located two miles southeast of the intersection of California 60, and Interstate 215 (bounded by Kitching Street on the west and Davis Boulevard on the east), will have 1,664 acres set aside as open space.

Parks, equestrian facilities, recreational areas, lakes and pedestrian paths will occupy about 377 acres.

Sees Huge Benefits

"We are very excited about the Warmington project," said Helen Nakano, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, adding that the young city has been identified as one of the fastest growing communities in the Southland.

"Moreno Valley should benefit substantially from new housing and services. There has been a tremendous population influx since our city was incorporated three years ago."

Statistics bear out her enthusiasm and optimism for the city's future. A population of 47,000 in 1984 grew to 79,000 by January of 1987, and each month since, 1,000 new residents have been pouring into the community.

Moreno Valley is now the second largest city in Riverside County, and for the past 18 months has been working on a general plan.

'A Lot of Attention'

Warmington's director of marketing and sales, Mark D. Parsons, likened his firm's initiative in that community as that of the farmer who carefully plants his seeds and watches them grow.

"But, as with any delicate horticultural effort, Moreno Valley Ranch has required a lot of attention and care, and it helps to have a 'green thumb' in the development business when tackling a project of this magnitude," he said.

The long-established home-building firm does not plan to do much of the building on the ranch except for 2,500 apartments as the area develops, along with 69 acres of commercial development and a 28-acre industrial park, preferring to function primarily as the master developer and selling land to other builders.

Parsons reported that land sales are under way and 147 acres are already in escrow by major builders.

Land for Golf Course

Moreno Valley Ranch was envisioned by Robert P. Warmington, a third-generation home builder who is president and founder of The Warmington Co. Warmington in 1983 purchased the 4,000-acre ranch property, formerly known as the Wolfskill Ranch.

Last April the company sold the project's eastern 1,950 acres to Landmark Land Co. Inc. of Carmel, for development of a championship golf course and related land uses. A master plan was created for the remaining 1,700 acres with a variety of housing options available to accommodate about 20,000 residents.

"We have found that the two significant housing markets for Moreno Valley Ranch are newcomers attracted to the range of opportunities offered by a master-planned community and existing residents desirous of 'moving up' to the life style that will be available," Parsons said.

Warmington has designated 377 acres in Phase 1 for development of single-family homes by major builders, and the first houses are expected to be under construction in 1988, with move-ins taking place in late 1988 and 1989.

School Sites, Lake

About 58 acres have been set aside for development of schools. In addition, the developer will provide a man-made lake totaling 35 surface acres with three miles of shoreline.

The 83 acres planned for development as commercial villages will contain nearly 175,000 square feet of office space and 1 million square feet of retail and restaurant space.

"It is anticipated that this sector will employ 5,000 people upon completion," Parsons said. "In addition, Moreno Valley Ranch will have about 1.3 million square feet of light-industrial space. Construction of the first commercial area is targeted for 1990-1991." In 1986, The Warmington Co. donated 132 acres to Riverside Community College for development of a campus within Moreno Valley Ranch. The land donation represented the largest ever to a community college in the United States.

Donated land to round out a visually pleasing and functional community also includes a 20-acre site for a major medical facility, and Warmington has disclosed that it is working exclusively with Loma Linda Hospital to provide the complex.

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