As Fullerton was celebrating its 100th anniversary four years ago, Amerige Heights was emerging as a new development. In its relatively short existence it has gained a reputation for spacious homes and multiple parks. A sports complex anchors the community's eastern end.
Only a few years ago, this parcel of land on the western edge of Fullerton was a bustling hub of aerospace workers building aircraft and satellites.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, April 19, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Amerige Heights: An April 13 article in the Real Estate section about the Fullerton community said workers at the Hughes Aircraft plant had built aircraft and satellites. The plant was a research and development facility.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, April 20, 2008 Home Edition Real Estate Part K Page 3 Features Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Amerige Heights: An April 13 article about the Fullerton community stated that workers at the Hughes Aircraft plant had built aircraft and satellites. The plant was a research and development facility.
Today, the Hughes Aircraft plant, which sat on 293 acres of hillside land handpicked by the late, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, has been replaced by an equally bustling 'burb of 1,600 condos, town homes and single-family houses.
The community, named after Fullerton founders George and Edward Amerige, emerged between 2001 and 2004, developed by seven builders.
In addition to being close to major freeways, Amerige Heights features well-designed walkways, tree-lined and landscaped paths and streets, five community parks, a swimming pool and spa for town-home owners, and an elementary school.
Residents are within walking distance of shopping and dining establishments at nearby Amerige Pointe, a mixed-use development of apartments and retail along a street appropriately named Starbucks Lane. The Amerige Heights Town Center, which features major shopping, grocery and dining establishments, sits at the southern edge of the community on the corner of Malvern Avenue and Gilbert Street and also is popular with residents.
The creme de la creme of Fullerton city parks is the new Bastanchury Sports Complex, which offers baseball diamonds, soccer fields and basketball courts.
"It's a newer community, so it's very nice and very safe and convenient," said Todd Shiohama, who lives in Amerige Heights with his wife, Rowyna, and their 2-year-old daughter, Brooke. "We have a grocery store, McDonald's, Old Navy. It's nice because I can just walk across the street and take my daughter to the park."
Douglas Kim, an agent with Prudential California Realty and an area specialist, said that many Amerige Heights buyers are affluent.
"It's very quiet," he said. "The majority of people are young couples with kids."
The biggest drawing card: the schools.
"Most of the people who move in here do so for the education of their kids," Kim said.
The Robert C. Fisler School, kindergarten through eighth grade, was built specifically for the community. For 2007, it had an Academic Performance Index growth report score of 921 out of a possible 1,000. Students matriculate to Sunny Hills High, which scored 843.
Even with the housing downturn and the increase in inventory nationwide, there are only about 30 homes for sale in Amerige Heights, Kim said -- 10 town homes and 20 single-family residences.
Home prices run about $400,000 to $600,000 for condos and town homes. Single-family units begin around $600,000 and top out at about $1.5 million, he said.
The homes are a mix of Craftsman, Spanish and French Country styles with modern touches. They are mostly two story, with some three-level town homes.
Square footage ranges from 1,100 to 1,700 for condos and town homes, while the single-family residences run from 1,700 to 4,200 square feet in the bigger houses. Some of these big homes sit on 10,000-square-foot lots, he said.
The bigger houses are in an area known as Benchley Hill.
"That's the prime location for people in this community," Kim said.
Good news, bad news
Kim and Shiohama agreed that one of the main drawbacks is the steep Mello-Roos fees. Many older residents don't see the benefits of the fees, which go to schools and community improvements, Kim said.
The fees range from $1,900 for the smaller condos and town homes to $4,000 annually for the larger single-family residences.
In addition, residents pay $140 to $160 a month in homeowner association fees.
Sources: www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/about/about/history_of_fullerton.asp; California Department of Education, cde.ca.gov; Amerige Heights Community Assn.,