S.B. 6th Ward Looks Forward to New Upscale Homes
By Dianne Anderson
At about a half million dollars each, the 95 homes coming to the Westside are expected to breathe new life into Medical Center Drive, representing the kind of upscale development not seen in the community for decades.
Councilwoman Kim Calvin said the new housing development will bring more revenues to help build up the area, as well as other exciting developments in the Sixth Ward.
Through the past 19 months, she has been participating in several economic development conferences about issues impacting her ward, and the city of San Bernardino as a whole.
From a developer’s point of view, she said the essential requirements in driving economic development is density, also known as “rooftops.”
“Ward 6 hasn’t had any new housing developments birthed within our ward in several decades. With bringing new housing communities (95 rooftops) to our Ward 6 Community, this will lure new developers and new developments [for example], restaurants, shopping, housing, etc,” she said.
Among her other several upcoming projects, she said that Pepper Avenue between Baseline Avenue and Mill Street will be paved as a joint project with the City of Rialto, and also represents major improvements for both communities.
“With this upcoming agenda, I will be bringing $13 Million in Capital Improvements to the Ward beginning with the State Street/ University Parkway Expansion. This project was placed on the Capital Improvement Plan book 18 years ago by Councilwoman Betty Dean Anderson,” she said. “I’m truly humbled to bring this project forward which will open Ward 6 to more Economic Development.”
Calvin said she is continuing to work with developers to bring about more badly needed housing to the community, such as senior housing, and housing for unsheltered veterans. Census data and a recent study show the serious need to help meet the growing need for permanently affordable housing.
Recently, she also escorted a cohort of community members and stakeholders to visit some very impressive housing developments in other cities that could be duplicated in San Bernardino.
“We have a lot of work to do in creating more housing for our city and our region, but I am confident if we continue focusing on the needs and partnering with great developers, the county, the state and the federal government, we can meet them,” she said.
Joe Oftelie said they are finishing up final approvals with the city, and getting through several months in the permitting process, but they expect to break ground at the end of this year or early 2023.
“We have such a low supply of housing of all types, bringing more housing into the Sixth Ward is going to go a long way long-term in improving the lives of all San Bernardino residents,” said Oftelie, vice-president of Warmington Residential, Southern California Division.
In all, the project comprises 228 single-family homes in the city as part of the Orange-County based Warmington Homes, which includes 133 single-family detached homes at Palm Street in Ward 4.
For Ward 6, Oftelie said that they listened to community concerns and accommodated some requests, such as working certain hours to lessen noise impact, especially on Sundays and holidays. They are enhancing wall materials and exterior aspects of homes that face the public right of way along West Highland Avenue.
They are also providing block walls between the homes instead of vinyl fencing, and have emergency vehicle access through the development to existing homes on Gardena Street and Madison Street.
Beyond the aesthetic benefit, whenever new homes development goes up, he said the ripple effect is that money is infused into the local economy from development impact fees to property taxes and sales taxes.
“We often see improvements occur to existing homes and businesses when new homes are built nearby. Oftentimes, struggling retail and commercial centers get facelifts to help attract the new homeowners to their businesses,” he said.
The space around the units measures from side-to-side for a minimum of eight feet, but are mostly ten feet, he said. Each home will have at least 18 feet in the front yard, including the two-car driveway. There is a minimum of 15 feet in the backyard, but some homes have more.
While new homes are always built for and sold to the high end of the marketplace, he said that is never a long-term deterrent to sales.
He said throughout real estate history, as homes age, the housing moves down market to become more affordable.
“I think this is somewhat relevant to the Sixth Ward in that it hasn’t seen new development in quite some time. So yes, these will be higher priced out of the gate, but we need to continue to find new housing opportunities to build affordable housing into the future,” he said.