Public officials, business people and Limoneira executives celebrated the groundbreaking of the Harvest at Limoneira development during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Santa Paula on Wednesday morning.
The Harvest at Limoneira project in Santa Paula will include the construction of 1,500 housing units, several educational facilities that will include a K-5 elementary school, parks and retail and commercial spaces. Wednesday’s celebration was the culmination of approximately 14 years of planning and a $60 million investment by the Limoneira Co. The event was held on Hallock Drive where Harvest at Limoneira will be constructed.
The project is being developed in partnership with the Lewis Group of Companies, a San Bernardino-based real estate developer. An additional $200 to $225 million investment for water, sewer, utilities, roads and other developments will be financed by Limoneira’s partnership with the Lewis Group of Companies.
Once completed, Harvest at Limoneira will provide a significant economic boost for Santa Paula, Limoneira CEO Harold Edwards said.
“All the new houses and a fairly sizable retail component will be very important to support the prior and new infrastructure of our water, roads, sewer and public safety systems,” Edwards said. “The project also allows us to have more parks and recreation for a higher quality of life, and it’s also allowing us to build the first new school in Santa Paula since 1961.”
Beyond improving Santa Paula’s economy, Harvest at Limoneira will benefit Limoneira as a business, Edwards added. The project will have a significant return on investment for the company’s shareholders and funds will help Limoneira expand its global agricultural business, Edwards said.
While construction is finally underway, potential business tenants and homeowners will need to wait a bit longer to move into the area. Edwards estimated Harvest at Limoneira will not be fully completed until approximately 2027.
Edwards noted that such large-scale construction can be a difficult and lengthy process in California, which requires developers to adhere to a wide range of occasionally conflicting regulations.
Despite all the construction, Harvest at Limoneira will preserve portions of the land as open space. Open space preserves include hiking trails on 79 acres of the property, while on-site agricultural preserves will take up 55 acres. Off-site agricultural preserves are also listed in the plan and will cover 34 acres.
The project strikes a fine balance between necessary construction and open space preservation, according to Jack Pitluk, CEO of the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, which helped market and advocate for the project.
“The development is going to bring a whole new housing stock and whole new community to Santa Paula to augment what’s already a beautiful setting and town,” Pitluk said in an interview. “This is doubling what we already have, which is some of God’s greatest gifts of natural landscapes.”
Once completed, the project could play a considerable role in expanding Ventura County’s housing stock.
The 1,500 units will include entry-level condominiums, single-family homes and “executive” or otherwise high-end homes. One hundred “public benefit housing units” for firefighters, police, hospital staff, teachers, faculty and city and county employees are included in that number, while another 100 units will be dedicated to assisted-living units for seniors.
Apartments and additional senior housing could be constructed if there is sufficient market demand.
Although Harvest at Limoneira will not offer any low-income housing, a portion of funds from each of the lots sold in the project will be given to the city of Santa Paula to be used for low-income housing elsewhere in the region.
Edwards added that Harvest at Limoneira’s housing construction will represent a significant number of the new homes built in Ventura County during the next decade.
“We think there’s approximately 5,000 new housing starts coming throughout all of Ventura County in the next 10 years,” Edwards said. “If that’s correct, Harvest at Limoneira represents somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of all the new housing starts for the next 10 years in the county. This is a big part of where the home-building action will be.”
In addition to new housing units, Harvest at Limoneira will also boast several retail and commercial spaces that could create new job opportunities for residents. Although hard numbers on jobs aren’t available due to the project’s infancy, Edwards expressed optimism about its potential to bring high-paying jobs to the city.
source: VC Star
For photos from this event, visit our Harvest at Limoneira site here.