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Construction begins on large downtown Windsor housing development

The largest single housing development to be built inside town limits since Windsor’s incorporation nearly 30 years ago is now under construction downtown.

The project of apartments and town homes, which is set to be built on about 18 acres of land, was first identified as an approved project in 2012, according to Windsor Community Development Director Patrick Streeter. It has had its share of delays as it’s gone through processing over the past 10 years, mostly as a result of failed financing, he said.

Called Vintage Oaks on the Town Green, the design of the development intentionally preserves as many oak trees as possible, some 150 or more years old, and features several open space areas and a community building.

“A lot of the negative comments in the past were about losing oaks,” Streeter said. “To incorporate as many oaks as possible is a good-faith step.”

The first phase of 120 rental units is expected to be done within 18 months, said developer Ryan Hauck of Pebble Creek Development based in Alpine, Utah. Demolition of old mobile home foundations and getting rid of garbage and vegetation on the property by Oakland-based general contractor Zcon began in early March, and workers are now grading the site, he said. An official groundbreaking was held last month.

“A major focus for us as a community is meeting our housing needs,” Streeter said. “Windsor has been assigned a little under 1,000 units (that must be planned for under the state Regional Housing Needs Allocation policy). To see a large development adding a lot of units in a central, walkable location is right in line with what we hope are policies will do. We want to accommodate all housing levels.”

None of the homes in the 387-unit, $150 million development are deemed affordable, although $2 million in in-lieu fees were paid at the time building permits were issued. They can be used to build affordable units elsewhere, Streeter and Hauck said.

Owner New York-based Mosaic Real Estate Investors picked up the land last year through default when former Hollywood-based developer Bob Bisno was unable to secure funding despite a two-year extension granted by the town. The company hired Hauck to develop it.

Although the project isn’t affordable, those who can afford to move into this development may leave behind more affordable units, Streeter said.

“A shift creates opportunities across all housing levels,” he said.

Windsor Council Member Deb Fudge said she “fought hard” during a vote on the first project, proposed by developer Bill Gallaher, to keep either low-income or moderate-income housing units in, but lost.

Still, she is glad to see the project moving forward.

“It’s close to services downtown and the SMART station,” Fudge said. “It’s much-needed housing, especially in downtown Windsor. There are some green aspects; there is solar on the community building and car charging, both private and public.”

The stacked apartments serviced by elevators are set to rent for $2,400 to $3,200 per month under current market rates. Town homes with two-car garages will rent for from $3,200 to $4,200 per month, although the price may go up by the time they are completed, Hauck said.

Plans call for a mix of one-, two- and three-bedrooom apartments in buildings of up to four stories. An interest list will be advertised at the beginning of 2023.

“Demand is outrageously high in Windsor,” he said. “The North Bay — Windsor, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, even down to Petaluma — don’t have a lot of rentals.”

The two future phases will start about a year apart, Hauck said.

Streeter said the site “has been an eyesore off the Town Green for a very long time. The town has invested a lot in our downtown, and to have a major project like this proceed is refreshing to a lot of people.”

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.comor 707-521-5209.

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