Woodland’s Project Doing Well Despite Slow Housing Market

The Santa Maria Times reports that Nipomo’s Woodland’s project is doing well despite a downturn in California’s housing market.

Despite the recent slump in the Central Coast housing market, developers of The Woodlands, a huge housing development on the Nipomo Mesa, say they are making substantial progress on the project, with many amenities planned for construction in coming months.

“There’s no question that the market is quite different than last year, but we’re basically on schedule as to the number of homes we originally projected to sell in this project,” said Jim LaLoggia of Woodlands Ventures.

LaLoggia dismissed rumors of financial trouble and faltering home sales, which have been circulating in Nipomo. He said houses are selling at a steady rate – about 10 per month – and land improvements are moving forward for the second stage of lots.

While The Woodlands seems to be keeping its head above water, building permits are being issued at a much lower rate by the county Planning and Building Department than in past years.

In 2005, 105 permits were issued in Nipomo for single-family homes, while only 57 had been issued for 2006 through the first half of November, according to the department’s records.

While the 1,320-home Woodlands development – the biggest in San Luis Obispo County history – already has been approved for construction, the developers are returning to the county Planning Commission this month for approval of plans for a community center that is to be built within the project.

LaLoggia and two architects described their plans for the village center to the South County Advisory Council last week. The proposal includes 140,000 square feet of commercial space to potentially support a grocery store, professional offices, retail spaces and a sheriff’s substation. Also, there will be 20 affordable living units in the downtown area, LaLoggia said.

If Mr. LaLoggia’s assesment is accurate and his future projections pencil out, this is indeed very good news for Nipomo. The village center described here would be an incredibly important future component and factor in Nipomo’s future incorporation movement. The addition of an additional grocery store, retail establishments would bring in further needed tax revenues to either support future incorporation or help sustain an already incorporated Nipomo as a city.

In addition to the village center, The Woodlands’ master plan calls for 1,320 homes, four golf courses, a business park, a 500-room hotel, riding and walking trails and a 12-acre park. The project is being built south of Willow Road, and stretches east from Highway 1 about 1.5 miles.

To date, 150 homes are under construction or complete, with about 85 of them already sold, LaLoggia said. Most of those families have been living in The Woodlands since January, he added. There will be 447 single-family homes in the first phase.

The first 18-hole golf course, the Monarch Dunes, was also opened in January.

The second phase of the project will include 368 homes and a 12-hole, executive-style golf course, and developers are now grading the site for that construction.

“The project is moving forward as scheduled,” LaLoggia said, adding that the entire project should be finished by 2015.

“Everybody reacts from such a high spike (in the housing market),” he said, “but this is no different from what we expected.”

Mike Winn, a director of the Nipomo Community Services District, said he hopes the houses do sell quickly, because the project’s developers agreed to pay a percentage of the costs associated with bringing supplemental water to the larger Nipomo community, based on how many homes are sold.

For more information about The Woodlands, visit www.woodlandscentralcoast.com.

Even more critical to further revenues from retail establishments would be the bed taxes generated from a 500 room major hotel in the community. This would be a superb addition not only to the community; but, also a much needed revenue resource to help support that community. I will continue to update Nipomo News with information about the Woodlands as it becomes available.

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