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Commercial project to break ground soon at Ridgemark

Commercial developer John Wynn continues to invest in county and plans to begin construction soon on 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at Ridgemark.
The commercial project is slated to include themed restaurants. There may be a hotel in the future.
The 190 homes are expected to be built on the abandoned 18-hole golf course.
John Wynn hopes to retire to Ridgemark, according to Kristina Chavez Wyatt. Photo courtesy of John Wynn.
The commercial project will be built outside the main gate of Ridgemark. Photo by John Chadwell.

Correction: The original wording of the lede of the story incorrectly implied that the Ridgemark Homeowners Association (RHA) had approved both the residential and commercial parts of John Wynn's project. The RHA has only approved the four-lane road for the commercial development, not the 190 homes.

A retail center has been approved for development by the Ridgemark Homeowners Association (RHA).

Jack Murphy, vice president of the RHA, recently confirmed the commercial component of John Wynn development is moving forward. He said the primary obstacle to breaking ground soon is relocating one or more PG&E transmission units at the intersection of Highway 25 and Ridgemark Drive.

“Our settlement agreement [with Wynn] requires a four-lane road, if feasible, from Airline Highway all the way through the guard shack to Donald Drive before the commercial development will be allowed to be occupied,” Murphy said. “Construction can start, but it can’t be operational until there’s a four-lane access.”

Murphy said the RHA vote allows Wynn to take his plans for the residential portion of the project to the Planning Commission, San Benito County Board of Supervisors and commence environmental studies. He said the 190 new homes will need to comply with the RHA grant easement and conditions restrictions, which requires the lots to be 10,000 square feet. The county will also mandate affordable housing units be included in the total number.

“These would be built on parts of the fallow golf course that was shut down,” Murphy said, referring to one of the two 18-hole courses. “It would extend all the way to the other side of Ridgemark at the south gate. In all probability, there would be some reconfiguration to the existing golf course.”

While the RHA has no say about the commercial part of the development because it is outside the residential gates, a sampling of opinions appears to approve it, according to Murphy.

“It will provide services here like a delicatessen, a convenience store, themed restaurants, perhaps a beauty shop,” he said, adding the development will occupy approximately 20,000 square feet across the street from the clubhouse.

Kristina Chavez Wyatt, president of Farmhouse Communications, is the spokeswoman for Wynn on this project. Wynn, who emigrated from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975, heads Imperial Investment & Development Inc. in Milpitas. He is associated with a number of commercial projects worldwide, including a golf course in Hawaii and a shopping center in San Jose.

“The first phase of the commercial center, which will be called Ridgemark Row, was approved by the county a couple months ago,” Chavez Wyatt said. “John is filling leases for tenants and from what I understand, he has a couple of Asian restaurants so far. They’re looking to do restaurants, retail, and service.”

Chavez Wyatt described Ridgemark as the “symbol of Hollister” from the business investment, homeowner, and economic development perspectives.

“The future of Ridgemark is hugely important to our county and Hollister,” she said, adding that Wynn has recently shifted his interest in commercial developments to residential as well. “He wants to improve the lives of people in communities,” Wyatt said of her employer.

Wynn’s interest in San Benito County grew from a chance stop in San Juan Bautista when his car broke down, and his interest continues to grow, Chavez Wyatt said. The developer has invested heavily in the county by purchasing Ridgemark in 2015; last year he bought land north of the Hollister Airport, where he hopes to build a hotel and a smart-glass factory.

She said the design of the homes still has to go through the county’s vetting process, but will ultimately be compatible with existing homes. She also said Wynn intends to sell some of the lots to local builders to promote local jobs.

Chavez Wyatt further said that along with the 190 homes and commercial development, Wynn will add a four-acre park and a hotel.

“He’s probably spent about $1 million (including $100,000 on the golf course) since acquiring Ridgemark to put together the planning and engineering,” she said. “He wants to retire and live here. He’s brought in people from the Bay Area, taken them on wine tours to get them interested in our community, to invest in projects at Ridgemark and the industrial park.”

Wynn is thinking beyond just retiring in the county and living at Ridgemark, Chavez Wyatt said. His long-range planning also includes elderly care.

“Another project near Ridgemark would have an active adult apartment complex that would offer support services,” Chavez Wyatt said. “That’s what he’s thinking will be the next phase of his life, which would also be a great benefit to many who live at Ridgemark who are getting older. They would be able to stay near their families with the support for the next phase of their lives.”

Previous BenitoLink stories about Ridgemark:



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John Chadwell's picture
John Chadwell (John Chadwell)

John Chadwell is an investigative reporter for BenitoLink. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to:


Submitted by (Stephen Mills) on

So how exactly does converting dedicated open space to more houses, more congestion, more people, and more traffic "improve my life"? One developer comes in, sucks as much as he can out of the place, trashes it, and then sells it to another developer who is also going to make a huge profit at the expense of the existing residents. Then he will sell it to the next developer who will build homes on the existing golf course. By the time they are through making their money, there will be no "there" there.

Submitted by (david ) on

All fine and dandy, just make it affordable to all county residents. Ya, right.

Submitted by (Patrick H Fancher) on

Big error in this article.  The HOA HAS NOT approved the residential development project.  As of today it has not been put before the homeowners to vote on.  It must pass with 50%+1.  Another error is that the new four lane entrance must go to, I believe, Donald Drive.  I do not know where Tahoe Drive is located.  I am in favor of the development, and misinformation, such as in this article, has run rampant and hurts the chances of approval by the HOA.

A commercial development as described seems reasonable to me and it cuts down on traffic.  I have seen similar targeted commercial developments in many places, they let you pick up a coffee or sandwich or quart of milk or visit an insurance agent or get a haircut without having to drive.  Rarely do they attract a lot of business from outside the local community, they are there, primarily, to serve the residents and others close by.

If they put in a reasonably sized deli and/or themed restaurant that offers more choices for consumers so much the better IMHO.  It's a niche that needs to be filled.

Marty Richman

Submitted by (Mari McComb) on

I thought that this was supposed to be a news article, not a feature article about Wynn.  It is heavily slanted toward Wynn and his mini-mall and proposed residential development.  Many Ridgemark residents are opposed to this development and are appalled by the idea of a convenience store, which would bring many problems, not improvements, to the neighborhood.  And how about all of the new homes that he wants to have built?  This would not improve the quality of life here at all, just make it worse!  If this was a real news article, and not a promotion for Wynn, it would show both sides of the story.  How about those people who moved away from the South Bay searching for peace, serenity, beauty, and a sense of community? 

Submitted by (Frank Ramsey) on

They should tear out the driving range and move it to the old courses 18 hole. Then develop the driving range. It would make much more sense then developing that old parking lot behind the condos...

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