As if it were the mythical Phoenix rising in a pillar of fire from the ashes of the once thought dead Del Webb project near San Juan Oaks Golf Club, the development has proven to be impossible to kill, it would seem.
There are many in San Benito County, including the Board of Supervisors, who were more than a little disappointed when the Del Webb project was terminated July 2016. While many around Hollister were, and continue to be, frustrated and angry over their daily grind commuting to higher-paying jobs outside the county, the supervisors supported the project. This was because it was not a typical housing development adding to the misery of those trapped twice daily on Highways 25 and 156.
The theory was that because the typical Del Webb community is for senior citizens, even with over 1,100 new homes located close to Union Road, the new homeowners, being retired for the most part, would not be contributing to the twice-daily congestion. They would come and go at their own leisure while spending large sums of money in Hollister and San Juan Bautista and paying much needed property taxes for local schools.
The development, approved in 2015, included recreation facilities, parks and wildlife areas, in addition to more than 500 construction jobs and an untold number of service jobs later on. That dream came to an abrupt end and Supervisor Anthony Botelho famously blamed the California Fish and Wildlife Department of the demise of the project.
Meanwhile, Silicon Valley is roaring in a second tech boom and a person needs to earn six figures or more to afford a home there. So Hollister is now going through a building explosion and behind the scenes, the Del Webb project has been resurrected and rebranded under the Century Communities logo, according to Supervisor Mark Medina.
For the time being, Scott Fuller, general manager of San Juan Oaks Golf Club, remains tight lipped about the project because it is still going through the due diligence process. Most likely that means the developer is trodding down the very same environmental path that Del Webb once did.
Fuller did, however, confirm to BenitoLink on Nov. 14 that it is essentially the same project and will be primarily active adult, as well as other housing. He said the Del Well project attracted seniors from outside the area because of its following. He said interest for an adult living community has remained high locally, as well as throughout the region.
“The developers are very happy with how it is going,” Fuller said. “They are working on the due diligence and it should be complete by the end of January. They are very experienced developers in master plan projects. Where they don’t have experience, they are bringing in experts.”
Fuller also said the new developer is going to use the plan already approved by the board of supervisors. He would not say who the developer is, but Medina verified it is Century Communities. The Colorado-based company has built communities in Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, and throughout California, including the Cerrato and Village at Santa Ana developments in Hollister.
Medina said that because Century Communities is planning on essentially piggy-backing on Del Webb’s designs it will not need county approval to move ahead. He said if the board does have a say he will not vote for anything other than a senior-living development.
“Everything is exactly the same as it was originally approved for,” he said. “So, there can be no differences in (lot) sizes. By the beginning of next year, we should have a better idea what it will look like. I don’t see it growing because it was already approved at a certain size. I don’t think they’ll have to go to the Planning Commission. It’s just like PV2 (Panoche Valley Solar Project), you’re just changing the ownership and there aren’t any major modifications and you take ownership of the development agreement.”
Louie Valdez, county analyst, said, so far, no papers or correspondences from Century Communities have been filed. Calls to Century Communities were not returned before publication.
For more information about Century Communities, visit its website.