Eagle Ridge Build-Out Under Way

Vidal Madrano waits for another section of 18-inch concrete

Community in last phase of construction, with expected first
move-in in fall 2006
Gilroy – The last phase of home construction is now under way at the Eagle Ridge golf course and residential community, where construction crews for Shapell Homes are grading soil for 118 luxury homes.

The northwest adjunct to the gated Eagle Ridge community lies south of Hecker Pass, the city’s scenic western gateway.

Chris Truebridge, president of Shapell Homes, said the development company expects to have four model homes on display by spring, with the first owners expected to move in by fall 2006.

The new homes will continue the Mediterranean style common to the surrounding houses, Truebridge added. He predicted the homes would start in the $750,000 range, but the final price “would depend on market conditions.”

City leaders cleared the way for the 33-acre project as a bail-out for the financially beleaguered Bonfante Gardens, just west of Eagle Ridge. Councilmen in August 2004 granted the horticultural park 99 building permits for the land – an exception to the city’s growth-control law – as part of a sale to Shapell. The final plan included 19 building permits Shapell transferred from other areas in the Eagle Ridge community.

The California homebuilder and the nonprofit park finalized the sale of the 33 acres this summer, enabling the park to pay down tens of millions of dollars in debt and freeing the developer to move forward with the project.

Representatives from Bonfante and Shapell also met with the Eagle Ridge Homeowner’s Association to iron out concerns about the project.

The development already contains 831 houses, according to Truebridge, and some neighbors worry the additional 118 houses will increase traffic and lower property values.

Eagle Ridge homeowners have expressed mixed feelings about the final plan.

David Light, former HOA president who negotiated the agreement, believes the company has addressed traffic concerns by arranging for residents to have part-time use of a road through Bonfante Gardens. The entrance will operate weekdays and other non-peak times during the park’s operating season, from November to April. During the off-season, residents will have access around the clock, except during special events. Light said the additional route should relieve pressure from the gated entrances off of Santa Teresa Boulevard.

In addition, he said Shapell will spend $1.5 million to add 3.5 acres of park space and a community complex with basketball and tennis courts, a pool and a banquet room.

But not all residents are pleased with the plan Light negotiated on behalf of homeowners.

“I really feel like the proposed park and swimming pool thing was just the bone that was thrown to the residents to encourage enough of them to approve the plan,” said J.D. Fay, an Eagle Ridge resident who lives just 50 yards from where the new homes will go up.

The Bonfante entrance plan does not ease his concerns about increased traffic or serve as a practical alternative to a dedicated, full-time road.

“I don’t know what all these rules are,” he said of the changing schedule. “I wouldn’t even bother with trying to figure out all the different days. Don’t we all have enough to do without trying to figure out when it’s open? I think a reasonable result would have been a road we can just drive on.”

The Eagle Ridge community is one of six large-scale housing and golf communities Shapell has constructed in Northern California. Truebridge said projects generally include about 1,600 homes.

As the Eagle Ridge development nears build-out, Truebridge emphasized the benefits of the deal with homeowners that cleared the way for the last phase of the Gilroy project.

“I think when the project is complete, it is going to be really a special community in Gilroy,” he said. “Between the golf course and community pool and tennis courts, I think this is going to be a special place.”

Last round of Eagle Ridge homes

118 new homes

Four home types in Mediterranean style

6,000 square foot lots

2,650 to 3,300 square foot homes

Prices starting at estimated $750,000

Homes on sale by fall 2006

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