Friday, October 07, 2005

Fairfield's Urban Infill

Fairfield's Urban Infill
Developer Transforms 9.6 Acres of Former Mobile Home Park
Judy Richter, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, September 4, 2005

Fairfield's urban infill / Developer transforms 9.6 acres of former mobile home park
In Providence Walk, the 1,690-square-foot Plan 2, with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, costs $479,990 and up. Chronicle photo by Darryl Bush

Fairfield has grown exponentially in the past 20 years or so.

Back in the early '80s, it had just over 30,000 residents within a reasonably compact area. Now its population tops 105,000, and the city has sprawled across several miles from the Cordelia and Green Valley areas on the south to Paradise Valley on the north and from Travis Air Force Base on the east to the hills on the west.

With all that expansion into undeveloped land, much of it agricultural, one might not expect home builders to consider urban infill in Fairfield. Urban infill usually means building high-density housing on pockets of land within the central city.

However, the Olson Co., based in Seal Beach (Orange County) with Northern California offices in San Ramon, specializes in urban infill projects and tries to make them affordable.

Hence the company has transformed the 9.6 acres of a former mobile home park, Ellis Court, into Providence Walk, a handsome, 107-unit detached condo project just a block east of the busy intersection of North Texas Street and Travis Boulevard.

The company also is planning to develop a vacant 5-acre parcel across from the project along East Travis Boulevard.

Providence Walk appears to focus on the first-time buyer, with prices of the two available models ranging from $475,990 to $525,990.

The lower price is for the 1,690-square-foot Plan 2, which has three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. The more expensive Plan 3 is 2,075 square feet with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms.

Another model, the 1,309-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath Plan 1, was priced at $302,990, or below market rate, for first-time buyers who met certain income guidelines.

Those buyers paid as little as $3,030, or 1 percent down, with their own money. They then received a loan of up to $40,000 for the down payment or closing costs through programs sponsored by the city and state.

All 43 Plan 1 condos have been sold. All units in the project are two stories with two-car attached garages in back.

Even though the units are detached like single-family houses, they're considered condos because their lots belong to the homeowner association, not the individual homeowner.

Plan 2 is entered via a front porch leading to a small entryway that has a welcoming look directly toward the fireplace in the living room/dining room.

A door in the living room leads to the narrow side yard.

The U-shape kitchen at the front of the house opens to the dining room. It has tile countertops, oak cabinet doors, vinyl flooring and Whirlpool appliances.

Off the dining room are a half-bath and a door to the garage.

The stairs going up to the bedrooms are just to the right of the entryway. With a large window on the outer wall and a niche with a large mirror (decorator item) on the inner wall upstairs, light floods into both levels of the house from the stairway.

One of the smaller bedrooms is at the front, while the other is along a hallway. Across from it are the laundry area and a full but compact bathroom. The toilet and tub-shower are separate from the double sinks.

The master bedroom at the back of the house over the garage has a media niche and an optional fireplace. It also has a roomy walk-in closet entered from the bedroom -- a welcome deviation from the current trend of requiring a trek through the bathroom to get to the closet.

The bathroom has a shower stall, tub, double sinks and toilet compartment.

Homeowner dues of $153 a month include maintenance of the common areas as well as use of the development's pool, spa and play area.

The project has easy access to shopping, restaurants and freeways. It's served by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.

E-mail Judy Richter at

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