Construction workers have begun grading land for a 244-unit apartment project in Rohnert Park, the first of two new market-rate developments to be built in Sonoma County in the past four years.
Heavy equipment is preparing the site of the future Fiori Estates apartments. The 10-acre property in west Rohnert Park once was part of the Sonoma County Crushers baseball stadium.
The developer, Stockton-based A.G. Spanos Companies, characterizes Fiori Estates as a luxury complex that will include a clubhouse, gym, pool and an outdoor fireplace and barbecue area. It will feature nine three-story apartment buildings.
The construction gets underway as county apartment rents have increased an average of 10 percent in the last year, according to RealFacts, a Novato-based apartment market research firm.
The average rent has risen to $1,407 a month. The county's occupancy rate stands at 97.5 percent.
"We think it's a really strong rental market," said Alexandros Economou, a regional vice president for A.G. Spanos.
The project sits northwest of Costco along the future extension of Dowdell Avenue. An empty field separates the property from Business Park Drive and the southern entrance to the Graton Resort & Casino that will open next week.
Fiori Estates will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
The first units may be available to rent in about a year, Economou said. The entire development is expected to be completed by the spring of 2015.
A.G. Spanos doesn't reveal the cost of such projects.