With the slump in the housing market, developers for two large pieces of property in Windsor are re-tooling their projects to build rental apartments instead of homes to sell.
A proposal for 17 acres immediately north of Walmart could provide up to 325 apartments, replacing a plan for 83 single-family homes and 120 senior apartments.
"The land has never been a good single-family dwelling parcel," Rick McClish, one of the owners of the property said Tuesday. It's better suited to high-density development because of its location next to a shopping center and bus lines, he said.
Windsor, according to McClish, "is sadly lacking in apartments. We're saying we'd love to help the town build 275 to 325 affordable one- two- three-bedroom apartments."
Dubbed "Hembree Village," the project will be the subject of a conceptual review tonight at a joint meeting of the Town Council and Planning Commission. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.
An official application and potential approval likely would not come until next year.
"We're now seeing a lot of apartment projects that people are bringing forward," said Pauletta Cangson, a Windsor associate planner. "This is what the economy appears to be driving and what funding institutions are saying they would fund."
The other project on tonight's agenda is Windsor Mill, 360 to 400 apartment units proposed southeast of the future train station downtown.
Developers had a previous agreement with the town that would have allowed 201 units of mixed housing on the site, including detached, single-family and attached multi-family dwellings.
"Over the past four years, the catastrophic economic decline and meteoric rise in single-family residential foreclosures has drastically changed the residential marketplace and altered the buying trends for state and local residents," Windsor Mill consultants wrote in their project description.
"Projections for the California housing market are that residential buying patterns will significantly change for the long term and that rental housing stock and walkable, city-centric options that are close to services and alternate transportation systems are going to be in strong demand," they stated.
Windsor Mill developers are asking the Town Council to give them a "priority development designation" that allows them a higher density in the station area and would expedite their plans for the $80 million development.
Hembree Village and the Windsor Mill aren't the only projects signalling a new direction in Windsor, which was once defined by its single-family home subdivisions. Plans for a $80-to-$100 million Bell Village with an Oliver's supermarket and 387 rental apartments are also in the pipeline.
That project, opposite the Town Green on the old Windsorland mobile home park site, requires final planning commission and design review approvals.
The proponents of Hembree Village also said homes on separate lots are being bypassed in favor of "more affordable housing options," namely apartment living.
"It's affordable to a population that wants to rent, doesn't have the down payment to enter a home, or lost credit and can't re-enter the housing market," he said Tuesday.