Work starts again on Healdsburg housing project

  • A D.R. Horton housing project features townhouses on Grant St. in Healdsburg. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Work has re-started on a Healdsburg housing project, providing another sign of life for the battered home-building industry.

D.R. Horton, the nation's largest homebuilding company, acquired the property on Grant Street more than two years after work stopped on the partially built project begun by a previous developer.

This week, D.R. Horton gained the approval of the City Council to go ahead with a slightly revised project that by the time it's completed will provide 37 single-family homes, including six low-income units.

"It's a positive thing for the community," said Mayor Gary Plass. "It's not positive to have a half-built project sitting dormant. And it will help with affordable housing stock."

Initially proposed by New Healdsburg Venture, a limited partnership including developers Robert O'Neel and Clint Wilson, the Grant Street Village was approved in 2006 by the City Council on a formerly dilapidated site that had a metal warehouse and homeless and migrant encampments.

Just 10 homes were partially completed before work stopped in 2010.

"The previous developer was a casualty of the economic recession," said Barbara Nelson, the city's planning and building director.

She said D.R. Horton purchased the 4.8 acre property across from the railroad tracks and Foss Creek through the bankruptcy court when the project was in receivership.

The subdivision was re-christened "Sonata."

As the largest homebuilder in the country, according to Builder Magazine, the company boasts a strong financial position despite the downturn in the housing market over the past five years.

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