Ceres Series Highlights California City’s Workforce Housing
- Jun 22, 2011
Fontana, Cal.–This spring’s opening of Ceres Way marked the sixth affordable housing project developed by Jamboree Housing Corporation for the city of Fontana, Cal. The 60-unit townhouse-style apartment community, designed by Irvine-based KTGY Group and built by Mission Viejo-based general contractor Advent Companies, follows in the wake of two other projects along Fontana’s Ceres Ave.
Ceres I, completed eight years ago, was a rehab of an existing apartment building. Ceres Court, built two years ago, rose on the site of a former mobile-home park. Ceres Way, which leased out in two weeks in March and April, was built at the site of a vacant, bank-owned house and an empty, weed-pocked lot.
Jamboree has also worked with Fontana in recent years to produce three other affordable communities, Hillcrest, Valencia Woods and Citrus Grove. It’s no surprise that Irvine-based Jamboree, one of California’s largest active affordable housing developers, would work so often with Fontana, an Inland Empire city that grew up around the steel industry after World War II, and that has remained solidly blue-collar throughout its history.
Several elements are necessary to ensure affordable housing gets built, Jamboree Housing Corporation’s Housing Development Director Michael Massie tells MHN. “You need political will, resources and a sophisticated staff,” he says.
“Fontana has all three. They ‘get’ affordable housing, they want affordable housing, and they have the resources to get it built.”
Jamboree, marking its 21st birthday, was launched at the insistence of the Irvine City Council, which wanted to nurture a home-grown non-profit affordable housing developer. In its early years, Jamboree worked exclusively within the city of Irvine. That began changing about 12 years ago, when Laura Archuleta assumed the company presidency. “She came out of a background in city government,” Massie says. “It’s a close association with cities that has brought us our success. We’re not the kind of developer that tells a city we want to develop affordable housing in their city. Instead, we work closely with city staff, almost as an extension of staff, to identify their affordable housing needs, and what resources are available to get the projects done.”
Jamboree worked closely with Fontana’s planning, building and police departments to help ensure Ceres Way would boast open spaces, but that they wouldn’t lure criminals to an area formerly known for public safety concerns.
Families that have moved in to Ceres Way tend to be in the 50 percent range of area median household income, Massie says. They have access to mass transit (in the form of city buses) about a block away. Ceres Way is situated less than a half mile from Fontana City Hall.
“We’re just incredibly pleased to continue our relationship with the city of Fontana, and I can’t say enough about the city’s dedication to affordable housing,” Massie says. “We see affordable housing as a sustainable measure in and of itself, because it reduces commute times, keeps cars off the road, and eliminates need to continue replenishing infrastructure.”