Infill Community in Orinda Provides Rare New Home Opportunity, Homebuilder Says

"Orinda Grove" neighborhood is planned to include 73 detached homes and duplexes

Company News Release

Orinda, CA – September 12 2012 – Pulte Homes has purchased an infill site in the City or Orinda, providing a rare opportunity to build 73 new homes in the highly sought-after market.

Recent new home development in the City of Orinda has been rare, aside from some multi-million custom homes in some neighborhoods, said Steve Kalmbach, president of PulteGroup’s Northern California Division.

“There are very few opportunities to build new communities in Orinda, especially in a location that is adjacent to BART and downtown,” Kalmbach said.  “We see this new community as a great opportunity for families seeking a new home in a tremendous location at a good value.”  

Since Pulte started featuring the new Orinda Grove community on its website in August as “coming soon,” the interest from prospective homebuyers has been tremendous, said Patricia Morgan, division vice president of sales.

“There is a very limited supply of new homes at affordable prices in this area. The resale homes available often need a lot of updating, which can be costly and time consuming,” Morgan said, adding that the community is attractive to families as well as empty nesters in Orinda Hills who want to be closer to retail and services. “It’s no surprise that we are getting a lot of interest from families and empty nesters who see Orinda Grove as a great place to live.”

Pulte Homes purchased the 10+ acre site from the Orinda Union School District, which had used the land for a temporary district office.   As part of the purchase, the homebuilder will build two new 3.1 acre ball fields for the City and build a new 7,500-square-foot school district office adjacent to the site.

The new Orinda Grove neighborhood is planned to include 73 detached homes and duplexes: 65 one, two and three-story single family detached homes and eight duplex units, as required by the City.  The homes will range in size from 1,533 to 2,672 square feet and feature three and four bedrooms.  Demolition of the temporary school district office is underway, and Pulte plans to open model homes in Spring 2013.

“Orinda Grove is ideally situated in one of the state’s best school districts, close to retail and in a great location proximate to many of the major job centers in the Bay Area,” Kalmbach said.  “This is a beautiful established area with a small town feel that has easy access to everything.”

The community is close to Highway 24, with convenient access to the major job and economic centers of San Francisco (15 miles), Oakland (10 miles) and Walnut Creek (10 miles).  In addition to being proximate to major job centers in the Bay Area, Orinda Grove is centrally located within the City of Orinda.  Both downtown Orinda and BART are walkable from the site, and the community is central to the Orinda Community Center and local retail shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

Kalmbach said Pulte Homes expects young families to be especially interested in the community, which will feature homes with modern designs that require less maintenance than many of the resale homes on the market. 

“For young families, here is the ability to buy a home in one of the best school districts in California in a community that’s close to everything,” Kalmbach said. 

XBerkeleyite September 13, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Not great news. I hope Pulte Homes will not be in charge of constructing these homes. Senior citizen members of my family had nightmare experiences with this shady company. The complaints submitted on the blog, [link provided], replicate their stories. Shoddy workmanship, uncooperative management, unwillingness to compensate home buyers for repairs related to construction problems, and more. http://pulte-homes.pissedconsumer.com/
Chris F. September 13, 2012 at 03:42 PM
My mom purchased a Pulte home is Sacramento about 7 years ago. The stucco is cracked up everywhere and Pulte refused to fix the home, She just pent a huge sum to have a company come in and patch the cracks and paint the house. Pulte also did a terrible job with the landscaping, She and many of hre neighbors have had to redo the landscaping in their front yards as the tree's and plants that were planted were not well thought out in the planning process.
Eastofthehills September 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
great the death of orinda with shoddy antioch style housing developments. Whoever on the school board rolled with this needs to be voted out. Honestly I'm sure orinda will get some lovely section 8 and BMR units in the mix. (the 8 duplexes will probably be the BMR units)
JL September 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I am also concerned with how this will affect our schools. With this influx of new families, will our schools be overcrowded? We have one of the best school districts in CA because we can maintain lower teacher to student ratios. How will all these new homes in Orinda Grove and the Wilder Project affect that?
Big Daddy September 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
This was sell out by our school dist and the city council. We should have partnered w a high tech co to make this a state of the art computer scienc campus for our exceptionally high scoring student population. Another short sighted mistake by the city
Eastofthehills September 13, 2012 at 05:36 PM
How did this sale happen without public oversight or knowledge?
Valerie Sloven September 13, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Over the years, the school district,city council and planning commission have held dozens of meetings related to the sale and development of Pine Grove. Countless articles have also been written about it. The Orinda school population has been stagnate for years. The infusion of new families will bring much needed dollars to the district.
Mark Roberts September 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Valerie -- thank you! I'm gald to see someone else has been paying attention over the past 7 years. That's right -- the deal between the OUSD and Pulte was originally struck in 2005, if I'm not mistaken. As for school enrollment, there are always waves and troughs moving through K-12. For example, enrollment at Miramonte HS has declined by about 150 students over the past few years so new students would be welcome. I don't know about K-8. Can we please be at least a little optimistic about the benefits that new families moving to our community will bring -- rather than just worrying or grousing about possible minor challenges? I really don't want to see Orinda being called a NIMBY-controlled community.
Eastofthehills September 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Personally, I like Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette the way they are. If that's NIMBY then so be it. I for one oppose any development beyond single lot custom/semi custom SFR home builds. My reasoning behind this is that it will eliminate any section and BMR requirments that typically are forced on developers when they develop in this area. BMR and section 8 tend to destroy the value of the other properties nearby.
Chris Nicholson September 13, 2012 at 08:20 PM
This new project is not going to change the character of Orinda. I don't worry about a slippery slope, because each new development will always come under intense scrutiny. Duplexes are better than apartments, and it sounds like there will be some nice SFRs in the mix as well. I worry a bit about commingling a land deal with the "in-kind" swap for a new district office for OUSD, but that's water under the bridge I guess.
Ian Lipnicky (still a SportsFan) September 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Your assessment is the most accurate of all that I've read on here. Although, i do wonder about traffic flow & volume on that road as people head down to 24.
Jason Schmidt September 14, 2012 at 04:39 AM
You are incorrect about the school population. The Orinda elementary schools are having some of their biggest classes ever. There is no stagnation. Take it from a parent of a child in a record-sized grade-school class. Also, won't any new dollars raised from low-cost/moderate-priced property taxes be offset or perhaps even less than the costs to educate these new families' children? What if we brought in a million families -- think of how much extra money that would be for the district! Oh, wait, we have to provide services and infrastructure with that money too? Forget about that -- think only about the revenue!
Chris Nicholson September 14, 2012 at 05:37 AM
@Jason: New homes have assessed values equal to sale price. Even if slightly smaller than average, I assume the new homes will have an accretive impact on median assessed value (and thus prop taxes per home). You point (dilution) would be more valid in the case of apartments.
Valerie Sloven September 14, 2012 at 07:12 AM
@Jason Is your child in a large class because of a lack of space, or because the district can not afford to hire more teachers? I suspect it is because they don't have the money to hire more teachers. I doubt very much if all Orinda schools are operating at capacity.
Valerie Sloven September 14, 2012 at 07:12 AM
@Jason Is your child in a large class because of a lack of space, or because the district can not afford to hire more teachers? I suspect it is because they don't have the money to hire more teachers. I doubt very much if all Orinda schools are operating at capacity.
Jason Schmidt September 14, 2012 at 03:51 PM
No, it is the entire class year that is large, not the individual classrooms, which remain small in teacher-pupil ratio. The teachers are fantastic, as always. Unlike the 90's, when there were reports of the "graying of Orinda", there has been a huge influx of young families into Orinda in the past decade. One need only look at the packed local kids' sports leagues and swim clubs to see this. A good portion of the school's funding (per reports of the principal) comes from donations from parents and fund-raising activities like the auctions, etc. Because Orinda schools perform so well, they receive less state funding than other districts. The difference is made up by the family contributions. Thus I am not sure that additional students will bring in much-needed dollars, unless their families are also as inclined to open up their checkbooks.
Eastofthehills September 14, 2012 at 04:09 PM
@Valerie; From the way it sounds if we can't afford new teachers and have large class sizes now; how will adding a bunch of new students give us any more marginal revenue than there is currently? Adding new students will allow you to add more teachers but will not allow you to reduce class size or improve student teacher ratios. As it stands now if class sizes are growing and we don't have money to hire more teachers it means that the revenue per student is insufficient to maintain current or past low student teacher ratio; adding more new students will dillute that ratio further. In my opinion what's needed for development are a small number of mega mansions with high assessed values. That way orinda can get alot more parcel tax for provding a lot less service. What you really need is more people like me or Ian to move in; homeowners with no kids. What isn't needed is homeowners moving into cheap housing with lots of kids.


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