News that Michigan-based Pulte homes will soon be building model homes for its Orinda Grove development on the hillside along 8 Altarinda Way in Orinda had many in town talking Thursday. The developer plans to build 73 units, eight of them duplexes offered to moderate-income households, on a ten-acre parcel once home to the old grammar school and former home of JFK University.
The project, proposed after Pulte's acquisition of the site from the Orinda Union School District, was approved by the city council back in 2008.
"There are very few opportunities to build new communities in Orinda, especially in a location that is adjacent to BART and downtown," said Steve Kalmbach, president of PulteGroup’s Northern California Division in a press release sent to Patch Wednesday. "We see this new community as a great opportunity for families seeking a new home in a tremendous location at a good value.”
Interest from prospective homebuyers has been "tremendous," according to Patricia Morgan, division vice president of sales for Pulte.
Approval for the project was given back in August, 2008, with council members calling for better landscaping between a new, 7,500-square foot school district office building replacing the one currently being razed and the adjacent sports field. The council also asked for more parking spaces at the sports field.
Few people walking near the proposed site Thursday admitted to knowing anything about the project.
Berkeley resident Jaynesh Patel looked out over the property outlined by a writer and said simply: "It would be very close to BART, wouldn't it?"
Proximity to mass transit is being stressed by developers as a positive among "empty nesters" and single people looking for a quick connection to San Francisco via public transportation.