Going Beyond Solar with
BY CHARLENE PETERS | PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY VENTURES
Twelve years ago, three friends and colleagues in the home-building business launched a forward-thinking, socially conscious company called City Ventures. Their goal was to focus on sustainability and move away from traditional corporate home building in California.
As with any business, making a profit is essential, but what continues to top the list in their criteria is sustainability. Top of mind, the spaces for building these homes had to be in a walkable area where infrastructure was already in place and where it was easy to take public transportation. To avoid the “suburban sprawl” of building further out of an accessible area, they found businesses such as beleaguered used car dealerships that were taking up space. So they took over those spaces and converted them into housing. City Ventures continues to work in partnership with public agencies such as cities, counties, successor redevelopment agencies, and city housing authorities.
This fully integrated residential and mixed-use developer and homebuilder business remains focused on creating and building California’s most sustainable, advanced, and energy-efficient new home communities. Since their start, they have represented nearly 20,000 homes and built or sold 130 new communities. In total, the value of their builds surpasses $8 billion, positioning City Ventures as a leader in the land entitlement, development, and building industry in California.
“There are people looking to live closer to the city without being in the city,” explained VP of Sales at City Ventures, Kelly Nguyen. “Their needs shifted from having to work in the office – to having a home office area built into the floor plans.”
The projects already in place in Northern California include Novato, Oakland, and Santa Rosa. In Southern California, Los Angeles and San Diego counties are the places to find a City Ventures project. Interesting to note is that homeowners who lost properties to California wildfires, such as in Santa Rosa, are shifting preferences and looking to buy and move elsewhere instead of waiting for their homes to be rebuilt on the same space. The homes are sustainable and eco-forward – more than simply solar. While solar is included as part of the home, all elements use electricity instead of a mix of natural gas and electric. And each community is walkable and accessible to public transportation.
“Novato has been a very popular project, and we are down to our last release there,” said Nguyen.
In the Hamilton Field area, the appeal for sales is the walkable access to the Vintage Oaks area and minutes to its charming downtown with cobblestoned streets on Grant. But many more perks have caught homebuyers’ attention, including an advanced heat pump water heater that goes beyond tankless, and the two-car garages are conduit ready for a future EV charger. The list continues with a Nest thermostat for programmable auto sets, a keypad entry, and optional electrical outlets on the kitchen island. And all homes have energy-saver appliances, including induction cooktops.
The end game? To tailor a home built to how people live today.