PALMDALE — The long-planned Ritter Ranch project is gaining traction, with developers anticipating beginning to build homes next year.
“I know a lot of our longtime residents will be happy to see that completed,” Commission Chair Stacia Nemeth said.
The project’s developers presented an informational update to the Palmdale Planning Commission, on Thursday.
The Ritter Ranch project initially was proposed during the Valley’s 1980s housing boom to build houses, schools, a golf course, parks and shopping centers in a master-planned community on a nearly century-old ranch. It first went bankrupt in the summer of 1996, after defense cutbacks and other factors stalled the housing boom, and it stalled again after the 2008 financial crisis.
The land is south of Elizabeth Lake Road and west of the Anaverde master-planned community. After Ritter Ranch’s development stalled the last time, the city opened a road through its property in 2015 to provide a secondary access for Anaverde.
Originally planned for 7,200 homes, the 10,500-acre project has had a series of owners.
Preston Hollow Capital acquired the project last year and began working with the city to move ahead with development.
“We’re excited to be part of having Ritter Ranch finally become a reality,” Preston Hollow Capital senior executive Ramiro Albarran said. “We are not your typical developer. We have the capital; we are deploying the capital in these communities and doing what we said we would.”
The plan presented, Thursday, of the initial phase shows 1,200 homes, to be built in two sections, with the first hopefully beginning in 2022.
The first section will have 553 single-family homes on lots ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet.
This section is on an area that has already been graded by previous developers and has some main roadways in place.
“The project is ready for builders to come in as soon as we’ve completed our approval process,” said Cindy Starrett, partner in Latham and Walters, the project’s development counsel. Infrastructure such as utilities is expected to be installed next year.
The first section will also feature a large recreation center at City Ranch Road and Ranch Center Drive. Conceptually, the center will be an 8,000-square-foot building and include a pool, volleyball courts, barbecues, tot lot and other recreational amenities. It will be maintained by the Homeowners Association.
A 15-acre community park with extensive amenities is also planned for the first section, to be built out over time.
“Our goal for next year is to make Phase 1a a reality,” Starrett said.
The second housing section will include 627 units with attached and detached single-family housing and townhouses.
Both sections will include large neighborhood parks and small community recreation areas with green space, picnic areas and the like. Bike trails, walking paths and trails will wind throughout the development.
The presentation did not include any detail on items such as planned areas for schools, fire stations or commercial areas — aside from a commercial pad at the development’s entrance on Elizabeth Lake Road.
However, the developer plans to begin working with the city in 2023 on addressing the remainder of the development beyond the initial phase plans, Starrett said.
“Once Phase 1 goes, we think people will really believe Ritter Ranch is real again, so that’s our focus right now,” she said.
Starrett said that previous agreements with communities such as Leona Valley regarding the project will be honored.