Tulare prepares for new mixed-use development project

Toor Capital is in the process of annexing 231 acres of land into the city’s boundary for a new mixed-use residential development area adding 1,197 total residential units, a school, parks, community center

TULARE – Tulare’s economic development continues to grow with new projects all the time, over 200 acres of land is in the works to be used for mixed-use development. 

At the Oct. 4th Tulare City Council meeting, Traci Myers, Tulare’s community and economic developer, gave an economic development update. Along with some of the major projects in Tulare like the update to Zumwalt Park, downtown redevelopment and the homeless shelter, Tulare is taking advantage of its first transit oriented development overlay (TOD). In order to qualify as a TOD, the development must be focused on access to public transit. 

Arun Toor with Toor Capital is planning the development that will house apartments, townhouses, single family homes, a school and additional amenities on over 200 acres in between Mission Oak High School and College of the Sequoias (COS) Tulare campus.

“The city of Tulare was one of the first cities to say, ‘okay, we’re gonna do this transit oriented development concept,’ which is an overlay over our general plan update,” Myers said. “With that, we’re going to encourage walkability. It’s transit oriented, it’s near Mission Oak, it’s near COS, it’s near a high density residential area, it’s going to have a commercial component and it’s going to have a transit component.”

Toor is the first developer to bring in the option for a TOD to the city of Tulare. The multi use development area will be known as Chandler Grove. To follow the TOD, the development must allow for a mix of land uses focused on access to public transit, according to the staff report. The Chandler Grove project will be on a total of 231 acres of land. 

Once complete, there will be 1,197 total residential units accounting for 163 of the 231 acres. There will be a school, a park, a neighborhood commercial center and community center. The parks will act as natural areas and provide stormwater detention with playgrounds, plazas and open fields for sports and activities. 

This development will ultimately be connected to COS, and Tulare city manager Marc Mondell said that is a key factor in this type of development. Connecting a college with a residential and commercial area can only provide growth for multiple parties involved. The goal of this type of subdivision is to provide everything a resident would need in an area within walking distance. As it stands now according to the staff report, there will be 552 apartment units, 281 townhome style homes and 364 single family homes. 

“It’s focused on public access and walkability, so it’s kind of its own little entity of a development,” Myers said. “That’s why the acreage is so much.”

Toor had to put together an economic impact report (EIR) for the city because of the size of the project and its potential to have significant environmental impacts. Toor’s EIR is now out for public review according to Myers. If all goes well Toor will be one step closer to annexation. According to Myers, ground won’t be broken for another two years on this project due to its magnitude. 

Additional Economic Development Updates

Myers said the city is excited for the additional distribution centers that are making their way to the city. CA Ventures has purchased 80 acres of land on East Paige Avenue with the opportunity to expand on a neighboring 80 acres. The plan is to build two industrial buildings, each will be approximately 550,000 square feet each. With this project leading by example, the city is hopeful it will prompt additional businesses to move to Tulare and bring thousands of jobs to the city. 

The new interchange, International Agri-Center Way, south of Paige Avenue, is projected to open an entire area of Tulare that has not been easily accessible before. The interchange is expected to be completed in 2025. By opening this interchange it expands the possibilities for developers to take advantage of all the undeveloped land in the areas surrounding the International Agri-Center. 

The city continues to grow and that is visible in the year to date permit activity. Myers’ economic update report showed from this year to last year, single family residential building permits went from 93 to 246. It does not look as though those numbers will begin declining any time soon, as more and more subdivisions are being built throughout the city.

At the Sept. 30 city council meeting, council approved the purchase of two acres of property in the city limits of Tulare for the purpose of a temporary homeless encampment. Now that the city owns the property, city staff is preparing to come back to council with an operational plan for review. The city’s hope is to reduce the impacts of homelessness in the downtown residential areas as well as other public and private areas according to Myers’s presentation to council. The temporary encampment is expected to commence in January 2023.

The temporary encampment is a short term solution. The city is also working on the plans for a permanent homeless shelter. It will be a 200 bed facility that is expandable up to 400 beds. The shelter will provide three internal levels of residency–entry, participation and recovery. The city is still working out the details and most importantly is waiting to hear back from the county on a lease agreement for the property. Once the lease is signed, construction of the facility should take about 12-18 months.

The city continues to grow and that is visible in the year to date permit activity. Meyers’ economic update report showed from this year to last year, single family residential building permits went from 93 to 246. It does not look as though those numbers will begin declining any time soon, as more and more subdivisions are being built throughout the city.

At the Sept. 30 city council meeting, council approved the purchase of two acres of property in the city limits of Tulare for the purpose of a temporary homeless encampment. Now that the city owns the property, city staff is preparing to come back to council with an operational plan for review. The city’s hope is to reduce the impacts of homelessness in the downtown residential areas as well as other public and private areas according to Myers’s presentation to council. The temporary encampment is expected to commence in January 2023.

As for the rest of the city, staff has been working hard to get some pre existing projects rolling. The renovation of Zumwalt Park with the addition of the amphitheater, splash pad and playground has 30% design review complete and expects 75% design review to be completed by mid October. Construction should take place from March to October of 2023, with the completion in October.

The downtown master plan is moving along as well. The city met with their consultant, MIG Inc., in August and had a walkthrough of the downtown area. They are working on data collection and will be meeting with the community, stakeholders and elected officials before the end of the year. Once the masterplan is complete it will act as a road map for the next several years for the downtown area.

As for the downtown rehabilitation grant program, the city’s grant committee has made a conditional award to Adrian Herrera for his renovation of the old Toledo Jeweler’s building. He plans to have a tap room on the first floor, filled by Tap 78, and a golf lounge, four apartments on the second floor as well as a rooftop lounge. Herrera was the first to complete the application for the grant. The city still has the opportunity to review and grant additional awards for those who are  looking to renovate buildings in the downtown area.

The courthouse remodel for the Tulare Chamber of Commerce’s business accelerator is currently at 60% design review, meaning they have completed 60% of the designs. By December of this year, the final design review should be complete and construction should begin in March 2023. The finished product is expected to be done in October or November of 2023. 

As the city continues to grow, so does commercial development. In January 2023, Myers said Tulare will see a Panera Bread on Prosperity Avenue next to Raising Cane’s; a Crumbl cookie shop will be going in the old T-Mobile building near Target; and in the spring of 2023, a Panda Express with a drive thru will be going in on Bardsley Avenue. 

Both Cannabis retail shops are projected to open before the end of the year. Valley Pure will be opening in October 2022 and Token Farms will be opening in December 2022. 

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