Corona, CA: Upscale all-inclusive development finally sees homes

Years ago a developer and architect envisioned plans to connect an upscale retail development in South Corona through lakes and bamboo walkways to housing, creating an all-inclusive mini city that few residents would need to leave for necessities.

But after years of falling home prices and a deflated construction market, bankruptcy and struggling retail sales, that vision was put on hold, until this month. Dirt is moving and grading is underway beside Interstate 15 adjacent to the Dos Lagos retail center for a 93 live-work project, project architect Norberto Nardis said.

The Dos Lagos Regional Center live-work project calls for a contemporary design of upper-middle class townhomes and office space on just over five acres of land. Two, three and four-bedroom units ranging from 1,700 to 2,100 square feet are being built in 12 buildings over the next year-and-a-half with the ground floor dedicated to office space and the second and third levels for living space.

The roughly $27 million project would be equipped with a community center, swimming pool, common outdoor public areas, 48 visitor parking spaces, and connect to shops via a bamboo bridge and lake.

“It’s not retail. It’s a work component. It could be a professional office, a dentist an accountant,” Nardis said about plans for the work aspect.

The mixed-use project was originally designed to be built in conjunction with its lifestyle center neighbor to the south that opened in 2006, The Shops at Dos Lagos, which features a multiplex cinema and amphitheater and upscale retailers and boutique stores. The high-end shops went into foreclosure in December 2009 after a developer defaulted on a $125 million mortgage. But a new management company is attempting to revive the development.

A portion of the townhome project was originally slated for senior housing but revised plans eliminated that aspect because the market might not be able to attract enough tenants, Nardis said.

The townhomes would ultimately be offered for sale but in the short-term are being built as an investment by Chinese developer Richard Dong, said Joyce Zhao, administration manager for the development.

For five years the projects must remain under the ownership of the developer, according to restrictions placed on the development under a federal program that offers foreigners permanent U.S. residency if they invest in companies that create jobs through the visa program known as EB-5.

The program allows entrepreneurs who make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. eligible for a green card, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site.

“Everyone is assuming that in five years there will be a recovery of the economy and the housing market,” Nardis said.

In the meantime, the units will likely be rented, he said.

It is unknown what is expected to be done with the remaining two acres owned by U.S. Dos Lagos Development Co. out of Pomona.

Ceremony for Dos Lagos residential project

What: Groundbreaking for Dos Lagos Regional Center live-work project
When: 11 a.m. Monday
Where: 4160 Temescal Canyon Road

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