A condominium project geared toward the South Shore's middle-class workforce is set to break ground this spring.
The gated community, made up of 23 detached condos along a private road, will be built on a 4.9-acre property off of Wildwood Avenue in South Lake Tahoe.
"One of the goals of this project is to really target owner-occupied homebuyers," said Tanner Judkins of Sunmark Capital, the developer of the project. "I'd call this targeting middle-class workforce."
Judkins addressed South Lake Tahoe City Council Tuesday, March 20, at a meeting where the electeds unanimously approved a tentative subdivision map for the project. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has already approved the project.
Currently an old house and other "uninhabitable" buildings are on the property, according to Susan Simon, the project's planning consultant.
The two condo models will measure 2,100 and 2,450 square feet. Both floor plans will have two-car detached garages.
"What's really great about this design is that the condos are clustered in the middle of the property with a lot of open space around them so you have a feeling that you're in a wooded area," said Simon. "The gate is really about safety and making it a comfortable place for families and kids to play outside."
The project kicks off this spring and is expected to finish about a year later.
The community will have a homeowners association to cover water, sewer and maintenance of the gate and private road.
"We are trying to keep it under $200 a month," said Judkins.
The prices for the condos have not been set yet, but Judkins told City Council they are considering the "low to mid $500,000 range."
Mayor Wendy David inquired whether it was possible to limit the purchase of the homes to only full-time residents.
Judkins noted that while it is possible, rather than making restrictions, they are focused on designing the project in a way that attracts full-time homeowners, not vacationers.
But will the condo project put a dent in the lack of workforce housing?
"I think in general four-bedroom condos, if truly priced under $500,000, they will serve a portion of our local workforce," said Heidi Hill Drum, CEO of Tahoe Prosperity Center. "But that portion is going to be senior management, business professionals, people who own accounting firms and financial services companies — jobs like that.
"It's not representative of the type of housing that is most in need, in my opinion. What is most in need in our community are smaller two-bedroom units."
Tahoe Prosperity Center is currently looking to spearhead a project that takes an old motel on the South Shore and renovates it into modern workforce housing units.
Hill Drum said she did a quick online search for four-bedroom units under $500,000 for sale and found 11 in South Lake Tahoe. On the other hand, there was only one two-bedroom under $250,000.
"That's anecdotal and based on the market right this moment, but I think it proves what the community needs," said Hill Drum.