Visalia Housing Construction Stopped

April 8, 2008 9:10:29 PM PDT
Spring is officially here but the wear and tear from winter may have an effect on whether some homes can be sold. The city of Visalia is dealing with homebuilders who have stopped construction of new homes.Building officials say they are working closely with homebuilders who have invested millions of dollars in Visalia properties but aren't building very many new houses. California-based company Reynen and Bardis have already asked the city for a refund on housing permits for ten properties it bought during the housing boom.

A tumbleweed laying peacefully in an unfinished home may say it all nobody's moving in here anytime soon.

City of Visalia building official, Dennis Lehman, says, "I wish I had a crystal ball to know what was going to be happening but had I a crystal ball I'd probably be retired by now."

Lehman and other Visalia building officials are doing their best to help prevent empty housing lots from falling apart; especially after sitting empty through the winter months. California homebuilder Reynen and Bardis has stopped construction on several lots of new homes. Trash and other construction debris has started to build up on the property. There are no immediate plans to put in bath tubs or plaster on any walls. Across the street is empty land where construction never began.

Reynen and Bardis spokesperson, Michele McCormick, says, "What the company is doing right now is taking every step it can to deal with some pretty serious financial challenges."

Reynen and Bradis got into the South Valley housing boom late. Many of the lots itbought aren't selling so they've stopped construction until the company's financial woes can be dealt with. City building codes state a property is officially called "abandoned" once work on the project has stopped for 90 days. Dennis Lehman says, "Let's be realistic. We have a lot of projects that may in fact not have any inspections within 90 days. That doesn't mean they're being abandoned. It means they may not have leased it yet."

The city of Visalia is waiting for Reynen and Bardis to submit the specific properties they need permit refunds on. Reynen and Bardis say they hope to continue construction on the half-built homes within a year.


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