Centennial at Tejon Ranch

30 thoughts on “Centennial at Tejon Ranch”

  1. There is zero evidence that a significant portion of Angelenos want more densification and tons of evidence that they want de-densification. That is a prime reason Family Millennials are moving to Texas and other Sun Belt places. Los Angeles is run by a feudal system where only the Lords and Ladies and King Garcetti have any say in development and they have spewed forth lies upon lies for close to two decades declaring that people want Infil. No Angelenos hate inFil. Only developers want Infil as it makes their land worth more and when they cannot get the financial profits they want, the city gives them hundreds of millions of dollars.

    As self-driving electric cars including robo-cars and virtual presence, e.g. Portal+ become ubiquitous, living in a crowded urban high rise will become financially prohibitive and the smarter, more educated people will simply leave. In fact, LA has lost so many Family Millennials, that its future tax base has been decimated. No sensible business would want to cast its lot with LA with its decayed infrastructure and its squandering of billions of dollars each year to further densify the city.

    Businesses generate wealth and businessmen know that they will bar the burden of the city’s infrastructure and financial collapse. (What other city has a three major water main ruptures per week?) Who will pay for LA to have decent roads? to have a water system? to have a police fore? to have paramedics? a decent school system? Businesses. There is no one else.

    Employees have no magical source of income other than their jobs and the employers have no magical source of income other than their customers. As the city deteriorates into non-functionality, the cost of doing business will rise. Wages will have to increase to try to have decent employees put up with the deteriorating city, but that’s the crunch. Any business in competition with newer decentralized urban areas will be at an insurmountable competitive disadvantage. LA which promises rising costs for businesses deters new businesses from relocating in LA and accelerates the departure of establishes businesses.

  2. If they can also build a road from the proposed development to Tehachapi, this place will sell.

    Currently you have to go towards Mojave or all the way around towards Bakersfield to go up Tehachapi.

    The best comparison location-wise is California City (I dunno if you’ve ever been , but do visit take a looksy, it is sad 😦 ).

  3. I am aware that there are people who like living in that sort of climate, and that the water availability issues there are identical to the ones in Los Angeles.

    But as I look at the landscape I can’t help but think My God where is the water? It’s desert!

    1. it’s flanked by both the CA aqueduct and LA aqueduct.

      the biggest issue will be the commute, 138 hwy to Lancaster/Palmdale or I-5 South thru SCV.

      but if you work out of Bakersfield, this place is perfect.

      I hope people demand that this place be connected to Tehachapi.

  4. This post causes a flood of memories to resurface from young adulthood. I drove past Tejon Ranch on Interstate 5 approximately five days per week for a couple of years.

    I’m a native Californian who has resided in Texas since 2005…yes, I cashed out and left the Golden State during the mid 2000’s housing bubble. Anyhow, I was born and raised in Ventura County. I bought my first house at age 22 in Bakersfield for $146k in 2003 and sold two years later for $259k before leaving the state.

    The same house plummeted in value and was sold for $81k in 2009 during the bottom of the market, so the nice people who purchased from me suffered. Housing values in Bakersfield have slowly increased since then, but are not fully recovered since the 2005 housing bubble peak.

    Here’s the kicker…I endured a hellish commute by choice for two years. For one year I kept my factory job in Oxnard while commuting 120 miles one way to Bakersfield via the Grapevine, better known as Interstate 5. During my last year in California I drove 95 miles one way to school in Van Nuys while living in Bakersfield.

    Why did I commute? I had two rationales. For one, homeownership in Bakersfield was far less costly than renting in Ventura or Los Angeles County. Secondly, the job market in Bakersfield was (and still is) not diversified, so I couldn’t find work in or near the city. I once read a statistic that one-third of Bakersfield residents commute across county lines to work.

    Thank you for your enlightening website, Johnny.

    1. Thanks for sharing your life experience.

      I asked a friend in Van Nuys what he thought of the Tejon situation. He was blunt. The middle class is leaving LA for places like Texas as you have. The folks with more money or existing equity cluster near the coast since the whole point of living in Southern California is to enjoy the good weather and proximity to stuff on the West Side. So that leaves mostly non-white marginal populations who have just enough money (or access to credit) to buy in Tejon and who need to remain in the Greater LA region for whatever reason. Personally I think the bottom is going to fall out of the real estate market and Tejon will either never get built or the people who buy there will be screwed.

      Tejon is the latest – and possibly last – iteration of the Levittown model. But we’re at the end of the long cycle that created such places. I don’t know what will come next, but I don’t think Tejon is it.

    1. So… Let’s say – hypothetically – that Southern California was flat as a pancake instead of mountainous. The horizontal sub-urbanism wouldn’t be hindered by topography. There would be twice as much easily developed land if the mountains were replaced with level land. And all those pesky traffic bottlenecks through canyons and passes wouldn’t exist. LA would be… Dallas, Houston, Austin… Atlanta.

      Turn that coin over. Plop a bunch of mountain ranges on top of Austin, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. You’d have… LA.

      1. Well, I wasn’t thinking about topography when I wrote the above. More like already too much heat, too little water, too many people, and the probability that all three (plus other factors like driving further in inefficient ICE-powered vehicles) are, in all probability going to become worse, but to each their own…. So, I guess the question is ‘…where should people live?’. I read somewhere that as things warm up, western B.C., Canada is expected to evolve a nice Mediterranean climate similar to the Bay area. Or, what about Edmonton? No seashore, but its way flat and wide – lots of room and not quite (yet) a desert like L.A. and environs. One thing though, the current residents aren’t likely to be overly welcoming toward migrants from the lower 48.

        1. Vancouver is in the midst of a deflating housing bubble caused in large part by flight capital from China. They instituted a 15% tax on foreign buyers of property. Also rule of law in Canada is not what it looks like on first blush – Google “bc casinos hockey bags of cash” and do a little reading. It is eye opening.

          1. re Chinese money, Seattle and surroundings too suffered (suffering) a similar fate.

            re Edmonton, say hello to tornados as tornados too move north.

      2. The lack of coherent road network makes Austin feel a lot more like it has geographic constraints. Then again, that same lack of coherence makes biking here comparable in timing to driving and parking so long as you’re within the 183/71/290/360 loop.

  5. brings back old Firesign Theatre memories…
    “Antelope Valley one half mile…”
    “If you lived here you’d be home by now!”
    Still apropo ha-ha-ha!
    <<<>>>>

  6. I understand why someone would live way out there. Along with places like Santa Clarita and Irvine, it’s the last refuge of the 80s middle class L.A. dream: the big house with the red tile roof and palm tree, pool in the back and jet skis in the front, manicured lawns and good schools down the block.

    From this point of view, the problem isn’t suburbia, it’s the urbanists, the government, the poor immigrants… too many people and the wrong kind of people. So of course the solution is Centennial at Tejon Ranch. At some point though, just move to Dallas already.

    1. So long as LA city/county doesn’t make that place Section 8 heaven, as they did to East Palmdale and Lancaster, it’ll be fine.

      Just keep an eye out for that kinda stuff. Be vocal about Section 8 saturation.

      The San Andreas fault runs directly underneath of that area too, so I’m hoping structurally they’ve taken account of that fact. Ask around. Ask about the fault, ask about section 8 saturation before moving in.

      1. Alex, I’m agnostic on the topic but the government doesn’t decide to “make” a place Section 8. It’s an entirely voluntary voucher system that individual landlords accept if they choose. Lancaster and Palmdale did in fact become places where Section 8 housing concentrated. But that’s because market rate renters didn’t want to live there and resale values crashed.

        1. I’m not so sure about the process of Section 8 housing, but I remember reading in LA Times (?) that L.A. county/city officials did finagle to manufacture that concentration, ie. plucking them out of say South LA and right smack in Palmdale/Lancaster.

          I hope you can do a blog on how they can finagle and make such saturations happen, how exactly do gov’t machinations happen.

          the idea of Section 8 , in and of itself is commendable, but if gov’t entities saturate an area with mostly Section 8, its a no brainer that the community will suffer than benefit. There should be smart ration of Section 8 to homeowners.

          If you’re surrounded by Section 8’ers , entitled no sense of community (ie. neighborliness) , loud noise, etc. etc. homeowners will jettison the location.

            1. Johnny, I remembered it being explained as similar to what police in Socal call homeless soccer, ie.

              Santa Monica police tell homeless folks to go to Venice, and vice-versa Venice (LAPD) encourage their homeless to go to Santa Monica (nicely or forcefully).

              Only with Section 8, it’s more difficult to pry them out of say Palmdale/Lancaster, hence a lop-sided soccer game. But essentially county and city officials encourage Section 8’ers to go to the desert, where they end up stuck , no work, no money, thus taxing services there.

              Metrolink to Lancaster/Palmdale is worst than the Red Line and Blue Line.

  7. Centennial is up in the mountains near the 138/5 interchange so it would at least have a more attractive setting than the outlet center area in most of your pictures. That said, yeah, if Palmdale is too far why would you want to be even further out? The San Berdu comparison is very unfair – to San Bernadino, which is WAY more central than this place is, by about an hour of driving. And while it’s nicer than the Central Valley I don’t think it’s nice enough to be a resort area like Lake Arrowhead so, like I’m guessing you do from your comparisons, I think this is going to be a big flop.

    1. The attractiveness of the residential subdivisions will be determined by the architecture and landscaping of the tracts. It’s cheaper to build on flat land so the prettier parts of the landscape with some topography will be for larger lot “estate” homes and nature preserves. The bulk of the housing and mini mixed use commercial centers will be in the flats and have partial views of the hills. But it’s all standard cookie cutter stucco boxes. Not terrible. But predictable.

      As for San Berdu being central… Compared to Tejon or Palmdale, absolutely. But it’s still a redheaded stepchild of Irvine. What we’re comparing is third, forth, and fifth outer rings. My point still stands. It makes more sense to move to another state where a second ring location costs less and is more appealing.

      1. Honestly, I think it’ll be a hub for Bakersfield’s upper-mid class, than lower middle class of LA.

        Yeah, it’s LA county, but Kern county residents are prime buyers for the location, commute wise.

  8. I’m not sure these places work that well for telecommuters or retirees. Working from home can leave you quite isolated and keen to get back to civilisation.

    I sometimes wonder if Americas vast landscape is a bit of a curse for you, it’s easy to take your environment for granted when there is so much of it. Countries in Europe like the Netherlands that are constrained by space seem to do quite well with their housing. Although having said that the UK is quite poor at it.

    1. “One of the reasons new developments are often of this massive scale is that smaller organizations tend to exsanguinate before they can get anything built – or die shortly after a project is completed.”

      Well that sent me to the dictionary, but once I looked up exsanguinate I love its use here.

      The economics of smaller, high density infill projects are often made infeasible because of inclusionary affordable requirements. Yeah, they might say build 12 apartments instead of 10 as the zoning allows, but two have to be affordables which are unprofitable to build, while the 10 that are market rate are now smaller and a bit less desirable than they otherwise might have been. Meanwhile the neighbors will fight tooth and nail to keep them out, and they do tend to have a depressing effect on neighboring home values.

      I question this notion that the millennials want to live in a denser, walkable environment. Certainly some do, as do some older folks. I like being able to walk into town myself. But as an older guy who’s kept working because I enjoy it, I do know a lot of millennials. I hear them complain about their cramped quarters, too many roommates, and inability to buy a house that they would actually want. I’ve even heard some say that they’ll never be able to live like me in California, and while I live comfortably it’s certainly not opulently. Many millennials are now hitting their mid 30s and all will be there in the next decade. I think that most of the ones that want families also want houses in areas with good schools. That’s the suburbs.

    2. The Dutch have the unique situation of living with one third of their territory underwater. Without continual maintenance of their dykes, pumps and such things go pear shaped very quickly. So that “land” is expensive and precious. Best to make it as productive and beautiful as possible.

      1. Even taking into account the Netherland’s land situation, it seems Europe (or maybe just western europe?) as a whole has a different attitude toward its housing and its cities.

        I mean, I mostly know France, where I lived for most of my life, and it doesn’t seem to have what Johnny described in his blog, rings of suburbs that becomes obsolete, big chunk of cities built from scratch (like what this article shows, centennial at tejon ranch), and cities that gains or lose vast chunks of population in very short amounts of time. From what I can see, it’s the same in other countries around France.

        The United States is pretty unique in how they build and treat their cities. I don’t know if it’s the environnement? I wonder why it’s that way, it’s an interesting question.

        1. I have a theory about why Americans build disposable places. We’re a nation of immigrants – a self-selecting population of people who left an old place in search of something new. It’s easier to leave a place we don’t like and invest something fresh.

          1. Plus, unlike other countries, the USA until recently could (sort of) afford to throw away the old to build the new. So our grand pseudo-mini-English country estate suburban experiment is fading. Another foolish status driven aspirational squandering of resources likely to bite the dust.

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