Visionary Shasta County real estate developer Frank Nichols

I shared a beer with with longtime local real estate developer Frank Nichols yesterday evening. Frank was instrumental in creating two extraordinary local developments, Shasta Forest Village, and the active adult community, The Vineyard in Redding.
The Vineyards in Redding CaliforniaWith Shasta Forest Village in Shingletown, Frank explained he had been building rural on properties scattered across the county for mostly urban buyers unfamiliar with the requirements for water wells and other utilities. He reasoned that if he could cluster some rural lots with paved roads, underground utilities, and a community water system, he could fulfill an unmet demand. From that vision, the innovative Shasta Forest Village was born in the early 1970s, and remains a popular development even today.

Then, Frank envisioned an active adult community that offered residents gated security, a social clubhouse, and a beautiful setting with good access to city amenities. Frank undertook the devilishly complex 208 home project that became The Vineyard. That housing development has gone on to exceed all expectations for quality of life. Homes there are in high demand. Residents truly love living there.

These days Frank is quite busy refurbishing and reselling existing homes in need of repair. But he allowed as he would rather be building a more ambitious project. We both ruefully agreed that the current economic environment would make a new large, visionary project problematic in our region. But I asked what he might build, if things were different. He described a 4 story condo project for active adults. “As long as it had a view of the river, it would be fabulously successful.” I have to agree.

River condo project in Redding

A multistory building along the Sacramento River

Redding has generally been resistant to taller buildings along the river. I understand the feeling. I wonder though, considering the sprawl we otherwise encourage, if this the wisest course. I do hear much demand from buyers, especially those boomers approaching retirement, who want a secure home, in a walkable neighborhood that provides for social interaction at will. Participate socially, or not, without inviting guests to your home for a party from which they’ll have to drive home. The multi-story residential unit on the river sounds better all the time.

Thanks for the beer, Frank. And thanks for being a visionary with the proven chops to make stuff happen. To take it from vision to reality. That’s Really Redding.

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