By Neil Nisperos Staff Writer
Created: 07/21/2011 05:31:24 PM PDT

CHINO – In the face of the development slump of the past few years, city officials expressed renewed hope with the expected arrival of a new 52-acre luxury apartment project by the Upland-based Lewis Group of Companies at The Preserve.

The Homecoming rental development is expected to open sometime in 2012 and will consist of about 800 multi-family units. The project is bounded by Pine Avenue, Hellman Avenue, Market Street, and East Preserve Loop.

“We are excited to bring Homecoming to Chino,” said Randall Lewis, principal and executive vice president of the Lewis Group of Companies. “It represents one of the finest rental developments ever built in the Inland Empire.”

Residential development in Chino has come to a virtual standstill in recent years, but Mayor Dennis Yates said there has been renewed interest by developers in master-planned communities The Preserve and College Park, both in the southeastern part of the city.

Similar Homecoming apartment complexes by Lewis have already opened in Rancho Cucamonga, Eastvale and Sacramento. The developments feature “resort-style” living, with a community garden, 24-hour gym and fitness classes, a junior Olympic pool, a pet park and a clubhouse, among other upscale amenities.

“When my family come and visit, they feel like they’re in a high-end resort,” said Aaron Van Leeuwen, a firefighter in Sierra Madre who has lived at the Homecoming at Terra Vista complex in Rancho Cucamonga for a year and a half.

Total developer fees are still being calculated, but city officials estimate about $1.6 million in building-related fees and about $16 million in development impact fees going to city coffers.

“Hopefully it’s a sign that development is kicking back up, and of course the development impact fees are huge for any city,” Yates said.

Despite the hope for renewed development momentum here, a recent economic study from UCLA suggests there won’t be a major rebound in single-family home construction any time soon, because of the growing dominance of a younger population that prefers urban-style apartment and condo living.

Inland California will see years of slower growth as it adjusts to a residential construction industry that’s bound to stay small for the foreseeable future, according to the quarterly Anderson Forecast released last month.

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