A Selma farming family with a decades-old vision to create a master-planned community that would nearly double the city’s size has laid out the groundwork for the massive project.
The specific plan and the environmental impact report, or building guidelines, for the Serimian family’s 680-acre Amberwood development on the eastern edge of Selma were approved by the city late last year. The family is now looking for a developer or investor to buy the property and start building – a process that could start in as little as nine months.
The starting price is $61.2 million, but is negotiable.
“The timing is now right,” said David Serimian, whose father, Don, and uncle Lionel first envisioned in the 1980s and 1990s the potential for a residential project on their farmland.
“A lot of development is starting to heat up in the Valley, and we feel that the next 20 years will see a lot of growth in the area,” Serimian said.
A lot of development is starting to heat up in the Valley, and we feel that the next 20 years will see a lot of growth in the area.
Selma already is making plans to build more shopping, a new park, new auto dealership and a hotel west of Highway 99. And the hope is that high-speed rail will draw more residents to the area. Selma is about 15 miles from Fresno’s proposed high-speed rail station.
The projects would complement Amberwood, a mixed-use residential and commercial development east of Orange Avenue, primarily between Dinuba and Floral avenues, said Ron Swim, associate with Marcus & Millichap, a national commercial real estate brokerage firm with an office in Fresno. Swim is marketing the property.
Amberwood “provides an alternative for families looking for a small-town feel,” Swim said.
Plans for the community first surfaced in 2005 when Morgan Hill developer Wellington Corp. of Northern California approached the Serimians to develop the land. “They thought the property was unique in that it was a large contiguous-owner piece,” Serimian said.
When the housing market imploded during the recession, Wellington pulled the plug and the company later folded. The project stalled until the Serimians decided to move forward with the plans themselves.
Amberwood, which Serimian compared to Harlan Ranch in Clovis, is expected to have 2,558 homes and draw 7,700 residents to the city. Another 131,200 square feet of commercial space, some with second-floor apartments, is planned.
Amberwood is expected to have 2,558 homes and draw in 7,700 residents.
About 100 acres of land is dedicated to community use and green space. An existing packing house will be converted into a community center with a 41-acre linear park running the length of the project, replacing Del Rey Avenue. An elementary school and a community park will also be built.
“We like the fact that it is a special cohesive community,” said Serimian, whose family has farmed east of Selma for more than 50 years. “It’s not just a block of homes … it’s a modern plan. It has a lot of linear green spaces to allow more access for people walking the dog.”
California Water Service Co. will provide water for the development.
The land is currently a mix of empty lots, acres of table and raisin grapes and nectarines. The property can operate as a farming business such as almonds, which could yield a 7 percent investment for an investor while the development is built out, Serimian said.
Amberwood is expected to be constructed in phases over 25 years. When complete, it will be the largest single development in the city’s history. Selma currently has more than 7,000 homes, said City Manager Ken Grey.
I think the community is really proud of the fact that one of their own is the lead in this project.
Ken Grey, Selma city manager
“It’s significant growth to the community,” Grey said, “something in the magnitude of a 40 percent increase in the size of the city. We’ve been putting the infrastructure together to provide for the growth.”
The next step in the development process is to complete the tentative map and annex the property into the city.
“I think the community is really proud of the fact that one of their own is the lead in this project,” Grey said. “The Serimian family has been longtime agricultural supporters here. ... We’re proud of them leading the way on how this develops out.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the sales price of the land.