by Robert Cox, Vice Chair, OMVNA
“They found a skull on the property,” Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak whispered to me, as he broke the latest news about the re-development of the Abate’s Industrial Square on the southwest corner of West Evelyn and Calderon Avenues. “What will Scott have to deal with next? Re-development on the site has been halted pending an investigation!”
Those of us living in the vicinity of the project were right in the middle of a block party celebrating the construction of the 65 new homes. This is the first major project by Classic Communities in the Old Mountain View neighborhood since the construction of Minton and Front Lanes in 1997. The developer, Scott Ward, graciously agreed to an interview at his office later that week.
By the time of the interview, all of the issues were resolved. The skull had been found under the basement of the Abate home. The police investigated, but there was no evidence of criminal activity. As there was a reasonable possibility that it could have been a native American Indian skull, a representative of the Ohlone tribe was contacted. Further digging around the site lead to the discovery of a few additional bones into which holes had been drilled. “It was most likely a skeleton used for lessons on human anatomy,” Mr. Ward concluded. “Still, we paid a fee for the proper burial of the remains, and will be mindful of what we have found as we excavate the rest of the property.”
“What does the development schedule look like now?” I asked. “We’ll start with grading and utilities work this winter. The foundations will be laid by March of next year. By September, the first of 14 model homes, including one of the 5-unit townhome complexes, will be open for viewing.”
I then asked about the Fortes property at 365 Villa Street, recently purchased by Classic Communities. “We will be going to the city with a proposal for small lot single family homes in the later part of November. We’ve already taken the soil and groundwater samples.” Mr. Ward continued, “Expect two story cottage homes similar to the arts and crafts style being developed on the Abate property. We’re looking to provide a pleasing transition between Houghton Street and the Abate development.”
In conclusion, I asked Mr. Ward if he was concerned about the recent slump in the housing market. “Old Mountain View is a great neighborhood,” he replied. “With proximity to the transit station and Castro Street, I’m sure there will be a strong demand for these homes.”