Construction Commences on 12 Neighborhoods at Esencia – the New Hillside Village on Rancho Mission Viejo

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Eight builders selected for first collection of Esencia's ultimate 2,700 homes; grand opening slated for Fall 2015

Esencia is a hillside village offering both coastal and backcountry views. The grand opening is slated for Fall 2015.

Construction is now underway on the first collection of 12 neighborhoods slated to open for home sales this Fall at Esencia, the second village on the inter-generational, mixed-use community of Rancho Mission Viejo, according to Anthony R. Moiso, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC.

Noted as the largest new planned community in California, Ranch Mission Viejo is envisioned to ultimately provide approximately 14,000 homes (including up to 6,000 homes in “Gavilan” neighborhoods, exclusive to residents age 55-plus). In addition, The Ranch is expected to include up to five million square feet of non-residential uses as well as sites for schools, parks and recreational facilities, essential services and a network of trails and roadways linking the multiple villages planned for The Ranch.

At build-out, the villages on Rancho Mission Viejo will occupy approximately 6,000 acres or 25% of the historic 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo, Orange County’s last working ranch which has been held in the O’Neill/Avery/ Moiso family since 1882. About 17,000 acres, or 75% of the family’s ranch, will be preserved for ranching, farming and the phased formation of a large habitat conservation area known as The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.    

“Propelled by the sales success of Sendero (our first village on The Ranch), our partners and all of us at Ranch Headquarters are very pleased to now be under construction at Esencia,” said Moiso. “As we prepare for Esencia’s public debut this Fall, we recognize that the blessings of landownership are matched by our obligation to be a good neighbor and responsible contributors to the community. This culture of care has been at the heart of every community we’ve created. It’s evident at Sendero where clubs are forming, events and festivities are being conducted all year round, and residents of nearly every age and life stage are interacting to create a new sense of community on The Ranch. All of this will soon be on display at Esencia.”

Esencia (Spanish translation: “the essence”) encompasses approximately 890 acres along some of the highest elevations of The Ranch. The neighborhoods of Esencia will be terraced into west-facing hillsides, affording both coastal views and backcountry panoramas. Planned to be built in phases, the village of Esencia is expected to ultimately include approximately 2,700 attached and detached homes within about 35 distinctive neighborhoods, including up to a dozen non-gated Gavilan neighborhoods of primarily single-level homes for residents age 55-plus. In addition, between 250 and 500 apartment homes are planned for Esencia.

The highlight of Esencia will be such signature recreational and community-gathering amenities as the view-oriented Hilltop Club clubhouse with fitness center, swimming pool, spa, arcade, bar and lounge, and expansive event lawn. Temporarily serving as the Esencia Visitors Center will be The Canyon House with a coffee house, meeting and event rooms, a catering kitchen, an activity lawn, and a large open air courtyard overlooking an oak-filled canyon with hiking trails and scenic look-outs. Plus, preparing to start cultivation soon is Esencia Farm, a small farm with a variety of in-ground row crops and fruit trees, raised planner beds, a harvest/preparation barn, chicken coop, and greenhouse.

Also planned for Esencia are a series of “bothies” or open air rooms and retreats located along the rim and throughout Esencia. The bothies are planned to offer such amenities as tent cabins, fireplaces and fire pits, barbeque grills and outdoor dining areas, bocce ball courts, small event and intimate gathering places, and so much more. In addition, Esencia is envisioned to feature a sports park with multiple athletic fields, a community plunge with community pool, children’s splash park, and multi-use courts for tennis and pickleball as well as a dog park with dog watering and washing stations.

Slated to also be included at Esencia is a new K-8 school campus (part of the Capistrano Unified School District) and an adjacent community park. Approximately 50 acres of commercial space has been allocated at Esencia for such uses as retail shops and services, restaurants, professional and medical offices, and more. And, winding throughout Esencia will be miles of Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) trails as well as hiking/biking trails accessing the special spots of Esencia and linked to the adjoining regional hiking and biking trails network.

The homebuilders selected for Esencia’s first collection of 12 neighborhoods (offering a total of 840 homes) including Meritage Homes, Ryland Homes, Shea Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, TRI Pointe Homes, Warmington Homes, William Lyon Homes, and Western National Group will be building Esencia’s first apartment neighborhoods.    

Access to Esencia will be provided along the extension of Cow Camp Road, located northeast of the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway/La Pata Road in the unincorporated area of South Orange County. Rancho Mission Viejo and the new village of Esencia are located just 2.5 miles from downtown San Juan Capistrano and five miles from the coastal attractions of San Clemente and Dana Point Harbor. Esencia will offer easy access to the employment and retail centers of Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, and other Orange County locales.

Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC is a privately held, family-owned and -operated company responsible for the ranching, farming, planning, development, and financial management of the remaining 23,000 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo, situated in unincorporated South Orange County, CA. Since 1882, members of the O’Neill/Avery/Moiso family have owned and managed The Ranch which once exceeded 200,000 acres and now includes the family-developed cities and communities of Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita as well as such important places as Caspers Wilderness Regional Park, the Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary, O’Neill Regional Park and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

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Diane Gaynor
Roni Hicks & Associates
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