This year is a year of significant milestones for Paradise Valley Estates. Not only does 2022 mark the 25th anniversary of the Fairfield senior community, it will also mark the first full year of its new neighborhood, The Ridge.
A grand opening ceremony was held on Thursday for the new 8-acre neighborhood consisting of 70 contemporary cottages, villas and penthouses as well as a host of amenities. The Ridge has been open to residents since November, and they have access to two restaurants, a reading room, a learning center, a fire pit, an outdoor fitness area, an art studio, and even a small thrift store.
Kevin Burke, CEO of Paradise Valley Estates, was thrilled with the opening.
“It’s been wonderful,” he said. “It’s probably been a decade of planning from when we initially secured the land to purchase, and design and construction obviously takes time. More importantly, this is about designing a community specifically for seniors.
Paradise Valley Estates was founded in 1997 by a non-profit organization of retired military officers. In 2010, the organization purchased the property, and a design concept for The Ridge was developed in 2015. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in the spring of 2019.
Sales coordinator Patti Luccioni said construction slowed somewhat during the COVID-19 pandemic but never stopped.
“It required the contractor to work with smaller teams and space out their hours more to meet needs,” she said.
Construction was completed in 2021 and residents began moving in at the end of September. First-person entry fees range from $237,000 to $625,000, depending on accommodation type, and first-person monthly service fees range from $3,677 to $6,773 thereafter.
Rick Preuss was the first resident to move in. He left Dublin after determining that The Ridge had the best value for money of all the places he visited. It was also sold by its access to high quality health care and floor plans.
“I fell in love with my unit and was on the waiting list for four years, waiting for them to be done,” he said.
Preuss is very impressed with the general friendliness of staff and residents.
“People are looking you in the eye here,” he said. “When I interviewed at other locations, I found that residents – if you ever met a resident – if you passed them in the hallway, they wouldn’t look you in the eye. Residents here have a brighter, friendlier appearance. They are much more engaged.
Preuss’ house has three doors that open onto the back patio, allowing him to move from room to room and onto the patio, where he has a great view of the hills and frequently hears Birdsong.
“You can walk out the door, you feel your stress melt away as soon as you step out of your house onto the patio and listen to the birds sing,” he said. “This is the most beautiful house I have ever lived in.”
Luccioni conducted an exclusive media tour of the new expansion. One of the two new restaurants is The Oak Room, a fine-dining restaurant with table service, full-service bar, pizza oven, outdoor dining area with heat lamps and views of the Paradise Valley golf course and a menu that changes every six to eight weeks with a range of starters, main courses, salads and a dish of the day.
The Oak Room is named after the oak trees surrounding the building, which Luccioni says are between 300 and 400 years old and are meant to be preserved.
The art studio provides space for residents to do crafts and scrapbooking as well as take classes, some of which are taught by Paradise Valley residents. A feature is a set of windows bringing in natural light.
“It’s important because you look at colors,” Luccioni said.
The thrift store has a variety of donated items for sale, such as jewelry, lamps, vases, tableware, shirts, and paintings.
The Reading Room provides a quiet space for residents to read books or magazines, pick up their mail, and view one of the digital notice boards listing announcements, daily menu items, and new residents. The room has a cozy living room aesthetic, featuring a fiberglass hare named Flora that was designed by Jeri Arata for the Vacaville Museum’s “Jack is Back” contest.
The second restaurant, Creekside Cafe, offers more casual fare for breakfast and lunch and also offers indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast items include cereal, oatmeal, bagels, fruit, and daily specials such as banana nut pancakes, cookies and gravy, waffles, omelettes, and avocado toast. Lunch dishes include sandwiches, fish fillets, fries and salads.
There’s also a natural creek walking area, which Luccioni says will help control water during storms. The area also has a fire pit, which has been popular in the colder months, and space for outdoor fitness and tai chi classes.
The units themselves use a contemporary design with vaulted ceilings, solid surface countertops, and stainless steel appliances. Rooms also have emergency call cords to notify emergency services.
The ceremony was the celebration of the completion of a project several years in the making. Fairfield High School ROTC students performed a color guard routine, Fairfield Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro read a proclamation, and Lois Cross Rep. John Garamendi’s office presented a commendation on behalf of of the member of Congress.
Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said celebrating the expansion of Paradise Valley Estates was “truly a remarkable day” for the town.
“This vision that became reality 25 years ago continues to make Fairfield a more desirable place to live, play and enjoy life,” he said. “You couldn’t choose a better location, especially for those of you who have retired from the military.”
Sean Quinn, chairman of Paradise Valley’s board of directors, said it was a long process.
“You (residents) have been through a lot in the past two years: construction here, the COVID pandemic, all the impacts, and you’ve been real soldiers,” he said. “I salute you and thank you for all you have done.”
Jan Heise from the Residents’ Council issued a challenge to all residents.
“Now we have extra space and we have to use it,” she said. “If there’s a time when Residents need to stand up and say, ‘Hey, how can I help feel every human in PVE,’ now is the time.”
Don Campbell, also a Residents’ Council member, said that in 2020 residents wanted to recognize the impacts of the pandemic, so they decided to do a time capsule. They collected 60 pounds of material and buried the capsule outside the Learning Center, a building intended for meetings and small gatherings. The capsule is expected to be opened in July 2051.
“I would like to invite you all to join me for this opening,” he said with lots of laughter.
Because The Ridge is surrounded by the Vacaville Open Space Preserve, Paradise Valley Estates presented a check for $5,000 to Nicole Braddock, Executive Director of Solano Land Trust, to ensure that the surrounding area will continue to be preserved. Each villa, cottage and penthouse already has outdoor living spaces to “savor the protected views of the hills”, according to a press release.
After the ceremony, attendees enjoyed cakes and drinks as well as ruben balls and green deviled eggs at the Creekside Cafe in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
For more information, visit Pvestates.com/live-here/expansion/.