Tesoro Viejo development moving forward

After several years of planning, developers are expected to break ground in 2016 for the Tesoro Viejo master-planned community in southeastern Madera County.

The McCaffrey Group of Fresno and Lyles United are the developers of the 1,600 acre project, located east of Highway 41, three miles north of Ave. 12.

The project has cleared many hurdles, including a lawsuit by the Madera Oversight Coalition, which caused a judge to order a revised Environmental Impact Report in 2008 for the 5,200 homes that will be built in seven unique villages. The developer and the county had to provide additional technical analysis and mitigation measures in the EIR for roads, traffic and water.

In November, 2012, the Madera County Board of Supervisors re-approved the project after a revised EIR was completed.

Residents of Madera Ranchos, about 10 miles away, have voiced concerns over water for the development, since the depletion of the water table in the Valley and the current drought conditions.

The project proposes a mixed-use development consisting of 5,200 dwelling units, three million square feet of commercial, retail, office and light industrial uses (restaurants, hotels, medical offices) along with 350 acres of open space and recreational areas including 15 miles of nature trails, and neighborhood parks. About 60 acres has been designated for schools.

Plans call for seven unique walkable villages with a variety of housing choices ranging from courtyard-living designs to expansive ranch-style hillside estates.

Translated from Spanish to mean “old treasure”- Tesoro Viejo will will also include about 400 acres of natural open spaces and parks, as well as a recreational clubhouse, elementary school, community medical pavilion, and neighborhood fitness areas.

There will be 850 homes in the first of seven villages with the initial occupancy targeted for 2017. Full project build-out, with a population close to 16,000, has been estimated for 2030.

“Tesoro Viejo will be on breathtaking site of about 1,600 acres of gently rolling hills and vistas,” said Robert McCaffrey, CEO of the McCraffey Group Group, in a prepared statement. “The community will be situated at the foot of Little Table Mountain and has been thoughtfully designed to capture its scenic surroundings, offering residents views of the sloping hillsides and the dramatic Sierra foothills. We feel fortunate to have acquired such a beautiful piece of land.”

“Tesoro Viejo will be a very special place, unlike any other community in the Central San Joaquin Valley,” McCraffey said. “We have worked hard with the staff and leaders of Madera County to retain the best qualities of the land in terms of natural beauty, sustainable planning and agricultural values.”

McCaffrey said Tesoro Viejo will be a model of innovative design, and will be a vibrant hub for southeastern Madera County with housing and business opportunities, a walkable town center, green living, thriving industry and neighborhood parks, an elementary school, medical facilities, and more than 15 miles of scenic nature trails.

County support

A big supporter of the project has been Bobby Kahn, executive director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission. Kahn feels the project will give Madera County the opportunity to be the home of a planned community that will be the envy of the Central Valley.

“This project will not only create construction jobs but will also be developing three million square feet of commercial and industrial space that will create about 7,000 permanent jobs,” Kahn said. “This project is a positive game changer for Madera County and the entire region. The McCaffrey Group is a great development company with the upmost integrity.”

After the project was approved for the second time by supervisors, District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler said Robert McCraffry is willing to put up the cost of making Highway 41 four lanes from Ave. 12 to Ave. 15 before any building starts on the project.

“No one has ever done that in Madera County,” Wheeler said. “At build out, this new community will provide many jobs and will generate millions of dollars in in property and sales tax forever. The project will create a place for people to live and work and will mean more children for our schools that have all experienced declining enrollments the past few years. This development getting to this point has been a long process. It will be a big economic boom for Madera County.”

County Supervisor Max Rodriguez called the project a first-class project “we can all be proud of.”

“Not only will it offer homebuyers a quality home built by leaders in the industry, it will also remedy the housing needs throughout Madera County, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation,” Rodriguez said.

The only residential project approved by the county larger than Tesoro Viejo is Gateway Village off Highway 41 at Ave. 12. That project, consisting of 6,500 homes on more than 6,000 acres, was approved by supervisors in 2006 after settling a law suit with the Madera Oversight Coalition. Initial earthwork is underway at the site.

The project was unanimously approved by the Madera County Planning Commission on Sept. 9. There were no challenges to the planning commission’s recent approval, eliminating the need for the project to go before the supervisors again.

The family-owned McCaffrey Group has specialized in land development, residential construction, mortgage brokerage and farming for three generations, and have built more than 8,000 award-winning homes.

Details: Visit Tesoro Viejo at