by Randal Beeman
[Note: The author owns a home and lives at the Cannery]
Is it occupied? Are they condos? Can I rent there? For residents of the Cannery condo development in downtown Ventura these questions accompany the acknowledgement that you indeed live in the 78- unit collection of studio to three bedroom condos.
Conceived several years ago and a survivor of economic downturns and other challenges, the Cannery has now reached 75% occupancy, which triggers a turnover of managing the complex from the developer to the tenant owned housing association, an event set for some time in late-Spring.
The Breeze recently sat for an interview with Kirby Ram, the Sales Manager, to discuss the significance of high density infill projects like the Cannery, which got its name from the former lima bean cannery that existed on the site before developers began to clear the area several years back.
When asked if she had taken any criticism for “gentrifying” the area at the edge of downtown on Ventura Avenue, Ram suggested that while some people are uncomfortable with change, the revival of Downtown Ventura in recent years is partially contingent on the influx of new residents to the area.
am, a UCLA graduate in her early 30s, has worked on several real estate projects in Southern California and she is excited about seeing older neighborhoods re-bloom with developments like the Cannery. “Look at Venice 10 or 15 years ago” Ram stated, “very few people could see that it would become an upscale enclave of galleries and eateries…we believe Downtown Ventura is undergoing a similar upsurge.” While the condos were initially conceived as a remedy for Ventura’s limited housing inventory, Ram has been surprised that many of the buyers come from the inland regions of Southern California.
Several of the units still left unsold were set aside as part of the city’s “inclusionary housing” program for those residents who meet the guidelines for subsidized housing. Some of the market rate units have been purchased by retirees and young professionals, while others have been bought by investors as rental units or for summer or weekend second homes. Additionally, dedicated retail space was also part of the city’s requirements for the developer, though no companies have yet to sign a lease for the retail units available on Ventura Avenue.
The Cannery is the third condo development in the downtown area in recent years, with several more either slated for construction or in the planning process. With some of the lowest prices in the coastal region in a tight real estate market, Ram expects the remainder of the Cannery’s units to sell in the near future. Downtown Ventura continues to change and grow, and the addition of new residents will bolster the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Downtown Ventura.