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Ceres 40-home housing development abandoned, left in limbo

Ceres development left unfinished, abandoned for two years
Ceres development left unfinished, abandoned for two years 02:36

CERES — With California's housing needs already sky-high, one Stanislaus County city is facing challenges when trying to build more homes.

A 40-home neighborhood in Ceres has sat empty and abandoned for almost two years now.

The developer that started pulled out about a month ago, but one city councilwoman, Rosalinda Vierra, in charge of the district said there hasn't been activity on the lot for over a year.

"We need to do something and get someone to finish the homes or redo the homes that have been vacant for three years," Vierra said.

Councilwoman Vierra has served District 2 for almost two years now. She said the Tuscany Village housing development on Whitmore Avenue is an eyesore.

"It's coming down to the funding," she said. "The bank pulled the loans so the developer wasn't able to retrieve the loans."

That developer, CBS13 learned, is CEC Homes. Vierra said that CEC Homes slowly moved away from the project about a year ago before completely abandoning it.

"The builder lost construction and the contractor lost, so that's when we started seeing squatters and other activities," she said.

She said homeless people took advantage by breaking in and living inside the homes. Empty shampoo bottles and clothes are still there from their stay.

Copper wire was stripped from homes and water heaters installed by the developer were gone.

"And that's when I finally said enough," Vierra said.

Vierra took her concerns to code enforcement, and they showed up earlier this May to clear the village.

"Time for change. Like, this isn't acceptable. We need to provide options," she said.

Options for the village are running short. Without an investor, the 40 lots sit empty, and the ones with homes are unfinished.

"That's 90% of the work. The rest is just building the home," Vierra said. "It's just a matter of getting someone who wants to do the last final steps."

We also reached out to code enforcement, but they were not available for comment before this story was published.

In what could be a bright spot, right after we finished our interview with Vierra, she said she got a call from a potential investor.

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