Two lots remain in Hooper’s Paradise development
In 2005, Real estate developer John Hooper bought 30 acres of creekside real estate in Paradise. The property used to house fishing cabins and a roadside restaurant.
He ultimately gained approval for a 12-unit project, with six units above the road and six below.
Hooper started by building his own residence and then renovating the restaurant into a home.
As Hooper said, “Once I started building, and people could see the quality … the lots went immediately.” As it’s the only subdivision on Rock Creek, Hooper said people were drawn to the unique nature of the property … and the favorable weather.
“It’s a nice, little, controlled, upper-end project,” he summarized. “And all the buyers have been local.”
Wife Tammy said most buyers have been those looking to remain in the area but move down out of the snow, many with a desire to plant gardens and perhaps raise some livestock.
There are two available lots left. One in the low $300s which is down canyon and features a spectacular view of Mount Tom, and one in the upper $300s which sits along Lower Rock Creek.
However, all lots (save one, bought by a builder) have also been developed with Hooper serving as designer/builder. All in, these home sites will go for somewhere in the $700,000 range, higher or lower depending on site and home design.
The Creekhouse (old restaurant) property is still for sale. It is an incredibly unique property, given that part of the home is built over Rock Creek. Sales price = $995,000.
Essentially, it’s been a 10-year process. “In Mono County, to be a developer, you have to be a patient man,” said Hooper. But he believes the patience has paid off.
The hiking/biking trail through the property has been well-received, and the parking area, picnic table, restroom have been popular.
In regard to the economy in general, Hooper said: “We’re definitely on an upswing … and we’ve been down so long that it’s all demand and no supply, particularly for new homes. We haven’t seen a spec home [around here] in four to five years.”
Hooper has been building in Mono County since 1970. He grew up in San Diego, but moved here for the mountains. Unlike many folks who get caught up and distracted and perhaps waver in their appreciation for the mountains, Hooper never has. An avid hiker, he was the 70th person to complete the “Sierra Club Sierra Peak” list, a list that was first published in 1952. “It doesn’t sound like a lot , but some of those peaks are way back there and take days to get to … but it gets you into places you might not normally get to … and a lot of them have west side access.”
Hooper is also very fond of the Desert Peaks and is halfway through the Great Basin peak list.
Developer Matthew Lehman owns the 50 acres abutting Hooper’s property to the east and including the hillside above.
Though Lehman’s tentative tract map allows for 55 home sites, he plans to downsize that number to 23 and increase his lots from a planned 1/3 to 1/2 acre to 1 and 1/2 to 2 acres.
The popularity of Hooper’s project, said Lehman, demonstrates a need. What is selling, he said, is quality. “I’m guessing the prices would be comparable,” he added.
The reduction of the planned number of units, said Lehman, reflects a change in the marketplace.