A centerpiece of Moorpark’s current downtown will soon be revitalized with a new development project rarely seen in California.

On Wednesday, the city of Moorpark announced that work had officially begun on a much-anticipated development project at the city’s High Street Depot, which will replace an existing structure with a 79-apartment mixed-use community.

Mixed-use development is what it sounds like: property that has been developed with multiple functions in mind, usually housing and retail.

In the case of the new High Street Depot project, the 79 housing units will rest atop and within 15,000-square-feet of ground floor retail space.

A rendering of the High Street Depot mixed-use development project in Moorpark. (City of Moorpark/Daly Group)
A rendering of the High Street Depot mixed-use development project in Moorpark. (City of Moorpark/Daly Group)

The new apartments will not only put residents within feet of shopping and restaurants, it will also put them right next to a public transportation hub.

The Moorpark Metrolink Station directly adjacent to the development remains active with both Amtrak and Metrolink service. The city also recently expanded the station’s parking lot and landscaping and added electric vehicle charging stations.

High Street essentially functions as the town’s main street, and as elected officials look to propel the city forward, much thought was given toward revitalizing the area and addressing the needs of the community.

The city developed Moorpark’s Downtown Specific Plan, which paved the way for mixed-use zoning in the historic downtown neighborhood. Without those changes, the High Street Depot project would not happen.

The city has also proposed changes to its general plan which could pave the way for more mixed-use development throughout the city. The approval process for those changes will be debated and voted on in the coming months, city officials told KTLA.

“From the feedback the City has received, it comes down to lifestyle choice and providing housing options,” Doug Spondello, Deputy Community Development Director said. “Moorpark is predominantly made up of single-family homes, and having multi-family housing close to or on top of shopping, entertainment, and transit options is attractive to many people.”

Spondello said that, despite the perception that only young people might want to live in mixed use developments, the city’s outreach efforts showed that “many older residents are also interested in downsizing to this type of housing, which isn’t available elsewhere in Moorpark.”

The site of the High Street Depot has been Moorpark’s train hub for more than 100 years. The original depot building burned down in 1909 and a replacement was built the following year before it was demolished in 1964. The granary building, which will make way for the development, was built in the late 1970s.

The city council approved plans to redevelop the area in fall 2020.

Ventura County-based real estate development company Daly Group purchased the land and is developing it. The company says its mission is to “seek out opportunities for housing and mixed use in dense, urban areas.”

Daly Group has several other properties in Ventura County, including in Ventura, Oxnard and Thousand Oaks.

The timeline for when the existing granary building will be taken down is fluid, officials said, as the developers will need to abate the asbestos in the structure and the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District will have to OK the demolition.

Right now, construction equipment is on site, brush is being cleared and fencing is going up, signalling the future of Moorpark’s downtown is on the horizon.