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This new Business Tribune series explores master-planned subdivisions adding new housing in Portland-area suburbs.

COURTESY PHOTOS: COSTA PACIFIC COMMUNITIES - Villebois, a master-planned community in Wilsonville, offers a variety of housing styles from apartments, townhomes, condos and single-family homes.Villebois, French for "village near the woods," is a Wilsonville community inspired by traditional European villages. Initial development began in 2004 and continues with a new phase that is adding a trio of mixed-use buildings in the Village Center at the heart of the community.

When fully built out, Villebois will provide a total of 2,700 housing units.

Costa Pacific Communities began developing the initial phases in partnership with master architect and land developer Lee Iverson of Iverson Architects in Newport Beach, California Since then, a host of architects and builders has added to the community by following the design and construction specifications outlined in the original plans.

The next phase of the Villebois Community is to add 144 market-rate apartments over 2,460 square feet of retail space in the Village Center. The Village Center already features condominiums and row homes, ground-level retail and commercial space and a piazza. Construction on the mixed-use phase is expected to begin in the late fall or early spring, depending on the weather, according to Rudy Kadlub, Costa Pacific's CEO.

Another new addition consists of about 100 units in detached single-family homes along with attached homes on the development's north side. Taylor Morrison Northwest is developing the {obj:63968:housing}, as well as two parks. More information about Villebois is available at villebois.com.

New urbanism promotes walkability

Kadlub described Villebois as a "new urbanism" development that is pedestrian-oriented and deemphasizes automobile use. Residents have plenty of access to public transit, and 90 percent of the housing is designed so that garages are tucked behind the homes. This also allows for clear pedestrian walkways.

Homes range from single-family detached houses on small, medium, large and estate lots; townhomes and rowhomes; condominiums; and apartments, some of which are studios. The larger single-family homes have as many as five bedrooms or, for some residents, four bedrooms and a den.COURTESY PHOTOS: COSTA PACIFIC COMMUNITIES - Villebois, a master-planned community in Wilsonville, offers a variety of housing styles from apartments, townhomes, condos and single-family homes.

Costa Pacific led the team that built Orenco Station in Hillsboro in 1996, and Kadlub said the company was able to apply the experience gained during that 1,800-home development as it began its work on Villebois. It also gleaned information from an independent study in which an interviewer from Lewis & Clark College asked Orenco residents about their experiences.

"They said they were happier living there than where they were before, mainly because the way the housing is oriented makes it easy to get to know their neighbors," he said. "They also felt safer in Orenco Station because everyone kind of knew each other and they could recognize when there was a stranger around. There were more eyes on the street."

Several Orenco residents also reported feeling healthier because they walked to the local shops, grocery store and parks. In addition to deemphasizing auto use, sidewalks are set back from streets to encourage a greater sense of safety from passing vehicles.

"When we realized that what we had created there made people happier, feel safer and be healthier, we thought, 'Why would we ever create anything else besides that type of development?'" Kadlub said.

Like Orenco Station, Villebois was recognized as the Best Master-Planned Community in the U.S. by the National Association of Home Builders. They are the only two communities in Oregon to have received the designation, Kadlub noted.

Piazza, community center among amenities

Villebois was built on land owned by the former Oregon State Hospital, and the entire community is connected by more than 160 acres of trails, majestic old-growth trees and open green spaces, including parks and nature preserves.

Piazza Villebois, also European-inspired, is a hardscape park that features a bubbling fountain, two bocce ball courts, a children's maze and twinkle lights. Park benches invite residents to sit and enjoy the surroundings, and the piazza has hosted events such as a Root Beer Float and Bocce Ball Tournament as well as several concerts. COURTESY PHOTOS: COSTA PACIFIC COMMUNITIES - Villebois, a master-planned community in Wilsonville, offers a variety of housing styles from apartments, townhomes, condos and single-family homes.

Opportunities for families to connect are plentiful, with activities including a Fourth of July parade and barbecue, an Easter egg hunt, the Halloween "Villeboo," Christmas caroling, Girls Nights Out, Poker Night, a Villebois Book Club and Bunco groups.

The community also hosts the Wilsonville Farmer's Market at Sofia Park. With more than 45 vendors, the farmer's market offers food carts, cooking demonstrations, live music and special events every Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. June through September.

Completed in May 2013, the Villebois Community Center houses a gym room, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a community/game room with a kitchen and bar and two conference rooms.

Major players at Villebois

  • Arbor Homes
  • Costa Pacific Communities
  • Legend Homes
  • Lennar
  • Polygon Northwest Homes
  • Taylor Morrison Northwest

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