Residents of Castro Valley's Greenridge neighborhood, where Joseph Eichler built about 200 stylish homes in 1959 and 1960, are sitting on a much-desired asset, according to realtor and businesswoman Monique Lombardelli.
Lombardelli is a devotee of Joseph Eichler, the developer who built about 11,000 of these distinctive homes in California between 1949 and 1974.
No less a personage than former Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs has testified to the appeal of these living spaces, telling biographer Walter Isaacson that "his appreciation for Eichler homes instilled in him a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market."
Lombardelli has an online magazine dedicated to Eichler's unique style -- dramatic rooflines, extensive use of glass and exteriors that "invade" interiors.
Her most notable project so far has been the documentary she made about the Eichler homes, a production that was previewed on Patch.
Now Lombardelli wants to bring her fascination with Eichler homes to a new level by resurrecting his designs and making them compliant with current energy efficiency standards.
She told Patch she has struck a deal with the Eichler family -- Joseph Eichler passed away in 1974 -- to use his designs and the name.
Now she is hunting for land, builders and financing.
Lombardelli said she can get a one-acre lot in Portola Valley or Woodside for $1 million. She expects to subdivide and build so that she can sell several 3- and 4-bedroom homes for $1.2 million each.
The Peninsula is the center of Eichler-dom. There are 2,700 such homes in Palo Alto and another 1,100 in Sunnyvale. Walnut Creek has 400, Concord 150 and Oakland 50, Lombardelli said.
She expects no shortage of buyers.
"Everybody's sitting around waiting for Eichler's to become available," she said.
As for Castro Valley, Lombardelli estimates that local Eichlers are worth about $650,000, with multiple offers likely -- not as bullish as the housing boom days, perhaps, but a niche with a solid following.