Enloe’s good deal

We applaud the sale of Enloe Medical System’s 250 acres of prime-growth property along Bruce Road to developer Tom DiGiovanni’s company, Heritage Partners, for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, since that land is slated for residential growth, it couldn’t have fallen into more capable hands, at least that we know of. With his 20-acre Doe Mill Neighborhood development, DiGiovanni has shown that he is an innovative and creative builder willing to step beyond the conventional and static housing-tract mentality and offer something better, something that meets the spirit of Chico’s much praised (and battered) General Plan.

Unlike many local developers, DiGiovanni and his partner John Anderson understand the need for higher densities and housing features that transcend simple supply-and-demand economics. They do not fear porches and alleys, granny units and hidden garages. They build neighborhoods, not just row upon row of cookie-cutter houses.

And local developers are almost always preferable to out-of-towners who don’t have to live with the results of their efforts.

The purchase also removes the property from Enloe’s nonprofit protection and puts it back on the tax rolls after 20 years. Enloe once had plans to build a second hospital at the site but scrapped those 10 years ago because of rising medical costs. The fact it bought out its only competition, Community Hospital, made a second hospital less economically attractive for Enloe. And, though the town could use a second hospital, it does not need two owned by the same entity.

We can only hope that neighboring landowners with plans one day to develop on the other side of Bruce Road, near the old Humboldt Burn Dump, will take a page from Heritage Partners’ innovative style of development.