Redding's Shiloh Park
By Jordan Venema
By Jordan Venema
Renderings by Ryan Russell
Photos by Ali Michelle
Imagine you didn’t just know your neighbors, but they were also your friends. If you could design a neighborhood more centered on community, with larger porches and parks, and less centered on garages and fences, would you? Putting the question to themselves, that’s exactly what Rebekah and Joshua Johnson decided to do.
Originally from Riverside and Canada respectively, the husband and wife had been living in Ohio where “we had this epiphany of the value of neighbors and interconnected neighborhoods, and the benefit of that lifestyle and what that brought our family,” says Joshua.
“The west was always in our sights,” he continues, “and Redding seemed like a great place to explore this concept of bringing back the human elements to developments.” In short, says Joshua, “we moved to Redding for Redding.”
The Johnsons didn’t want to create just another hit-and-run development that maximized profit, and they had walked away from six other projects before discovering an urban infill in south Redding alongside South Market Street and Girvan Road.
“Everyone told me south Redding wasn’t the desirable place to live,” says Joshua, who soon became attracted to the diversity of that neighborhood. “Really, the only place Redding can develop is south, and I think there’s a revitalization that’s important to our city in that area.”
The Johnsons broke ground for the 21-home pocket community, Shiloh Park Neighborhood, in April, and expect homes will be ready as soon as January. According to Joshua, between eight and 10 homes already have sold, with 11 still remaining.
According to the Johnsons, the homes will share characteristics from both farmhouse and modern designs, such as short yards with large porches and interiors with contemporary, clean edges. The layout of the neighborhood will also maximize community spaces with more intermittent parks.
“We like the timeless feel as well as the modern,” says Rebekah. “We definitely came from an area where there was intentional layout,” a kind of leave-it-to-Beaver neighborhood, she says. “So we want to bring that farmhouse style, with big lazy front porches, but in a modern way.”
The community will include three acres of common space for gardens, a common house, pool and trails that go around the edge of the property. “This isn’t just a park with a playground and bench,” says Joshua.
“I come from a software background,” continues Joshua, who designed user interfaces for mobile apps for 12 years. “Technology is going to keep advancing and moving forward and we have to expand the idea of what a neighbor is – we already have. But on the flipside, what we need as humans is to have a strong face of community as well, where friends can grow organically.”
“This is something we haven’t experienced since World War 2,” Joshua concludes, addressing the cultural shift that resulted in suburbs where garages became the home’s centerpiece, and not front porches. “But people are looking for this kind of concept.”
The Johnsons’ hope is that the concept of neighborhoods intentionally designed to bring community together will become a new trend among developers.
“My hope is that this would not only be a trend but push developers into the next 100 years, and that we would take a responsibility of matching up art and business again,” Joshua says. “The industrial revolution took us in another direction, but when I say art, I mean architecture, intentionally designed spaces incorporating the study of humans and how we interact with space.”
Though ground has only just broken, Redding is already buying into the concept, and neighbors are literally taking ownership not just of their neighborhood, but of the direction in which they’d like it to go.
“This is really the story of friends who are building together,” says Joshua. “The builder, the lawyer, the developer, the Realtor, the mortgage lender – so many people who are part of this project will also be neighbors in this project.”
In short, the Johnsons and company are carving out the kind of space where they want to live. Which is probably why they gave the neighborhood the name Shiloh.
No, not from the famous Civil War battle, says Joshua. “It’s actually an ancient city in Israel, from before King David took Jerusalem. It means, simply, gift.”
Which is what this neighborhood should be to the Johnsons, and all those who come to call it home: a neighborhood that reimagines development to the point of building relationships as much as homes.
Shiloh Park will incorporate three different model homes, ranging between about $360,000 and $450,000 before optional upgrades. A waiting list for Shiloh Park can be found on its website.