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Ardenwood, the Affordable Alternative to Mission San Jose

Updated: Feb 8

The community was constructed in the 1980s and 1990s. It attracted 1st buyers, who were professionals working in Silicon Valley looking for new construction, with an easy commute to the peninsula and good schools. They appreciated that Ardenwood is centrally located in the Bay Area and also between the three airports.

Ardenwood community is centered around two of the newer schools in Fremont. The 1st is called Ardenwood Elementary (Est. 1980) and the 2nd is Forest Park Elementary (Est. 1993).

In 1999, California implemented API testing. Forest Park and Ardenwood had exceptional scores which further increased demand for the Ardenwood Area. Homes weren't cheap, but they were more affordable than the Fremont Mission San Jose School areas.

During the early 2000s Forest Park had a higher API score than Ardenwood Elementary, and its associated homes sold for more than Ardenwood. However that changed as we approached 2020. The two biggest factors in balancing out the demand between Forest Park and Ardenwood Elementary: (1) Ardenwood academic scores became higher than Forest Park's and (2) COVID made families value properties with land more.

Here's how the two Ardenwood schools compare to Gomes (Mission San Jose) in 2021-2022, when California tested students using the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). CAASPP replaced API scores in 2014.

Source: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

There are 6 elementary schools in North Fremont that feed into Thornton Middle School and then American High School. Today's American's academic score has surpassed Irvington's and closing in on Mission San Jose's score. This is because scores of all of the 6 elementary schools feeding into American are rising.

Source: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

The 6 elementary schools that feed into American High School are:

Ardenwood Elementary

Forest Park Elementary

Warwick Elementary

Patterson Elementary

Brookvale Elementary

Oliveira Elementary

Population Growth & New Real Estate Development Causes School Overcrowding

The Ardenwood district in Fremont has the highest population in Fremont, and the two schools in the community were not built to accommodate the student growth. Both schools have been overloading students for over a decade, Forest Park is the most overloaded school in Fremont.

In 2007, John Laing (labeled JL on the map below), started building townhomes just South of Paseo Padre Pkwy where it meets Ardenwood Blvd. However John Laing went bankrupt during the 2008 sub-prime fallout and Pulte bought them out and completed the development (between 2010 to 2014) with their own layouts. These homes were associated with Ardenwood Elementary but because of overcrowding, Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) redistricted a section of the community to go to Warwick Elementary.

Patterson Ranch (built from 2016 to 2018) is located on the Northside of Paseo Padre Blvd (labeled Patterson on the map above). It consists of 500 homes built by KB Homes, DR Horton & Brookfield. These are the biggest homes in Ardenwood and many of the original buyers into the Ardenwood community traded into these bigger homes. FUSD designated these homes to go to Patterson Elementary. What's unique about Patterson Ranch is that the HOA maintains a working farm and the residents get to partake in the harvest.

Warwick Elementary has scores similar to Ardenwood Elementary but Patterson Elementary has lower scores. The good news is that they are improving each year.

Source: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

Amazing Nearby Recreational Opportunities

You'll find all generations of people walking around Forest Park Elementary and Ardenwood Elementary on pleasant days. It's very easy to make new acquaintances here. If you are looking for activities, you'll find plenty organized at the Nearby Ardenwood Historic Farm.

Ardenwood Historic Farm offers a glimpse into life on a family farm between 1890 and 1930. Step back in time as you explore the remnants of the once vast estate of George and Clara Patterson, whose family farmed the land for over 100 years, beginning in the 1850s. East Bay Regional Park District has operated the property as a fully functioning, turn-of-the-last-century farm since 1985. The farm is Operated by East Bay Regional Park District. My favorite activities here are the Halloween pumpkin patch and the runaway train.

You could walk or bike here from Ardenwood. I've done the many trails here with the family over the last 40 years. All parks have become more popular after COVID and this is no exception. This is managed by East Bay Regional Park District.

This is located a short distance from Ardenwood and also a great place to walk, hike or bike. I've done many trails here as well and highly recommend it for the whole family.


There is a small strip mall on Deep Creek and Paseo Padre which offers immediate conveniences and quick dining. The closest grocery stores would be Ranch 99, Sprouts, and Safeway. Closest farmer's market would be Union City's on Smith St.

Freight Train and Highway 880

The two caveats I tell all buyers about Ardenwood is one beware of the proximity to the freight trains that run through the community, they will honk at various hours, and two the noise from Hwy 880. Also note that Forest Park community has smaller yards, high density housing (Apartments, Condos, Townhouses, Duets and Detached), smaller roads, less parking than the Ardenwood Elementary section of the Ardenwood.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Look forward to your comments.

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