Archive for Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Residential construction booming across Kansas City

February 2, 2000

When it comes to making predictions about the housing market, area developers aren't hedging much.

"That's kind of a crystal ball sort of thing," said Lem Evans, a Tonganoxie real estate agent. "But my thought is yes the houses will sell."

Among the houses predicted to sell are those on lots located on new developments, most of them on the northern and southern edges of Tonganoxie.

At North Star, the housing development started by Evans on U.S. Highway 24-40 north of the high school, all but four of the original 33 lots have been sold. About 12 houses are occupied, Evans said, and at least seven houses and townhouses, such as the one being built by Biff Blankenship, Basehor, are currently under construction.

The four lots left are 105- by 175-foot in size and are priced at $27,500, Evans said.

According to Evans, about half of Tonganoxie's new homebuyers are people who went to school here.

"They've moved away, and they want to come back," Evans said.

As to whether the Kansas Speedway track will increase growth in Tonganoxie, Evans was unsure.

"I think NASCAR is a wait-and-see kind of thing," he said.

Meanwhile, Evans said older homes in Tonganoxie are still selling well.

"The market for the older houses is strong," Evans said. "They're not going down in price any in the last year they've gone up about 10 percent."

The older homes can be more affordable than the new homes, Evans noted.

"If you go for a new house now, you're looking at a house that is $125,000 on up," Evans said. "And that's the low end of it."

At Eagle Valley in south Tonganoxie, building is booming. All but five of the original 41 single-family lots have sold, according to Tim Keller, Lawrence, a partner in Eagle Valley LLC, which owns the development. The partnership is retaining ownership of the 20 duplex lots, as well as the single commercial lot.

And work will begin soon on phase two of Eagle Valley, which will contain 45 residential lots most of them single-family.

"Right now, we're doing the engineering and hope to break ground as soon as the weather permits in the spring," said Keller of Keller and Associates, a real estate appraisal and development firm.

It's possible that the commercial tract at the northeast corner of 12th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 will be developed soon.

"We've been talking with various people," Keller said. "We're just not ready to announce anything yet. We've had a lot of interest in it."

Homes in Eagle Valley are targeted toward first-time homebuyers.

Keller said Eagle Valley LLC has options to purchase additional land to expand the development.

"We've been real pleased working with Tonganoxie, and have been real pleased with the initial results," he said. "It confirmed our expectations in terms of what sort of demand we thought was there."

Mark Himpel is one of the developers of Stone Creek and South Park Subdivisions both along U.S. Highway 24-40 east of the water tower. Stone Creek, on the north side of the highway, and South Park, on the south side of the highway, both are ready for streets, Himpel said.

"As soon as the weather hits we'll be ready to roll," Himpel said.

The second phase of South Park, under construction, holds 77 lots, and the first phase of Stone Creek includes 71 lots, he said. The infrastructure should be completed by March.

The average price of the homes in these developments will run from $110,000 to $135,000, Himpel said.

With all the housing going on in the area, is this or is this not a developer's dream?

"We'll find out a year from now," Himpel said.

Meanwhile, J.W. Evans is taking his time on selling lots at Evans East, a higher-priced subdivision on Evans Road east of Pleasant Street in southeast Tonganoxie.

Evans East includes 14 lots upon which Basehor builder John Bonee will contract with buyers to construct houses that will run from $215,000 to $285,000.

Moreover, the houses will include about 2,400 square feet of living space.

Evans plans for this to be an upscale development.

"We want it to be a nice area," Evans said. "It might take a little longer because of the price."

Lisa Stevens John is news editor at The Mirror. Caroline Trowbridge is The Mirror's editor and publisher.

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