Archive for Thursday, May 9, 2002

Building for the future

May 9, 2002

Residential development, which stalled somewhat in 2001, is coming on strong this year in southern Leavenworth County.

Two upscale subdivisions are planned in Basehor. And developers remain optimistic about the Tonganoxie housing market.

Construction also is going great-guns in housing developments south of Basehor, along Leavenworth County Road 2.

At Falcon Lakes development in extreme northeast Basehor, plans call for 550 to 600 homes, including maintenance-free villas, situated around an 18-hole championship golf course. The property is dotted with three lakes, the largest of which is 54 acres.

In addition, a full-service restaurant, along with club house and swimming pool will be included in the development. The golf course is scheduled to open next fall.

"And the club house will probably be open by this fall," said John Kroeker of Reece-Nichols, who is one of the agents for the properties.

Falcon Lakes, which is just west of Kansas Highway 7 between Donahoo and Hollingsworth Roads, is being developed by the developers of Falcon Ridge, a Lenexa subdivision.

Homes in Falcon Lakes range from 2,500 to more than 3,500 square feet, Kroeker said.

They carry a price tag starting at $240,000, stretching to more than $300,000, he said.

The first phase, which includes 40 homes, is open now.

Presently, the only entrance to the development is off K-7, but Kroeker said additional entrances off Hollingsworth, Donohoo and 147th Street are planned.

"In the next 30 to 60 days, we'll have all of those open," he said.

The second phase of Falcon Lakes will bring 59 additional homes onto the market.

"The response has been very good for the first phase, and the second phase is in the planning stages," Kroeker said.

Another Basehor development will include a variety of housing, and about 20 acres of land set aside for commercial tracts. Construction is under way on townhomes in Prairie Gardens, which is west of 158th Street, north of U.S. Highway 24-40. The subdivision is on Basehor's west side.

At Tonganoxie's Stone Creek, one of the developers, Art Hancock, said the subdivision is progressing.

"We're well into phase two and phase three," said Hancock, a Realtor. "For the times, I think it's gone really well."

The initial phase included 40 duplex units and 31 single-family homes.

The development, which ultimately will include 10 phases, includes single-family homes, as well as duplexes. Plans also call for Cohen-Esrey of Kansas City, Mo., to construct 24 housing units for elderly residents.

Stone Creek is on the north side of U.S. Highway 24-40, on the east edge of Tonganoxie.

Tim Keller, one of the developers of Eagle Valley subdivision in south Tonganoxie, said the project is on hold.

"We're waiting for the market to tell us what to do," said Keller, who is base in Lawrence. "It takes a little while for a community like Tonganoxie to digest all of the new lots. We love Tonganoxie. We've got a great development, but we don't want to grow it too fast."

The first phase, a combination of single-family homes and duplexes, is nearly built out. And the developers are poised to begin work on the second phase of Eagle Valley, which would be south of the developed land and would include 43 single-family homes.

"Our second phase has been approved and platted, so we're in a position that we can get started right away," Keller said. "We haven't gotten together as a group to decide what we want to do. We do have phase two approved, and we want to make sure the market is ready before we do anything."

J.W. Evans, whose upscale Evans East development is under way northeast of Pleasant Street and Evans Road, said work will begin on a fourth house this spring.

"It's a five-year plan," he said of the 14-lot development.

Builder John Bonee, Basehor, is the exclusive builder for the custom homes in Evans East. The houses must be a minimum 2,000 square feet and Evans said he has a two-page list of restrictions to control what occurs in the neighborhood.

East of Evans' development, Jack Willis continues to work on South Park. The housing subdivision, which stretches south from U.S. Highway 24-40 south to Evans Road, features homes from $150,000 on up. The minimum size, Willis said, is 1,300 square feet.

"We'll keep our minimum at 1,300," he said. "That's up to the builders in there. They can go as big as they want. Most of them are going at 1,500 square feet or a little larger."

As soon as he hammers out an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation, Willis will begin work on 82 townhomes on 41 lots. Willis and KDOT must work out the entrance to the South Park development off 24-40 highway.

Willis said generally townhomes have been attractive to first-time homebuyers looking for a way into the market, as well as elderly residents.

Willis is upbeat about the housing market.

"Last year, we sold 11 lots in South Park," he said. "Last month, I sold nine. That tells me I have bigger demand."

It appears the economic slowdown is waning.

"I'd say last year was not a real good year totally," he said. "Even before September 11, we were in a slump. I can't blame it on September 11. They've sold a lot of houses in Tonganoxie in the first quarter of this year. It's definitely picked up over what it was last fall. I think things are picking up, and if the interest rate doesn't blast back up, I think it will continue to be good."

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