Archive for Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Developer sets sights on Linwood

61 single-family homes, 12 duplexes planned

February 21, 2007

For decades, Linwood has looked about the same. Its shady streets lined with modest homes are reminiscent of how many American small towns looked a half-century ago.

But with a new housing development --Orchard Ridge -- about to start up, Linwood's looks are likely to change. And its population, estimated now at about 380, is likely to grow.

Lawrence developer Garreth Hippe is in the early stages of developing 33 acres of newly annexed land at the west edge of Linwood. The sites, situated on the north and south sides of Golden Road, are planned to accommodate up to 85 living units, 61 of those, single-family homes, the rest, duplexes. Construction is expected to begin this spring.

Hippe said he became interested in the Linwood area last year after talk surfaced about a possible turnpike interchange in southern Leavenworth County.

In January 2005, Kansas Turnpike Authority announced tentative plans to build an interchange on County Road 1, about 4 1/2 miles southwest of Linwood. Since then, Leavenworth County commissioners have been trying to come up with ways to obtain funding for improvement of County Road 1 for a turnpike access road. KTA has said it wouldn't build the interchange unless the county improves County Road 1, but it is chipping in $2 million toward the effort.

Hippe said he thought -- if the interchange went in -- Linwood would be a popular spot for people who want to live in a rural area and be near turnpike access.

He began looking for land a year ago. By late summer, Hippe had purchased a total of 33 acres on the west side of Linwood. Part of Hippe's land takes up 18 acres between Golden Road and Kansas Highway 32. And the remaining 15 acres lies on the south side of Golden Road, across from his other property. Several months ago, the city annexed both parcels.

"There will be 61 single-family home sites that will range from one-third of an acre to over an half-acre," Hippe said.

And, off of the south side of K-32, Hippe planning space for 12 duplexes.

Lot prices will range from about $35,000 to $40,000, and Hippe has prepaid water tap fees for all the lots.

Hippe said the duplexes will likely start around $100,000 per unit. And the houses will range from about $150,000 to $180,000.

"The whole purpose was an affordable development where builders can come in and sell homes in the $150,000 to $160,000 range -- and it would still be profitable, which is hard to do in today's market," Hippe said.

Hippe has several college degrees, one of which is in environmental science.

"I'm able to look at environmental considerations," Hippe said. "... I'm planning on keeping absolutely as many trees as possible. When we did the survey work, we adjusted the roads to accommodate the trees."

He said there's a grove of apple trees on the property as well as a stand of English walnuts, and also maples and ash trees.

"I think that's something else that will attract people to those neighborhoods," Hippe said. "You're going in and have these huge old-growth trees throughout the neighborhood already."

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