Housing subdivision may have rebirth

Mar. 06, 2013 @ 09:16 PM

A sizable housing development that’s been on hold for several years because of the recession may get a rebirth through a new developer.
A company based in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina could develop a subdivision on a 65-acre tract along Greensboro Road at Penny Road. The project would include extending part of Penny Road to Scientific Street as the main thoroughfare through the development.
The housing primarily would involve single-family homes, with a smaller portion of multifamily residences. The frontage along Greensboro Road would include some business development.
The developer, Jemsite Development based in Jefferson in Ashe County, has provided initial concepts to the city of High Point, said city Senior Planner Herb Shannon. The developer has submitted a sketch plan for review that outlines the general scope of the project.
The outline for the development is similar to the previous one, which was approved by the city about seven years ago. But the new development still may need some rezoning before going forward, Shannon told The High Point Enterprise.
“The primary difference (from the former proposal) is there would be less multifamily and a little bit more commercial proposed along the Greensboro Road frontage,” Shannon said. “The whole layout is basically going to be the same as before. It’s in the real early stages at this time.”
The Enterprise wasn’t able to reach a representative with Jemsite Development on Wednesday.
The odyssey for the property dates back to the middle of last decade when a previous developer unveiled its proposal for middle-class to upper-middle-class residences.
But the housing industry’s collapse during the Great Recession meant that the former developer never moved forward with construction, only grading of the land. The previous developer, who was out of Charlotte, eventually abandoned the site after filing for bankruptcy more than two years ago.
In a sense, the site in east High Point has become a symbol of the fate of the area and nation’s housing industry. A bold development for the property was scuttled because of the recession, and now may be revived as an incremental economic recovery takes hold.
A company wouldn’t take on an investment such as a new housing development without some optimism about the prospects for sales, said Mike McCully, associate professor of economics at High Point University.
“I think there’s reason for optimism,” McCully said. “We have seen some other signs in the area of housing coming back. There are other developments doing ‘spec’ construction and selling homes.”

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