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“First Class Value” or Overpriced Homes?

by Vince Bushell

Brewers Hill is a “vintage neighborhood” with “first class value” according to the brochure for Brewers Hill Commons, the development around the old shoe factory near downtown and west of Holton Street. The area includes condominiums in old factory buildings and construction of new single-family homes. The lot size and construction details of the single-family homes reflect the existing neighborhood. But the reflection ends there. Few of the existing “vintage” neighbors could afford one of the new homes, which start at $269,00 and can easily top $300,000. Those prices come from the information available at Tandem Development’s sales center at 1985 N. Hubbard St. A question for developers and city planners: Why can’t new homes with more affordable price points be added to the mix of these developments? The photo above and to the right shows a sign illustrating the facades of the new homes being built. In the background of this photo is a duplex built a few years back by ESHAC, the now defunct neighborhood organization. These duplexes were built to house low to moderate-income residents. Now in private hands, these homes are not subject to income guidelines. City requirements on developers and the private sector themselves can aid in keeping a mix of incomes in these “vintage” neighborhoods. In Riverwest, ABC Development is constructing two town homes on Hadley and Bremen Street. The homes will have more square footage than the Brewers Hill Commons single family homes proposed, yet sell for about half the price, about $150,000. Why not build some homes like this in Brewers Hill Commons mixed in with the higher end homes proposed? In the future, the City could require it and the developers could actually do well by having more possible customers. This is market rate development with a goal of developing neighborhoods that are diverse in character. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003

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