Sometimes, developing a successful residential community comes down to timing.
When Lloyd Poe, a Chesterfield County-based developer, bought a 13-acre parcel of land on Miller’s Lane in eastern Henrico County back in 2006, he thought it would be the perfect site for a low-maintenance townhome community.
A new shopping center, the Shops at White Oak Village, was slated to open nearby, and the parcel’s location near Interstate 64 would make it especially convenient for homebuyers looking for a short commute into downtown Richmond.
“Plus, Henrico didn’t do cash proffers, which impact affordability,” said Poe, president and owner of Community Development Partners. “We wanted to develop townhomes in the $200,000 to $250,000 range.”
Cash proffers are per-home fees that some localities charge to offset the greater demand new developments will pose on public infrastructures.
Before Poe started site development for The Village at Miller’s Lane, though, the housing market collapsed, and his plans changed – just as a lot of other developers’ did.
“When the recession came, demand for housing dropped so much it made no sense to develop it,” Poe said. “So we put it on hold.”
He added: “It’s easier to carry a piece of land than a finished product.”
Poe waited 14 years to restart work on The Village at Miller’s Lane – the longest he’s held onto a parcel without developing it.
This year, he began site work.
“The market’s completely recovered, and it’s at a peak now,” Poe said.
Townhome stats and sales
Poe has partnered with Henrico-based StyleCraft Homes to build 78 townhomes in The Village at Miller’s Lane, and the community’s first six-unit building is under construction.
This will be Poe’s second project with StyleCraft.
“We worked with StyleCraft on another townhome project, Stonewall Manor,” Poe said. “We had a good working relationship, and this is a natural extension of that.”
StyleCraft will have a model home in the building that is currently under construction.
“The townhomes will be built with a traditional feel, complementing the architecture of the area,” said Ian Hoyt, StyleCraft’s land acquisition manager. “There will be a mix of masonry and vinyl materials used to provide an aesthetically pleasing look while simultaneously ensuring low-maintenance upkeep.”
All the townhomes will have an open floorplan as well as the option to add a basement, and the maintenance plan will include lawn care and exterior maintenance.
“Prices in The Village at Miller’s Lane will start from the low $200,000s and offer townhomes ranging from 1,525 square feet for two levels to more than 1,850 square feet for our basement townhomes – all with a one-car garage,” said Tonya Kern, StyleCraft’s sales manager.
Offering townhomes with garages will be a big draw for buyers, Poe says.
“That’s a product the market has been wanting,” he said.
Kern says StyleCraft has seen a steady interest in the new community, and the company will be opening for VIP-only appointments and sales in early December.
“Shortly after the initial VIP launch, we will be holding a model-home grand opening,” Kern said.
Early sales should be strong, thanks in part to “the affordable price point for a new-construction home that’s so close to downtown Richmond and other nearby conveniences, like shopping and dining,” Kern said.