Work to restart on 400-home development lost to foreclosure in 2007
The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees saw a sight that has been rare over the last several years: a developer seeking approval to build new homes.
The representative from Bingham Farms-based S.R. Jacobson Development Corp. is looking to pick up on a development that was started in 2002 but lost in tax foreclosure in 2007.
The company is now the master developer at the Lakewood Farms development south of Textile between Tuttle Hill and Bunton Roads.
"We’re pretty excited about having you start back up and building homes in the township,” township Clerk Karen Lovejoy-Roe said.
The request comes as single-family home construction permits in Washtenaw County rose 35 percent last year to 315.
The Lakewood Farms project’s first phase will include 72 new single family homes, of which three are already presold. In total, it calls for around 400 units, including 130 duplexes, 97 villas, 116 single family homes and 72 attached condos.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Manny Kianicky, S.R. Jacobson’s vice-president, said a builder is ready to pull building permits and start construction on the presold homes and models, but it could take several years before the first phase is built out.
As for the rest of the project, Kianicky said the S.R. Jacobson still needs to find builders and see the market improve — especially for duplexes — so it will be longer before those phases are started and completed.
“We’re picking up the pieces after everything has been dormant for five to six years with the intent of being the master developer and seeing this project completed over the next several years,” he told the board, which unanimously approved the development agreement.
Kianicky said the company has purchased 13 partially completed developments, which make more financial sense than starting completely new projects.
"There are market realities directing what developers need to do, which is absorb the existing lots in the marketplace," he said. "We have to be very careful in our selection, and do our due diligence."
The single-family homes will list for around $200,000. Smaller homes will be built around 1,500-square-feet, while the largest will be 2,600-square-feet. The lots are approximately 60 feet by 140 feet.
The 255-acre development includes 90 acres of lakes and water and 80 acres of preserved open space.
Some of the infrastructure is already in place, including water and sewer lines and roads, though the lines were never activated. Kianicky said the company has been working with the township and the Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority to clean the systems and get them back in working order.
The developer is also installing gas, electric lines and phone lines.
The township approved site plans for the two phases of the project that were presented by the original developer, Burton-Katzman, in 2002 and 2006, respectively. The company lost the property to foreclosure in 2007 and nothing has been done since.
S.R. Jacobson purchased the property in 2011 and the township reapproved the site plans in May of 2012.
S.R. Jacobson has hired Alllen-Edwin Homes to build the first phase. Kianicky said he is hopeful that will lead to other builders signing on to the project.
“The market is slowly improving. But the momentum makes a great difference and now that we have Edwin Allen we can attract other builders,” he said.
"We’re glad you’re coming back," township attorney Doug Winters said. "There was a time when there was not a meeting that went by when we didn’t have a developer here."
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.