Eye on Development: New hope for Grove Hall?

Editor’s note: Part of an occasional series of stories about development, residential and commercial, in Matthews and Mint Hill. Got a suggestion for the series? Email editor@matthewsminthillweekly.com.

Essex Homes acquires its second Mint Hill subdivision

by Josh Whitener

Essex Homes has purchased 23 lots in Mint Hill’s Grove Hall (above). Kara Lopp/MMHW photo

Since Essex Homes took over Belle Grove Manor in late 2011, the company has seen success – selling 17 lots so far. Now, the privately-owned construction company is hoping to revive another stalled Mint Hill neighborhood, Grove Hall.

In late 2006, Mint Hill approved 40 lots for the Grove Hall development in the one-street subdivision, located off Wilgrove-Mint Hill Road between Truelight Church Road and N.C. 51. But construction halted when one of the builders, Dublin Homes, went bankrupt and the other builder, Timberstone Homes, pulled out. At that time, only 13 of the 40 approved lots had homes. Timberstone has since moved into the Ravenscroft and Green Meadows subdivisions in Mint Hill, but didn’t return to Grove Hall.

“Everything came to a complete stop,” Mint Hill town planner John Hoard said of Grove Hall.

Having seen success with Belle Grove Manor as the economy began to turn, Essex Homes was on the lookout for other subdivisions in the area that it could help revive. Last month, Essex saw a golden opportunity with Grove Hall, Kelli Enos, community manager for the company, said.

“I’ve lived in Mint Hill for a long time and have loved the area, so when I came on board with the company, we started talking about finding (locations to build) in the area,” she said. “We’ve been so successful in Belle Grove Manor that we were looking for more property in Mint Hill and stumbled upon Grove Hall.”

Essex purchased 23 lots in Grove Hall at the end of May, she said. The company put up signs earlier this month and, although no lots have been sold yet, Enos said there are four she’s hoping to get under contract within the next month.

“Ever since we put the signs up, my phone has done nothing but ring,” she said.

One of the appealing aspects of Grove Hall is the price point, Enos said. The 2,500 to 4,000 square foot homes are priced between $195,000 to $259,000 with a lot size of about one-third of an acre.

“Having the higher end of (price points) at Belle Grove, we wanted a lower price range to pick up the overflow,” Enos said. “We didn’t want to go as high as Belle Grove in price. (The neighborhood) still has great schools, good lot sizes. People like the price point. It’s a very comfortable price point, and they get a lot included with that.”

All houses will be made of brick and hardy plank and include a two-car, front load garage, hard wood in the foyer and a garden tub in the master bathroom. Enos said the goal was to build homes similar to the neighborhood’s existing houses.

Buyers can choose from eight different floor plans. Most of the floor plans are for two-story houses, but Essex has a couple of ranch plans as well.

Other than the price point and the homes’ amenities, Enos believes another interest factor is the subdivision’s location.

“I’ll never discount location (as a selling factor) because it’s a phenomenal location,” she said.

Enos said Essex hopes to purchase the remaining four lots in the near future and have the neighborhood completely built out within a year. In the meantime, the company plans to continue looking for more locations to build in Mint Hill while concentrating on selling the rest of Belle Grove Manor, she said.

“We’re thrilled to get another location in Mint Hill and very excited to get homes sold in both,” Enos said.


Lennar nixes, refiles plans for new Matthews subdivision

National builder Lennar has withdrawn its plans to build a 37-house subdivision off Pineville-Matthews Road near its intersection with Covenant Church Lane in Matthews.

The move came after nearby residents complained to town commissioners and, with help from Matthews attorney Chuck Bennett of Weaver, Bennett & Bland, filed a protest petition. The plans, residents said, put too many houses on the 12-acre property.

Lennar, which has an office in Ballantyne, bought the property Sept. 30, according to town zoning records. The land, adjacent to the Stratfordshire subdivision and Covenant Day School’s Warner Park, would have included about three houses per acre and about 3.3 acres of common open space, according to the company’s site plan submitted to the town.

The company withdrew its proposal after hearing residents’ concerns, said Veronica Perez, director of sales and marketing for Lennar’s Charlotte region. The company has already submitted a new plan for the same site which calls for a maximum of 20 houses on “larger, wooded lots,” she said. The plans weren’t available on the town’s website by press time.

“We want our neighbors to be happy,” Perez said.

– Kara Lopp

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