Posted: Tuesday, April 17th 2012 at 2:40pm
Developer says Mundy Mill back on track
By Jerry Gunn Staff
GAINESVILLE - Mundy Mill neighborhood, once touted as a major planned community and economic generator in southern Hall County before succumbing to the housing recession, celebrated its “grand re-opening” Tuesday.
Butler Properties manager and developer Wendell Stark said Mundy Mill shows early signs of success as a refocused competitively priced single-family housing option for the region. Several new homes have been built over the last year in the neighborhood.
“We’ve spent the last couple of years improving the property,” Stark said. There was a lot of work to be done just to bring it back to normal and we’ve tried to take it beyond that.”
Beginning in July 2009, four banks seized parcels of the development over the next year until Butler Property bought the property in 2010. Butler revived the project by offering homes priced in the $130,000 range with enhanced amenities. Those amenities include extra wide sidewalks, a swimming pool, play ground and picnic pavilion.
“We’ve seen signs in the last couple of months of real recovery,” Stark added. “In fact there’s no shortage of demand for new houses. I think the real question is not a shortage of demand for housing and it’s not a shortage of available banks that are willing to lend.”
Stark said foreclosures are impacting the new home market.
“The appraisers have to consider foreclosures when they appraise the home”, Stark said. “Sometimes the appraisers have prices that are substantially lower than the initial housing contracts. That continues to be the biggest problem but we’re confident that all the houses we’ve built so far are closed or contracted for and we will continue to build.”
The original Mundy Mill plan called for over 1,500 housing units and Stark said that plan is still in place. Right now there are 71 homes, four of them recently constructed.
“Business has been very good since the first of the year,” said Mundy Mill Sales Manager John Schwartz. “People are starting to realize that a lot of the homes that are bank owned, the foreclosures, need a lot of repair and they’re opting to look at the new product that comes with a one year warranty and is quality built.”
Schwartz said Mundy Mill is permitted currently for 1148 single-family detached homes with a $139,000 to $149,000 price range. Butler Properties owns 500 of the original 600-acre project including commercial property and a 17-acre tract for a new elementary school.
“The Mundy Mill site donated to the school system is definitely in our sights for our next building project,” according to Gainesville School Board member Delores Diaz. “We’ve just undertaken the new Fair Street School financed by the current SPLOST but we’re looking ahead to our next SPLOST five years down the road."
Diaz said Mundy Mill is on the ‘fast growth’ side of Gainesville where a lot of children already live.
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