May 4, 2009

Burkitt Place new home starts

Regent Homes segues over to Burkitt Place
THE TENNESSEAN • April 29, 2009
Although new home construction in some places might be taking a hiatus due to the ailing economy, one local builder is taking on more.
Regent Homes, which has built homes in the mixed use community of Lenox Village, is now building some of the homes at nearby Burkitt Place.
"We've built out all of the lots we have for single-family detached homes in Lenox Village," said Dave McGowan, president of Regent Homes. But Burkitt Place has a similar section that has not been built out.
"We talked to them about going into that community and secured a contract for 24 lots," he said.
The first homes will range from $230,000 to the $280,000s, all with Hardie cement siding and a brick or stone combination.
Half will have fenced-in, alley-loaded garages, and the other half will have street-loaded garages.
McGowan said Regent also plans to introduce a bungalow series priced in the $250,000s designed for empty nesters. These would be one- or one-and-a-half-story with attached or detached garages.
McGowan said the company had found that a lot of empty nesters are looking to live in that area. He expects about 60 percent of Burkitt Place buyers to be empty nesters.
"It's a nice community, and it's a real convenient location," he said.
Young, professional, two-income families are the company's other target. McGowan said a community like this is attractive because it's an easy commute.
"We're really excited about adding them to our group of builders," said Rob Pease, project manager with CPS Land, the project's developer. "We think they're a natural fit for the community."
Pease said builders at Burkitt Place and at CPS's other communities are responding to the shaky economy by trying to appeal to more buyers.
"They have adjusted their offering to meet what seems to be a change in the market and in the economy," he said. For example, many builders are offering same quality of construction but less square footage to attract more buyers.
This change might be a little more pronounced in the high-end market. But, said Pease, "we're seeing it everywhere."
McGowan said he's not worried about the economy affecting Regent's plans at Burkitt Place or elsewhere.
"We found it to be a very steady, stable market," he said of Burkitt Place. "It's a growing, popular area" with positive job growth, he said.
Also, Regent has chosen to build in the Davidson County portion of Burkitt Place rather than the Williamson County portion, thereby avoiding the impact fees builders in Williamson County have to pay.
McGowan said Regent, which has been building in southeast Davidson County for years, tries to go into underserved markets and study their needs.
Many of Regent's buyers are well off and have equity in their homes, but they are looking to downsize, said McGowan. They want something that's low maintenance and allows for easy mobility.
"We know what's important to them and what's not," he said. "It's about identifying what that buyer wants and what price point he wants."

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