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CORRECTED: Lennar town house subdivision to breathe more life into stalled development

Reserve.webEditor’s note: Corrected for date of public hearing and number of lots sold.

INDIAN LAND, S.C. – The latest addition to the housing boom in the upper panhandle of Lancaster County is set to come in the form of 172 town houses off Jim Wilson Road at Indian Land’s main drag of U.S. 521.

The Lennar Homes project is the second recent indication that a 330-acre zombie mixed-use development –approved before the recession and dormant after a single retailer, a Walgreens, opened – is starting to breathe again.

Only 16 months since it opened, a revived single-family subdivision has already sold 238 of the 400 lots, said Jon Hardy, Charlotte division president for Miami-based Lennar, which is developing the project. The subdivision, Carolina Reserve, is the single-family residential component of the larger mixed-use planned development district, or PDD, which in North Carolina would be called a PUD, or Planned Unit Development.

Now comes Lennar’s yet-unnamed 25.6-acre town house development, just across Jim Wilson Road from Carolina Reserve. Because the acreage is pre-zoned for town houses, all that’s needed under S.C. law is plat approval from the Lancaster County Planning Board.

The plat approval will likely happen without opposition at the board’s 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 meeting at the County Administration Building in the city of Lancaster, said county Planning Director Penelope G. Karagounis.

The mixed-use development, known in county planning lingo as “PDD 20,” can have up to 1 million square feet of retail, but no developer has come forward to propose any in addition to the Walgreens.

The development is less than half a mile south from Pulte-Del Webb’s giant Sun City Carolina Lakes 55-plus subdivision on U.S. 521 – also known on the Palmetto state side as Charlotte Highway. The PDD is also across the highway from a Harris Teeter-anchored shopping center.

Hardy said that with the success of Sun City and Carolina Reserve, and with his company’s town house development and numerous other residential subdivisions soon to come online in Indian Land, he feels sure that the Walgreens will shortly be lonely no longer.

“There is no doubt as the rooftops continue to go in,” Hardy said last week. “With Del Webb’s Sun City’s 3,000 lots almost sold out, with half of Carolina Reserve sold, and as the whole area sees rezoning after rezoning, there is no doubt.”

The northern peninsula of Lancaster County – which snakes up between Union County, N.C., and York County, S.C., to border on Pineville and the Ballantyne area – is the fastest-growing area in metro Charlotte.

Many of the other big names among the market’s homebuilders – Meritage, Mattamy, Standard Pacific, Bonterra and M/I Homes– are active in Indian Land or have proposed subdivisions awaiting Lancaster County Council approval.

Single-family building permits issued in Lancaster rose by three-digit percentages in the first and second quarters of 2014 compared to the same periods last year.

With the town houses, Hardy said Lennar is targeting three sections of the market.

“Young couples; single moms and single dads; and move-down opportunities,” Hardy said. “First-time buyer double-income, no kids; single fireman-nurse occupations; and empty-nester move-downs, which we think will be attracted by our master-down models. Let’s put it this way: There’s really nothing else in that area below the $200,000 price point.”

Across Jim Wilson Road from the town house development site, Carolina Reserve is split into two sections, or villages. One targets families, with six models of two-story homes; and the other has eight styles of ranch homes with 55-and-ups in mind.

And, Hardy said, his division of Lennar is looking to buy at least one of three properties in the city’s closer-in neighborhoods to build infill town houses, following a recent trend among homebuilding companies small and large.

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