Center Creek Homes, a homebuilder who has been active in the East End over the past two years, is about to break ground on five new homes in the Fairmount neighborhood that will all be priced below $250,000, under the median sales price for a newly constructed single-family home in Richmond.
This development, “20 & R” was born out of Center Creek’s desire to utilize vacant land in a manner that would result in a financially viable development, while increasing the number of new housing units in the neighborhood and driving down the sales prices on each new house to improve affordability for the community. The underlying zoning for the site allowed for two single family homes. According to the developer, the land cost and need to invest tens of thousands of dollars for utility connections, a successful development would have required these two homes to be priced in the mid-to-high $300,000 range.
Instead, Center Creek Homes decided to garner input from local Realtor and neighborhood resident, Dave Seibert, feedback from the New Visions Civic League, thoughtful advice from local Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille, and a Special Use Permit (SUP) from the City. Center Creek Homes crafted a plan to build five houses on the site, maximizing their land use and creating living environments that complement the neighborhood aesthetic. Increased density combined with construction efficiency enabled Center Creek to reduce the planned sales price for the five houses by over $100,000 each. Final approval was obtained in February of 2020, followed by several more months navigating the subdivision process to create the new single-family lots. Construction begins shortly.
After a conversation with Councilwoman Newbille, Center Creek looked for ways to make one of the 20 & R houses further affordable, enhancing the firm’s vision of thoughtful development that provides opportunities for lower-income families to benefit from new investment in Richmond’s close-in neighborhoods. Center Creek was approved by the City of Richmond’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and City Council for funds to reduce the sales price of one of the houses to approximately $180,000 for an income-qualified family.
The development sits a block from Solomon Temple Fire Baptized Holiness Church, two blocks from RRHA’s Mosby Court, four blocks from the BHC’s Goodwyn at Union Hill and five blocks from the Market at 25th.
“20 & R demonstrates Center Creek Homes’ commitment to using efficient land use and design to make great homes that are naturally affordable,” said Dan Magder, CEO of Center Creek Homes. “Working with DHCD is a great example of a public-private partnership to produce deeply affordable housing that will be seamlessly integrated with the overall neighborhood and serve Richmond residents at a wide-range of income levels.”
“We are excited about working with the City of Richmond to create additional mixed-income housing that includes affordable units. The most effective way for the City to encourage further development of affordable housing would be creating a land use and permitting fast-track review process for residential projects that meet affordability targets. Such a program could shave 6-12 months off projects like 20&R, with minimal cost to the City,” said Greg Shron, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of Center Creek Homes.
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