KENNEWICK — Where shrubs and grass now grow, Stan Nuxall Jr. sees 61 villa-style townhomes, with stucco exteriors and some native landscaping.
Nuxall is developing Villas Verde, or "Green Homes," on the southeast corner of 27th Avenue and Ely Street in Kennewick with the goal of providing homes for retirees.
Plans for new homes similar to those at Villas Verde seem to be sprouting up in Kennewick.
The city has received three applications for new subdivisions in the first two weeks of the year. Last year, six projects were proposed, said Evelyn Lusignan, Kennewick's customer service manager.
With the new development and shopping options at Southridge, the area has grown into a good spot for new homes, Nuxall said.
South Kennewick is where available land is, said Rene Dahlgren, Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities director of government affairs.
Residential and commercial development goes in waves, she said. The area has a new sports complex, and Kennewick General Hospital plans to build a new hospital in the area.
New home permits were down in January compared with last year, but the national and state housing markets have been picking up, and Dahlgren said builders expect the Tri-Cities to exceed those markets.
Villas Verde will be built in groups of three and four, Nuxall said. Most are likely to be one-story.
Nuxall said he will participate in Energy Star and the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities "Built Green" program.
The townhomes will be near Canyon Lakes Restorative & Rehabilitation Center. And Nuxall said he hopes to attract some couples where one spouse is living in the townhome and the other in assisted living.
He hopes to have the dues for the homeowners' association to be the lowest in the Tri-Cities. The dues will pay for maintenance.
The homes will be affordable, but the exact prices have not yet been set, he said.
Fireball Investments will own the land and develop it, and Green Plan Construction LLC will build the homes. Nuxall's company, SL Nuxall Real Estate Services, will market the properties.
Villas Verde will go before the city hearing examiner on April 9 for preliminary plat approval.
Nuxall said he hopes to have the roads and first homes go up shortly after city approval is received.
Nuxall will build some homes on speculation but he also said he hopes for presales, where homeowners can pick their own floor plan and lot.
Not too far from the future site of Villas Verde, a cherry orchard on the corner of 45th Avenue and South Ely Street will be replaced with 120 new single-family homes.
Owner Dale Ross has been finding it too difficult to operate the small orchard inside city limits, said Dave Retter, Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities owner and broker.
Cherry Creek Estates will be along the lines of Shadow Run on 36th Avenue and Ely Street and Pheasant Run on Vancouver Street and 27th Avenue, projects that Retter said Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities worked on with other developers.
J-U-B Engineers of Kennewick is also involved in the Cherry Creek Estates project.
South Kennewick is a great location, with the businesses and restaurants that have opened at Southridge, Retter said.
The 33 acres are the last large piece of dirt available in that area of Kennewick for development, he said.
Cherry Creek Estates will have homes that likely will be attractive to move-up and first-time home buyers, Retter said. They hope to have homes priced between $185,000 to $275,000.
The project is scheduled to go before the hearing examiner March 12.
The soonest Retter expects the project to break ground is in late June. The first homes won't be available until late this year or early next year.
The builders for the project have not yet been chosen, but there likely will be between three to five, Retter said. The subdivision might be completed in five phases.
Presales will be available sometime this summer, after city requirements are met and the prices are determined, he said.
Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities agents have been seeing homes go under contract for sales at a record pace this month in all price ranges, Retter said.
"I think there has been a pent-up demand," he said.
Cherry Creek Estates is one of six applications for new subdivisions in Kennewick that came in last year, Lusignan said. Cherry Creek Estates and the three subdivisions from this year are being reviewed by the city before they head to the hearing examiner.
After the city hearing examiner gives pre-plat approval, developers put in the required utilities and streets, she said. Then the subdivision heads to Kennewick City Council for final approval.
The other two new subdivisions proposed in Kennewick are:
* Southcliffe, 408 single-family homes on Sherman Road in the Thompson Hill area, by developers Milo Bauder and Grant Young.
* Grandridge Meadows South, 24 single-family homes proposed by Monogram Homes north of Clearwater Avenue near the future expansion of Steptoe Street.