A local developer is moving forward with plans to build a 144-lot subdivision in Noblesville—the first such project city officials have OK’d since approving another proposal for the same property in 2007.
Fishers-based Boomerang Development LLC shelved those plans when the economy tanked, but it didn’t give up on the 77-acre site at the northwest corner of 161st Street and Hazel Dell Parkway.
The Noblesville Common Council this month approved a new development proposal for Lake Forest of Noblesville. Boomerang President Corby Thompson said the $40 million community will be built in phases over several years. Construction could begin this summer.
“This is a better plan,” Thompson said of a neighborhood design that preserves existing trees and includes trails that connect to nearby recreational paths. “It’s a better layout, and it is a better fit for the current market.”
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Pulte Homes will build the houses, most of which are expected to sell for $250,000 to $350,000—a lower price point than called for in the earlier proposal. Three lots on the western edge of the property are set aside for custom homes in the $600,000-plus range, though Thompson said demand will dictate whether those are built.
Davis Homes was the builder in the earlier proposal, but the local company failed to emerge from what Thompson called the industry "cleansing" brought about by the recession.
Thompson is confident now is the time to develop the site. Homebuilding activity in Hamilton County increased 20 percent in 2012, according to annual building-permit data released by the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis. Single-family permits in Noblesville were up 75 percent in the first two months of this year, compared to the same period in 2012.
“There’s a shortage of lots in Hamilton County,” Thompson said. “The market is there.”
City Planning Director Christy Langley concurs.
“I see this as one of many signs that the economy is coming back, and Noblesville continues to be a desirable destination,” she said, citing a low vacancy rate for the city’s housing stock and a limited inventory of existing homes for sale.
Indeed, Boomerang also is working on plans for a 500-lot community near Boden Road and 166th Street on Noblesville’s east side, where the city hopes to develop a 200-acre park. He expects to submit that proposal for council approval by May.
Some of Lake Forest’s future neighbors weren’t as optimistic about the housing rebound, pointing out during public hearings that two existing subdivisions near 161st and Hazel Dell still have undeveloped lots.
Langley said construction in the Twin Oaks of Noblesville and Essex of Noblesville neighborhoods has been steady despite the recession. And she said officials cannot legally reject a development proposal because other lots are available.
Thompson said his project is different enough that he isn’t concerned about the competition.
“I think they can all co-exist very well,” he said.
Noblesville’s comprehensive plan calls for residential development at that intersection, Langley said, and the additional homes should provide a welcome boost to nearby retail hubs along the four-lane Hazel Dell Parkway.
“The more rooftops we get, the better they’re going to perform,” she said.