New homes selling rapid fire at former Fort Ben

May 31, 2016

Demand to live in the former Fort Benjamin Harrison military base is surpassing the expectations of its first home builder, which is selling lots quicker than anticipated.

Houston-based David Weekley Homes broke ground in March 2015 on The Residences at Lawrence Village—a 74-lot subdivision on nine acres east of Post Road and north of Otis Avenue.

Only a handful of lots remain, prompting the builder to accelerate the start of the second phase, moving it up to fall from spring of next year.

“It’s a good development,” said Michael Luedke, David Weekley division president. “The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority has done a great job rebooting that area.”

The reuse authority is leading the ongoing redevelopment of the former U.S. Army base that closed in 1995. David Weekley’s subdivision is the first single-family home project to be built on the grounds.

Although work hasn’t started on the second phase, David Weekley already has compiled a waiting list of six potential homebuyers interested in building a house there.

The first phase contains 36 lots and the second phase 38 lots. Home sizes range from 1,800 square feet to 2,400 square feet, start at roughly $210,000, and come standard with granite countertops and tile flooring.

Freddie Burrus, executive director of the reuse authority, attributes David Weekley’s success at the fort to the subdivision’s proximity not only to Fort Harrison State Park but to amenities such as a YMCA and retail businesses such as Triton Brewery and Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza.

“It helps us to be more competitive,” he said. “We have the metro feeling with the historical setting.”

The 40-year-old David Weekley Homes entered the Indianapolis market in 2011 and also has communities in Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Zionsville.

In addition, more apartments also are expected to be built at Fort Ben.

To the east of the homes, Carmel-based J.C. Hart Co. built the 224-unit Fort Apartments that it since has sold to Cincinnati-based Ackermann Group. Ackermann now plans to build 101 additional units on ground near the existing apartments that fronts East 56th Street. Construction should begin in the summer.

On the commercial front, residential and commercial real estate firm RealtyQwest LLC is slated to move next month into the 19,000-square-foot historical mule barn at 5723 Birtz Road, Burrus said.



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