The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 15, 2013

Lakefront housing project ready to start in Conneaut

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — The first of dozens of new houses could start construction this fall on a former golf course along Conneaut’s lakefront, the developer said Wednesday.

Vincent Rose of BuildWorks said he envisioned work may begin within four weeks at the long-closed Conneaut Shores Golf Course at Lake and Whitney roads. The project, begun more than two years ago, cleared its last municipal hurdle this month when the City Planning Commission approved final plans for the ambitious project. A few small details need to be addressed before work truly begins, Rose said.

“We’re waiting for the final (property marker) pins to be plotted by a surveyor,” he said.

Some legal documents also need to be filed at the courthouse before bulldozers rumble onto the property, Rose said. “People are ready to go,” he said.

Last year the public learned about a partnership between BuildWorks and landowner James Farmakis to put houses on the 70-plus acre parcel. The project will be done in four phases that will span several years, depending on demand. The first phase will erect houses in the $149,000-$189,000 range along Lake Road, followed by a cluster of smaller houses off Whitney, serviced by an access road, Rose has said.

The road work and infrastructure for the Whitney Road phase two will begin next year, Rose said.

Other phases would build houses in the area of the southwest and southeast corners of the property. Every phase will incorporate the rolling terrain of the property in the design and provide plenty of green space for residents.

BuildWorks also hopes to erect model homes on the site, Rose said Wednesday. Buyers will have an array of style choices, he said.

“We want to give people at least a dozen to pick from,” Rose said.

Final plans endorsed by the planning panel differed little from original drawings, Rose said. “We didn’t change the basic concept,” he said.

The development has been warmly received by city officials and neighbors as it evolved over the past several months, a far cry from previous attempts to put housing on the old course. Those early attempts depended on a zoning change for the land that fell flat with the city and resulted in litigation. The BuildWorks plan does not involve multi-family dwellings and Farmakis will sell land to Rose as individual deals are sealed, rather than one big transaction.

Earlier this week City Manager Tim Eggleston said he was pleased to see the Planning Commission give its final approval.

“Staff is very excited to see this project moving forward,” he said. “This is great news.”