The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 4, 2013

Lakefront housing project now a reality in Conneaut

New sign, ground-clear signals start to The Shores

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — A large, elaborately landscaped sign heralds the arrival of an ambitious housing program that has been years in the making along Conneaut’s lakefront.

On Tuesday, a tractor could be seen chopping up small brush on the northwest corner of land that once held the Conneaut Shores Golf Course. Earthmoving should begin in earnest in a few days, Vincent Rose of BuildWorks said Tuesday.

“We’ll be clearing trees early next week,” he said.

Recently, an illuminated sign was erected at the corner of Lake and Whitney roads that announces The Shores, a collaboration between landowner James Farmakis and BuildWorks, the Conneaut-based contractor.

As billed, dozens of new homes will be erected over the coming years at the 70-plus acre site. Four phases of work are planned for the parcel. It will start with construction of houses along Lake Road in the $149,000-$189,000 range, followed by a community of cluster houses that accessible from Whitney Road. Other houses are envisioned at locations in the southern corners of the vast property. Rose has also said model homes were a possibility.

All the legal requirements, such as property transfer and survey work, has been completed and BuildWorks can now concentrate on house construction, Rose said. A handful of homes are already in the pipeline, he said.

The community seems excited by the project, Rose said. People have even been spotted posing for photos with the new Shores sign, he said.

“Response has been terrific,” Rose said. “People also like our policy of using American-made products (in the construction) wherever possible.”

Housing at the old golf course has been promoted by Farmakis for years, but was blocked by city leaders wary of the zoning change he had sought for the entire property. The conflict resulted in court cases — all won by the city.

The Shores project avoids the zoning change situation in part by acquiring chunks of the golf course on a per-house sale basis, officials have said.