DP Fox To Build A New Neighborhood

March 4, 2003
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ADA TOWNSHIP — DP Fox Ventures LLC is ready to unwrap its second residential housing project in a little over a year.

Also to be built in Ada Township, the unique thing about West Village is that many of its acres will remain green to give it a neighborhood feel.

"I would say close to 50 percent of the gross acreage is set aside as common area and open space," said Tom Rothwell, vice president of project development at DP Fox.

"We did not seek any additional density for the project that may have been allowed under the PUD," he added. "In other words, we did a plan under the traditional zoning guidelines and it showed 150 lots and we went for 149. So we did not seek any bonus lots."

West Village will have 149 homes on 126 acres at the northwest corner of Ada Drive and Spaulding Avenue in the Forest Hills Public Schools District. The homes are expected to range from 1,400 square feet up to 3,000 square feet. A few will be single story, while most will have two levels. All lots are fully served by utilities.

West Village will be linked to the Ada trail system, which will give residents an easy walk to the Forest Hills Performing Arts Center, the YMCA and the aquatic center. The project is also using native vegetation and wetlands to control storm-water runoff. Rain gardens will be built in West Village to help soak up rainwater, instead of piping the runoff to a storm ditch that doesn't create an environment. Here, the runoff pond would become a natural habitat.

"It's a flagship for us," said David Schermer, general manager of Mountain Ridge Development LLC, a construction division of DP Fox based in Ada.

Prices for West Village homes haven't been set yet, but Rothwell said they hope to have two models, a ranch and a two-story, open in time for next fall's Parade of Homes.

"It's a little aggressive, but I think we can get it in," he said.

One thing that is set, however, is that buyers will be able to design their homes through a software database that DP Fox first began offering less than a year ago.

"We've had very good feedback on it," said Rothwell.

Home Ensemble is providing the architectural plans, the software selection and assisting Mountain Ridge with the design of the interior packages for West Village. Mountain Ridge will build the homes and do the landscaping.

Home Ensemble and Mountain Ridge are doing similar work on another master-planned neighborhood that DP Fox unveiled last year called Saddleback Village.

Saddleback offers 31 homes on 20 acres near the intersection of Michigan Street and Crahen Avenue, also in Ada and the Forest Hills Public Schools District. Seven of those acres have been set aside for green space. About a third of the two-story homes, also designed by buyers, have sold since DP Fox unveiled Saddleback last spring.

One model is open, one was sold, and another should be finished by April 1.

"That one is being registered for the spring Parade of Homes," said Monica Sekulah of DP Fox.

The Saddleback homes range from 2,200 square feet to 3,000 square feet. Buyers can chose from 50 elevations and eight floor plans. Colonial, Tudor, Bungalow and American Four Square are a few of the styles offered. Prices range from $375,000 to $500,000. A buyer can design a home and take possession within six months.

"Once a plan is picked it's pulled out of inventory. So no two families are going to have the same house," said Schermer.

Saddleback Village marked the first time this type of design process was used in the market, and DP Fox said the method gives buyers the experience of having a custom-built home without the hassles of having to coordinate everything themselves. DP Fox will use the same design process for West Village.

Rothwell said DP Fox, owned by Dan and Pamella DeVos, strongly feels there is a market for smaller-lot developments in Ada — like the Saddleback Village and West Village developments.

"Oh, absolutely, we do see a need for housing especially in that location and that school district," said Rothwell.

"It's in the western portion of Ada Township and absolutely we see a demand for a more affordable price than some of the large-lot developments in Ada," he said. "Especially for something that has a bit of a neighborhood feel to it with sidewalks and common space."

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