Bellwood’s Village Hall-as-homebuilder project sells out

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Built by the village of Bellwood, this house on Randolph Court sold for $259,900 in early April.

A dozen homes built by the village of Bellwood in an effort to instill its housing market with newer and larger houses have all been sold, 18 months after the project launched.

The subdivision, called Randolph Estates, is a response to a situation that Frank Pasquale, the west Cook County town’s former mayor, said had been prompting locals to move away. The housing stock is too small and dated, he told Crain’s in October 2016, when the effort got going.

Village Hall-built houses are 1,840 to 2,150 square feet, according to Peter Tsiolis, president of Strategic Project Management, the Oak Brook firm that managed the project for Bellwood. The older homes in town run about 900 to 1,200 feet, which Pasquale said doesn’t accommodate most families’ needs now.

With 12 houses built and sold, “clearly there was a need for larger homes in Bellwood,” Tsiolis said.

Three Randolph Estates homes have sold since early March, according to Midwest Real Estate Data. The most recent, which sold April 5, was a three-bedroom, 2,150-square-foot brick house that went for $259,900. Tsiolis said within the next 30 days, the last three of the 12, all under contract to buyers, will be completed and the sales finalized. The dozen have sold for $259,000 to $294,500.

Prior to the launch of Randolph Estates, the median price of homes sold in Bellwood was $113,000. The median price for the first quarter of 2018 was nearly $163,000, up about 33 percent from $123,000 a year earlier. No Randolph Estates homes sold in the first quarter of 2017.

“You know, Pete kept on telling me that this was a great idea,” Pasquale told Crain’s in an email this week. “Now I’m damn glad I listened to him.” Pasquale, who was mayor at the time the program launched, retired last year after 16 years in the post.

Raising the median sale price in town was a goal of the project, Tsiolis said, both because “it’s good to see that people are willing to invest substantially more than the median price to be in Bellwood” and because it could catch the attention of commercial homebuilders who hadn’t previously been interested in building in the town.

Before the dozen homes in Randolph Estates, Bellwood had built and sold eight houses in the course of four years, half of them clustered on a Bellwood Avenue site and the other half on Englewood Avenue.

Tsiolis said the town will soon build two more on Englewood.

In 2012, the village allocated $200,000 from its general fund to build the first house, and has rolled over the proceeds from each sale to fund construction of the next house, Tsiolis said. Prices on the earliest houses started at $212,500, and each successive group has been priced higher than the one before.

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