STEUBENVILLE - Though it started right at the beginning of the Great Recession, the Mission Pointe condominium subdivision in Country Club Hills has reached beyond the middle point of its planned construction.
Realtor Janice Adrian of Gary Cain Realtors and Auctioneers, said 18 of the planned 28 units have been sold. Of the 10 left, there is a mix of units to be built on slabs and on basements.
The economy has been uncertain in recent weeks, but that doesn't seem to affect the sudden pickup in the demand to complete homes in the development, she said.
NEIGHBORHOOD GROWS — Mission Pointe in Country?Club Hills in Steubenville’s West End entered its construction phase in late 2007, about the time the worst recession since the 1930s began. The subdivision’s continued growth and development has weathered the economic storm and now stands with just 10 of a planned 28 units remaining to be sold. - Paul Giannamore
"It's carefree living. There's no shoveling of snow or mowing of the grass. The homes are beautiful and well built," she said.
Contractor Rob Strobel of Strobel Construction, and his partners in the GenPro LLC investment said, "People waited for three years on housing. The banking industry was being cautious. We see now that while the economy is not that great yet, people seem to be at the point where they want to do something."
He noted Mission Pointe is the only full residential development under construction at the present time within the city. The condo units, two to a building, offer great efficiency with 2-by-6 walls with blown-in insulation. The money that many residents so far say they save helps offset their condo association fees, Adrian said, and she noted those savings are combined with a lower cost for condo insurance compared with homeowners' insurance.
Mission Pointe consists of tidy, single-story brick-and-stone trimmed buildings with two-car garages, nine-foot ceilings inside, modern kitchens and other amenities.
Mission Pointe's lengthy gestation wasn't originally just because of the economy. Strobel and the investors had hoped to begin construction of Eldorado Drive far earlier than the end of 2007, but the project had to meet a variety of requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers over a tiny stream, wetlands and runoff controls.
Throughout, Strobel maintained hope that the project would continue, and he says he's been very busy working on several units at once this summer. Two years ago, there were five occupied residences in the subdivision.
The investors avoided construction on speculation, which caused a boom-and-bust cycle for builders in many larger communities. Units at Mission Pointe are built as they are ordered, meaning Strobel and the investors didn't have to buy materials for homes without buyers.
So, now, as the final 10 or so units will be built when they're sold, Adrian said the traffic in local real estate has remained steady throughout the recessionary period and back into the recent uptick in the economy.
"We weren't invited to the party in the first place," she said, noting she's spent her 24-year realty career heading through ups and downs. Strobel said the Pittsburgh region has been more stable than other parts of the nation in the price of residences.
Adrian added, "We're busy for homes that are priced right and in a good location. They're selling. And it's a buyer's market now, which is unusual for Steubenville. Usually, there hasn't been new construction and people waited for the right house that someone held until they passed on when they died. Now, it seems like the banks are still being a little tough, but loans are going through."