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Slowed Development

Ashwood Park, a new subdivision in Naperville, attracted one-third of the users projcted by its developers

Steve Dano, the sales manager for Crestview Builders, at the site of the stalled Ashwood Park subdivision in Naperville.
Steve Dano, the sales manager for Crestview Builders, at the site of the stalled Ashwood Park subdivision in Naperville.

 

The multiple gables of the red brick Ashwood Club signal that this $7-million facility aims to be a social and recreational anchor for the families living in the million-dollar homes in Ashwood Park, a new subdivision in far southwestern Naperville.

The two-year-old club features three pools, handsome social rooms, and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. But the place is rather quiet these days, attracting about one-third of the users projected by its developers, Crestview Builders and Macom Corporation. That’s in line with what has happened at the subdivision: Ashwood Park is about one-third built, with for-sale notices lining some streets like old Burma Shave signs.

A seven-person company that has been building in Naperville since the late 1970s, Crestview controls 251 one-third-acre lots in the north half of Ashwood Park. In 2006, the company had originally planned to build out the development in three phases over six to ten years, says Steve Dano, Crestview’s sales manager. But at this point, only 91 of the 109 lots from the first phase have been sold, and Dano doesn’t expect to sell more than another two or three by the end of the year. The second and third sets of lots have been put on ice. “We realize how much things have changed,” Dano says. “We will reopen those when the economy changes.”

Not all the sold lots have houses on them; in several cases, smaller builders bought a set of five to ten of Crestview’s lots, built on the first few, and are now waiting to sell those houses before building more. Lack of demand has cut the prices on vacant lots—they used to go for about $270,000 to $310,000; by June they were moving, if they moved at all, for $200,000 to $240,000, a drop of almost 25 percent.

At the same time, builders and their clients are opting to put up less lavish homes. “Our original plan for all the homes was to be in the $1-million to $2-million range, but our expectations have dropped about 20 percent,” Dano says. “But everybody’s expectations of everything are different now.”

 

Photograph by Bob Coscarelli; photo assistant: Matthew Allen

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