Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sweetwater units up for sale

Tennessee developer squares up with Hailey

Express Staff Writer

Sweetwater Community townhouses, on the corner of Countryside and Woodside boulevards in Hailey, are back on the market after Tennessee developer J. Kevin Adams paid fees owed to the city. Photo by Mountain Express

The largest planned residential development in Blaine County's history is back on track after Tennessee developer J. Kevin Adams paid last week $330,000 he owed to the city of Hailey, thereby allowing him to record a final plat and begin selling units.

"We have no obligations with the city now. There is nothing holding us back," Adams said.

Sweetwater Community, a 421-unit, 21-acre development planned for the Woodside subdivision, suspended operations in October 2008 after the national real estate bubble burst. Only 49 completed and 22 uncompleted townhouse units have been built on the corner of Woodside and Countryside boulevards. None have been sold.

Adams said the original mortgage on the Sweetwater property was bought by an investment group at a discount that enabled it to give better terms, allowing the project to stay afloat and to pay the city and local creditors.

"Now it's a viable project that can be sold in today's market," Adams said.

Adams said the completed units will be sold at about a 50 percent discount from peak market prices three years ago.

The payment to the city will fund a traffic signal, landscaping and a security bond.

"Now that the payments have been made, we are back to where we should have been," City Attorney Ned Williamson said.

Adams said he will present landscaping plans to the City Council within two weeks, aimed at cleaning up areas around the development.

"The city of Hailey will be proud of what they have there," he said.

Five of the 49 completed units, or 10 percent, will be sold as "workforce housing" units to meet Hailey affordable housing ordinance requirements. Ownership will be limited to people who work in the area and use the townhouses as a primary residence. The cost of the housing units will be set by the developer.

"There is no specific formula for workforce affordable housing unit prices, but a rule of thumb is that they cost about 30 percent less than market rate," said Blaine County Housing Authority Executive Administrator Kathy Grotto. "This is not the standard type of affordable housing the Housing Authority offers, which are based on income compared to area median income."

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