Benn’s Grant takes off
Published 5:34 pm Saturday, May 7, 2016
The first residents have moved into Benn’s Grant, a mixed-use development in the Benn’s Church area on Route 10 between Smithfield and Suffolk that has been in the works for more than a decade.
“It’s amazing,” said Mark Edwards, senior vice president of East West Communities, the project’s developer.
Over the years, the mixed-use development has been stalled by economic downturns, a developer that bailed midway through the original project and a community at odds over a proposal to build a Walmart Supercenter as an anchor for the retail development.
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Ryan Homes, the exclusive builder for Benn’s Grant, built and opened the model home last fall.
Since the model home opened in December 2015, Ryan Homes has sold 40 houses — 27 single-family homes and 13 townhomes, Edwards said. The average single-family home sales price is $380,000 and the average townhome sales price, $230,000.
“This is impressive,” Edwards said. “From a home sales standpoint, Benn’s Grant is off to a great start.”
The economy has improved dramatically since the recession, when a booming housing market exploded and new construction ground to a halt nationwide.
Homes sales are up in all of East West’s local developments this year, Edwards said.
Seventeen home have sold this year in the upscale Founders Pointe in Carrollton and nearby Eagle Harbor, also in Carrollton, is out of lots for new construction. Just four waterfront lots remain in The Riverfront, the company’s subdivision in Suffolk’s Harbour View.
“We’ve exceeded our best four-month start to a year since 2006,” Edwards said.
With the exception of the two occupied homes, Benn’s Grant is buzzing with construction activity as builders try to keep up with demand.
While Ryan’s crews are building houses, subcontractors are building roads, storm water drains, water lines and a sewer pump station.
Near the front of the 253-acre site, crews are in the middle of a $5 million, 10-month intersection improvements at Benn’s Church and Brewers Neck boulevards. Approximately $2.5 million eventually will be funded by proffers from developers and landowners connected to Benn’s Grant and two other approved projects, a Riverside expansion and St. Luke’s Village.
The subdivision will eventually have 240 single-family homes and 40 townhouses, built in phases. The first two phases will include 89 single family-homes and 20 townhouses. Single-family homes will range from 2,200- to 3,000-square-feet, with prices ranging from the low $200,000s to the low $400,000s.
As Benn’s Grant gets more residential rooftops, it will attract more attention from retail developers, according to Tripp Ferguson, senior vice president of Harvey Lindsey, the commercial developer handling Benn’s Grant. Although Walmart shelved plans to build a supercenter, Isle of Wight remains on the company’s corporate radar, he said.
Eventually, the development is slated to include 240 apartments, two big-box retailers, a hotel and additional commercial/retail spaces on 70 acres at the front of the property.