Real Deals

Real Deals: Oakwood North residential infill project near downtown set to begin

dbracken@newsobserver.comApril 23, 2014 

— This weekend prospective homebuyers will have their first opportunity to view the model home in KB Home’s newest community, Oakwood North.

About 2 miles north of downtown, the subdivision represents one of the last large infill projects in that part of the city.

“There are very, very few opportunities like this … to find 10.77 acres inside the Beltline that’s vacant where we could put 39 single-family homes,” said Tom Sewitsky, KB’s local division president. “… Based on our research, there just aren’t any more of these parcels available with this proximity to downtown.”

Of course, those familiar with downtown geography may take issue with the project playing on the reputation of historic Oakwood. But, with or without the Oakwood name, KB is likely to see plenty of demand for new homes that will be significantly larger than many of those found in the established surrounding neighborhoods.

The homes will range from 1,881 square feet to 2,741 square feet. Prices will start in the $320,000s and go as high as the upper $350,000s. Last year, there were 178 homes sold inside the Beltline that were priced in the $300,000s, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Services. That was up from 149 in 2012.

KB is now active in eight other communities in the Triangle, and the homes offered at Oakwood North include features found here as well as elsewhere around the country.

Sewitsky said before KB settled on what type of models to offer in the community, its executives sat down with several established real estate agents in the area to get a sense of what buyers were looking for. Among the features that came out of those discussions were HardiePlank siding, 9-foot ceilings on the first floor and an overall higher level of finishes than found in some other new home construction around the Triangle.

“And we’ve been able to provide that,” Sewitsky said.

The Oakwood North site was originally put under contract by developer GS Carolina in June 2012. KB later took over the contract, paying $1.6 million for the land in October.

Infill projects such as Oakwood North have become increasingly attractive to large builders as residential land in the Triangle has become more scarce. In February, Pulte Homes paid $1.425 million for one of the last bits of undeveloped land on Edwards Mill Road. The builder plans to put 26 high-end townhouses on the site.

“It’s certainly difficult to find good land opportunities,” Sewitsky said. “It is becoming more scarce. It is becoming more expensive. The land sellers have become more savvy.”

Oakwood North joins a growing list of townhouse and apartment projects near downtown now under construction. The only other single-family project of comparable size is Dorothea Gardens, a 25-home community being built near Boylan Heights just west of downtown Raleigh. That project is offering 1,200- to 2,000-square-foot homes modeled after early 1920s designs.

Although KB is opening up its model this weekend to the public, the builder at this point is just taking down names of people interested in buying. At the moment that list includes more than 70 names, Sewitsky said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548 or dbracken@newsobserver.com; Twitter: @brackendavid

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