Reporter's notebook: Home construction taking off on West Shore
Take a drive down Lisburn Road in Lower Allen Township, out past Slate Hill Road and the Towns at Meridian, and you will find a whole new town coming out of the ground, literally.
I'm talking about Arcona, the ambitious mixed-use community that Charter Homes & Neighborhoods is building at the intersection of Arcona Road.
Construction has taken off over the last year on the traditional neighborhood development that spans almost 250 acres.
Six businesses are now open in the community, including newly opened Bevrore Contemporary Portraits. A new restaurant also is on the way.
Home sales have been equally strong, President Rob Bowman told me last week. There have been 42 sales so far, including 24 this year.
Charter expects around 75 homeowners to be living in the Arcona community by the end of the year.
This fall, the homebuilder will open Arcona Park, a 50-acre park with 1.5 miles of nature trails.
Arcona follows Charter's successful Walden model of the "Great American Neighborhood" in Silver Spring Township in which various phases of development take on separate names within the larger subdivision. Highpoint Arcona is a mix of single-family homes and townhomes, while nearby Arcona Crossroads blends luxury townhomes with businesses.
The different sections enhance Charter’s ability to serve all age groups and give more buyers the ability to live the way they want to live, Bowman has said.
"People want to have places to walk to," he said last week. "Crossroads businesses, trails and parks are just the kind of things people are looking for. The ability to enjoy the outdoors is a huge piece of that."
Charter remains bullish on the West Shore and other parts of Central Pennsylvania, said Bowman, who is always on the lookout for the next big tract for these large community projects. At least 60 acres is the goal, he said.
Meanwhile, in nearby Fairview Township, Lemoyne builder R&L Homes has shifted its focus from townhomes to single-family homes with its Tall Oaks project off Lewisberry Road.
In partnership with RSR Realtors, R&L is offering 18 lots that range in size from one-half acre to seven acres, some with views of the Susquehanna River and even the state Capitol dome. Home prices are expected to start in the low $300,000s.
"They are trying to diversify as a builder," said Garrett Rothman, RSR's broker and the listing agent on the new community, which is nestled behind the homes of Timber Ridge.
Tall Oaks is an opportunity for buyers who want to be part of a community, but not a monster development, Rothman said. It also has easy access to Interstate 83 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which could be appealing for commuters who work on the East or West shores, he said.
With the housing market on the rise and a lower active sales inventory, demand for new single-family homes also is up, which should help R&L and other builders.
"I'm actively pursuing other land for them for more projects," Rothman said.