Devon Wegner and Robert Dover are just two of several developers working to make Norfolk’s housing shortage much less of an issue in the months to come.
Consider the Dana Point Development Corporation part of that effort, too.
Wegner, who is from Lincoln, is expanding the Blackberry Heights subdivision in the northwest part of Norfolk, while Dover is focusing on Meadow Ridge, located in northeast Norfolk, and is also involved with Wyndham Hills, which is north of the Eldorado Hills Golf Course. Dana Point, which is based in California, is working on its Madison Villas project at the intersection of South Victory Road and West Pasewalk Avenue.
Wegner recently acquired 35 acres to the north of the existing Blackberry Hills subdivision and soon will purchase another 55 acres to the west of there.
“The initial phases of the project will be developing single-family and townhouse lots along 25th Street to sell to local builders and people looking to build in the future,” Wegner said. “I know from discussions with local builders and city officials that there is a lack of available residential lots, so I encourage interested parties to contact us.”
Wegner said the new lots being will be similar to those of the original Blackberry Heights subdivision in size and building covenants. He anticipates that lots will be available for pre-sale early this fall and ready to be built on in the late spring of 2018.
Wegner has a positive impression of Norfolk from past experience developing in the city.
“A year ago, I was involved in purchasing a medical office building in Norfolk and could not have been more impressed with the community,” Wegner said. “I think there are opportunities for developers in cities these sizes that are progressive like Norfolk.”
Wegner also speaks well of his experience working with City of Norfolk officials.
“Over the last few years, I have looked at residential development projects in several towns across Nebraska that had a strong need for housing, but each one did not work out for various reasons,” Wegner said. “During the due diligence period while we had this land under contract, it was apparent that the City of Norfolk officials would be very supportive of our project to bring a larger-sized development to town.”
Meanwhile, Dover said the expansion of Meadow Ridge will lead to a continual opening of residences over the next 2-3 years. His expansion includes 18 duplex units and seven single-family lots that will be sold to Granville Homes.
“At Meadow Ridge, we’re basically building (residences) for retirees,” Dover said. “But we’re actually seeing other ages now besides retirees moving into Meadow Ridge. We’re opening up a new phase this year yet.”
Dover said that Wyndham Hills will be opening up 15 lots. He expects to go before the city council in July to finish the redevelopment plan, which would allow for tax-increment financing. Dover expects to be building in Wyndham Hills this year and for homeowners to be able to move in during the spring of 2018.
Both developments could also free up existing housing in Norfolk, increasing the availability of affordable housing in town.
“You can’t build the houses that the younger families need — that they can afford usually,” said Ann Dover, who is Robert Dover’s wife and works with him in real estate. “We’ve got to try to find some areas to free up existing houses that these families will take and move into, so that those houses can become available in the price ranges that are needed that you can’t build in.”
Ann Dover said getting the infrastructure and streets in the developments is often the hardest part
“That’s the time-consuming part is getting that ready, so that when they do start moving their dirt, that we can be ready to build those houses,” Ann Dover said. “Hopefully the houses that we’re going to build are going to be for the people that are already here (and will) free up housing for (others).”
Matt Thomas, Dana Point president, said his company recently received funding approval from the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for the Madison Villas project.
The duplex-family project will consist of 20 newly constructed duplex-family homes. The project will consist of three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes, at approximately 1,425 square feet. Each unit will include attached single car garages. Exterior amenities will include brick and stone accents, covered back porches, raised garden beds and some Green Built standards.
“We are very excited to provide great homes to the community of Norfolk," Thomas said.