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After many years, Woodland Hills is underway; ten-phase project will add 440 homes

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 5/16/18

There’s nothing quite like the look and smell of a brand new home.

It’s a look and smell Middletown hasn’t seen much of in recent years. But expect to start seeing a lot more of …

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After many years, Woodland Hills is underway; ten-phase project will add 440 homes

Posted

There’s nothing quite like the look and smell of a brand new home.

It’s a look and smell Middletown hasn’t seen much of in recent years. But expect to start seeing a lot more of it over the next several years, as the Woodland Hills development unfolds.

To be located on 168 acres running from just off North Union Street east to Vine Street, Woodland Hills is by far the largest undeveloped area in Middletown available for new homes.

A total of 440 new homes are to be constructed in Woodland Hills over 10 different phases of development; including 150 apartments, 125 townhouses, 119 single-family detached homes, and 46 semidetached homes. That’s according to plans that have been submitted to the borough by Woodland Hills’ developers H-T Partners.

Earlier this spring, Woodland Hills’ builder CB Burkholder finished the first model home for the development at 103 Sage Blvd. on the North Union Street side.

CB Burkholder is showing the model home to prospective buyers. The Woodland Hills sales center opened on Monday.

The center is attached to the “Finch” floor plan model home. The two-story 2,000 square-foot Finch has four bedrooms, three full baths, a full basement, and a two-car garage.

The Finch has natural gas, which is touted as a selling point for the development as a whole, said Don Beachy, a salesman for Woodland Hills and CB Burkholder.

Middletown borough is providing electricity to Woodland Hills. The power lines are underground — not typical for Middletown but standard for new-home developments today, Beachy said.

The Finch sells for $244,000. However, as a model for the development, the home has extra amenities that would list it for $278,244. The model home is not for sale now, although it will be eventually, Beachy said.

The apartments are to rent for $1,195 per month for a one-bedroom/one-bathroom, and $1,350 for a two-bedroom/two-bathroom.

Phases to come

The Finch is one of four semi-detached model homes that are part of phase 1 of Woodland Hills.

The remaining 150 units in phase 1 are apartments that will be clustered in five buildings. The apartments are being constructed by Forino, a builder based in Sinking Spring.

Site work toward completing the foundation of the first of the five apartment buildings is underway across from the sales center and model home.

The first apartment building is to be available by Jan. 1 2019, and the fifth is to be completed by September 2019.

Marketing and sales of the apartments is being handled by a management company completely separate from H-T Partners and CB Burkholder.

H-T Partners also has final plan approval for phase 2, to be directly north of phase 1 and to consist of 29 units, including 20 semi-detached homes and nine townhouses.

On May 1, Middletown Borough Council unanimously approved final plans for phase 3; another 29 units consisting of single-family homes and townhouses, according to the plan.

Councilor Robert Reid, the borough’s former longtime mayor, enthusiastically cast the motion to approve phase 3.

“I’ve been waiting for 35 years for something to be built out there. Finally. Thank God,” Reid said.

Paving delayed

While marketing has stepped up with the opening of the sales center, no homes have been sold in Woodland Hills yet and CB Burkholder has not started building any other new homes yet.

The builder is waiting for paving to be completed in front of phase 2, Beachy said.

The paving is done in front of phase 1, but “we are six weeks behind” doing the paving in front of the units to be built for phase 2, because of all the rain we have been getting, said Tom Kile, who with his son Gregory Kile makes up H-T Partners, based in Landisville, Lancaster County.

“People want to walk down the street” for a better sense of where their new home will be built, Kile said.

CB Burkholder will start building the phase 2 homes “as soon as we can,” Beachy said. “We’re taking orders for new homes in phase 2, beginning with semi-detached homes.”

The phase 2 units will be priced from $217,000 to $244,000.

Street-paving for the single-family units in phase 3 is expected this fall. Kile doesn’t see phase 4 construction until 2019, but H-T Partners will be seeking final plan approval from council as “we like to have plans approved on the shelf” well ahead of building.

Patience

Kile comes across as patient, a trait that has served him well for all the years it has taken H-T Partners to get Woodland Hills going. H-T Partners has owned the land since 2004.

“It feels real good. We’re pleased to finally be off the ground. CB Burkholder is a great builder,” Kile said. “We’ve had lots of challenges over the years, not the least of which was the downturn in the economy and transitions in borough administration. We’re getting lots of support from the borough now, so we are really pleased with that.”

Beachy in recent weeks has been closing up shop at  Green Park, a 375-unit new-home development that CB Burkholder has built in Mount Joy.

Green Park has done very well, Beachy said, noting “we have only one more lot” available. The experience at Green Park bodes well for Woodland Hills, he said.

“From our perspective the last two years we’ve seen a very strong market. Realtors in Lancaster County tell me over and over there’s not enough inventory for our new homes. It’s been very strong. I don’t know the Dauphin County market as well, but I anticipate similar conditions to Lancaster.”

Downsizing remains a strong trend in the market. Most of the homes in Woodland Hills will offer a master bedroom on the first floor.

There’s also what Beachy calls the “multi-generational situation,” where young families are wanting a new home with enough space and bedrooms to accommodate aging parents moving in.