Waiting for the recovery
Some new urbanist developers are shifting to infill projects rather than hope for revival of suburban traditional neighborhood developments.
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When I ran into Steve Maun a few weeks ago, I asked how Warwick Grove, his traditional neighborhood development 55 miles north-northwest of Midtown Manhattan, was faring. “Getting people to come out to Warwick to buy homes is like pulling teeth,” he candidly replied.
“It’s a painful business,” Maun, president of LeylandAlliance, said of his specialty—developing traditional neighborhood developments such as the 130-acre project in Warwick, New York, and the 200-acre Hammond’s Ferry TND in North Augusta, South Carolina.
No surprise there. Five years after the beginning of the nation’s housing bust and nearly four years after the global financial crisis, most developers of TNDs are struggling. Some are doing better than developers of conventional, separate-use subdivisions, but generally, 2012 is shaping up to be another fairly sparse year for homebuilding in the suburbs, including TNDs.
Total sales of new housing in the US will surpass last year’s performance, most analysts predict, but will still be much lower than in the years before the bust.
“New urbanist developers are hanging on,” Maun observed. ”Their definition of success is ‘not handing the keys over to the bank.’ Sales are very slow.”
In the years ahead, he suggested, “There will be no more new TNDs. Developers