Long suppressed by a down economy, subdivision growth is coming back to Hall County but not as fierce as in pre-recession days.
“No one can get the capital to do large-scale developments,” said Frank Norton Jr., president and CEO of The Norton Agency real estate firm in Gainesville and a regional real estate watcher. “And there aren’t any very large pieces of land left — the large pieces of land are in long-term holds.”
Still, subdivisions are starting to percolate on Hall County government agendas. Here’s a look at a few:
• A 150-lot subdivision on Buffington Farm Road in North Hall County was given the Planning Commission’s OK on March 7. The development would be about three miles from the Gateway Industrial Centre and would have a similar lot size as Gateway Village, a proposed mixed-use development on the opposite side of Ga. 365.
• A 50-home subdivision on Conner Road off Jim Crow Road in South Hall was given the Hall planners’ approval on March 7.
• A subdivision with up to 130 homes on Spout Springs Road in South Hall was given the go-ahead Feb. 25 by the Hall County Board of Commissioners. The subdivision would be on 53 acres off Quincy Drive near Union Circle.
• In 2015, the county commission approved a 99-lot subdivision off Cool Springs Road in northwest Hall and a 36-lot subdivision off Friendship Road in South Hall.
Cameron Henderson, president of JH Homes, said he is particularly drawn to South Hall because of the small inventory of available homes.
Basically, “there are no new homes,” he said.
“It’s a great area,” Henderson said. “The Spout Springs (area) has totally exploded over the last couple of years. It’s a busy area.”
He believes housing is going strong again for several reasons, including “people have (buying) confidence again.”
“We’re able to borrow money again, and interest rates have stayed down for quite a while now,” Henderson said.
Also, subdivisions are emerging out of ones that failed during the 2007-09 Great Recession.
Harbour Lights on Lights Ferry Road in Flowery Branch is one example.
The new development, which held a grand opening with city officials on March 10, will feature 85 lots, including a first-phase 58 lots, city planner John McHenry said.
The site was originally approved in 2006 for 157 homes, as the third phase of the Tidewater Cove development.
“This was a stalled (development) due to the recession, and we’re glad to see (it) now build out,” McHenry said.
If you search for Laurel Glen Court in Gainesville on Google, then do a street view, you’ll find the start of the Laurel Glen subdivision — but also that it clearly never got off the ground.
A locked gate is draped across the main entrance and vegetation is overgrown, obscuring the stone subdivision sign.
Today’s a different story. The vegetation is cleared and grading for houses is underway.
Also, the last phase of Crawford Oaks subdivision off Old Flowery Branch Road, between McEver and Mundy Mill roads, is being built.
“It’s good to see that those two projects, which already have some infrastructure invested, are moving forward,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said.
Gainesville also has seen a strong increase in housing permits over the past few years, increasing from 47 in 2011 to 404 last year, said Matt Tate, planning manager.
Much of those are in subdivisions — Amberleigh, Cresswind, Heritage Pointe, Mundy Mill and The Gardens — and Candler Park and Clarks Bridge condominium complexes.