CHESTER -- A sluggish economy has delayed progress on a 6,000-acre mixed-use development in Chester County.
But the county is working with the developer to ensure the utilities for Montrose Plantation are in place when the building market improves.
The property is expected to become a commercial, recreational and residential community with up to 8,000 homes and two professional golf courses.
But it could be several years before the first house is built, said Theron Pickens of LandDesign, a Charlotte planning firm working on the project.
"The economy is certainly stifling this quite a bit," he said of the development.
The project is the work of Mel Graham Jr., a developer of Graham Enterprise in Charlotte and nephew of evangelist Billy Graham.
Montrose, named for Graham's ancestor, the first earl of Montrose, will be located off Interstate 77 near mile marker 58.
When Graham announced his plans for Montrose nearly two years ago, he said the community will be three times the size of Ballantyne community in Charlotte.
Montrose will resemble the "horse farms in the hills of Kentucky," Graham said then. There will be stone columns and a horse fence at the Montrose entrance.
Recreation will include a YMCA, pool houses and 1,000 acres of open space, Graham said. Other amenities include plans for medical offices and a school.
The Chester County Council is expected to vote soon on a measure that would expand the boundaries of the local water district to include Montrose.
Graham would pay for the mile-long extension of a water line to the site if the council approves it.
Despite the slow economy, those developing Montrose still are optimistic about the project.
Chester County leaders are holding out hope that by helping the developer get the needed infrastructure now, the site will be ready when the building market improves.
That way, county supervisor Carlisle Roddey said, "all they gotta do is start moving dirt."