CLOVER -- What began with Richard Currence planning his retirement home turned into what some say could help jump start the area building industry.
Currence now plans to be the first resident to live in Currence Heritage, a 46-acre patio home community just west of the S.C. 557/55 intersection in Clover.
"We just feel like this is a local project, and it deserves the attention of the local people," said Ed Johnson, principal of Heritage Developers. "It makes a difference when local people say we want to do something to make the community better."
Johnson, along with Century 21 Palmetto Homes in Clover owner Bobby Meek, plans to break ground in three months on Currence Heritage. The community will include 97 patio homes and 59 townhomes, along with a few acres for commercial properties along S.C. 55.
"Clover is more than ready for something like this," Johnson said. "We believe this is unique, and it really does kick things up a couple of notches."
The project began when Currence came to Johnson with a plan for land belonging to his family for a century. Currence and his wife wanted something that would appeal to the 55 and older set, including themselves.
"We're going to be living there," Currence said.
The plan includes patio homes starting at 1,400 square feet and $200,000 while townhomes would be 1,600 to 1,800 square feet starting at $150,000. Town of Clover utilities and trash pick-up serve the area, and yard maintenance will be covered by the homeowners association for the townhomes, optional for the patio homes.
"It's also a terrific tax advantage from Gaston and Mecklenburg counties, coming across the state line," Currence said.
What sets the development apart from many, Johnson said, is its commitment to York County. Marketing to the retiree set, there should be minimal impact on local schools. Also, up to six local builders will be used, including local subcontractors and material providers.
"This is a good example of smart growth," Johnson said. "We want it to be good for the community in more ways than one."
The community inspiration comes from similar developments in Gaston County. The difference, Johnson and Meek say, is that most of the properties in Currence Heritage back up to open space rather than neighboring homes.
"We just felt like that was important and the land allowed us to do that," Meek said.
The homes will be mostly one-story, though there are no restrictions otherwise. At a recent meeting to gauge interest, about 50 people from Lake Wylie, Clover, Gastonia and York showed up and many expressed interest in buying. That interest, Meek said, is critical in building given the current economy.
"Obviously, we're looking for some commitments before we start," he said.
While a "plain vanilla subdivision," or one not targeting any specific age group or demographic, would make Johnson nervous to try given the economy, he believes Currence Creek fits several community needs. It gives area residents the opportunity downsize, while also creating work for the local building community.
"Not everybody likes a patio home," Johnson said. "If you want a big yard, this isn't the community for you. But for people Richard's age, they don't want to cut grass anymore."
The commercial spaces up front could be anything from a dry cleaner to a coffee shop or convenience station, but will be something that serves the community, Johnson said. The project will be completed in three phases and could take five to seven years. A trail system, park and open space will be included.
Another informational meeting on the new community will be held Dec. 1, at which point developers hope to find even more interested home buyers.