TEGA CAY -- Clearing is under way at Tega Cay's 435-acre Gardendale development, a more than 800-home community that will double the size of the city over the next decade.
Site preparation began recently at the development's "amenity center," which will include kiddy and junior Olympic pools, tennis courts and a 7,000-square foot clubhouse, said Jeff LeForce, project manager for Drake Capital, Gardendale's developer.
The development, which straddles Gardendale Road and extends south to New Grey Rock Road, promises to be a haven for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. It will include 2 miles of walking trails with parks along the way, and more than 140 acres will remain green.
But that's not all.
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Drake Capital donated 10 acres south of New Grey Rock Road to Tega Cay for part of a proposed 100-acre Catawba Park and a new dog park. The city is negotiating with Duke Power for annexation of the other 90 acres, Mayor Bob Runde said Thursday. Negotiations to use the land should be completed in several more months.
According to the development agreement, Drake contributed $550,000 to Tega Cay to help develop park ball fields and complete the community center. Drake also built a $2.5 million sewer line that runs under the Catawba River to connect with the City of Rock Hill's treatment plant, LeForce said.
"I've developed high-end communities all over," LeForce said. "What attracted me to Gardendale was the development concept of Tega Cay -- garden green space highly amenitized."
Developer: Area has "economic vitality"
Toll Brothers, a nationally recognized luxury home builder, will construct Gardendale's first two neighborhoods, LeForce said.
"It's a real positive sign when Toll Brothers picks a community because they are sought after and conduct a lot of research," he said. "It's a good indicator of the economic vitality of this area."
The company was attracted by the area's strong housing market, said Bob Kardos, Toll Brothers vice president of operations for the Charlotte area.
Fort Mill home sales are up 40 percent from the previous year, while home sales nationwide are in a slump, he said. Home appreciation in Charlotte has evidenced a steady 7 percent to 8 percent growth.
Toll Brothers, whose Carolina projects include $500,000 to $600,000 homes at the Marvin Creek recreation community in Waxhaw, N.C., and golf course community at Hampton Hall in Bluffton, will construct Gardendale's first 170 homes, LeForce said.
"We will have two separate villages, and both will be luxury home products," Kordos said. No target price has as yet been set for the homes.
One village is located west of Gardendale Road in the neighborhood where the development's community center will be located. There will be about 80 single-family homes with 95-foot wide lots constructed there. Southeast of that neighborhood on the east side of Gardendale Road, more than 60 homes with 105-foot wide lots will be built.
The wider lots likely will have side garages, some with basement walkouts, LeForce said.
Although Toll Brothers' focus is on luxury homes, home prices in Gardendale will range from the low $200,000s to $750,000, LeForce said.
"There will be price points for everybody," he added. "I can see one of the pods being age-targeted."
Two of Gardendale's communities to the development's northeast and northwest will feature about 130 65-foot-wide lots, and another village to the west is designed for about 180 56-foot lots with small yards, more easily maintainable for empty-nesters, he points out.
The design calls for about 180 70-foot-wide lots in the north-central and south-central villages. About 80 105-foot-wide lots are planned for another tract to Gardendale's southeast near Baxter Village.