Volume 106, Number 13 - March 26, 2009
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Economy slows further development
by Stephen Crane
After battling for annexation approval just over a year ago, BloomField subdivision is now combating a tough economic climate.
Construction began on the 231-acre site last spring, after developer Matt Harber got approval from Pinedale’s Town Council in February.
By the end of last year’s construction season, Harber’s contractors had started work on the primary infrastructure of the subdivision, including water, sewer and roadways.
Since that time, the national economy has skidded to a halt, struggling with the worst recession in decades.
“What a lot of this has done is pushed us back a few months,” said Harber. “Normally, we would be getting approval for further development by this time, but we’ve had to slow down a bit.”
The primary reason for the slowdown is the economy’s effect on lending practices by banking institutions.
Lenders have become increasingly hesitant to finance new construction projects, despite receiving $250 billion in bailout money that was intended to return some normalcy back to the lending market.
“Everybody is taking the holding position at the moment,” said Harber. “A lot of it’s going to depend on if the banking things get worked out. They’re being affected by a lot of the same (economic) issues.”
Last fall, Harber was optimistic that vertical construction would begin this year. Nowadays, he’s not so sure.
“As far as going vertical with some of the multi-family as well as the mobile home parks, that’ll probably get pushed back a bit,” said Harber. “I’m not sure we’ll have any of the housing going vertical this year.”
The infrastructure work that was started last summer, however, will continue on schedule.
“Most of what we’ve got planned for this summer is with the in-ground infrastructure and work around the streams,” Harber said.
“Our goal is to have all (of Phase I, which is the main BloomField Avenue area) complete, as well as all the work along the stream.”
The developer will also be adding an additional third pond to the subdivision, which will add to the green space and facilitate groundwater conveyance.
“We’ll probably start seeing more activity on the pond work in the beginning of April,” he said.
The continued road construction will have to wait until the saturated ground has time to dry, which Harber estimates to be in June or July.
“Right now, we’re just waiting for the frost lines to go away, for everything to thaw,” said Harber.
Construction on the new elementary school, which is located on about 20 acres at the north end of the site, is also scheduled to begin this June.
“That’s going to move forward,” said Harber. “And that’s going to help get the housing going out there by the school.”
For Harber, the economic downturn doesn’t change the need for affordable housing in the area, where housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years due to the energy boom that has inflated the market. The demand still exists, and he hopes to meet that demand, even if the timeline has been modified.
“(The economy) is going to change the dynamics of how we move forward,” said Harber. “But at the same time, we still plan on moving forward at the same measured pace.
“There’s still a need for affordable housing.”
Photo credits: Stephen Crane
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