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Westward ho: rush to West Little Rock shows no signs of fading.

IF BUILDING PERMITS AND future expansion plans are an indicator, the pace of residential development in west Little Rock is beginning to resemble a modern-day gold rush.

Rather than gold, plush new homes in a variety of price ranges are luring people west.

West Little Rock claimed eight of the top 10 Pulaski County subdivisions last year, based on the number of building permits issued.

Since Deltic Farm & Timber Co. began developing the upscale Chenal Valley residential area in late 1989, development in west Little Rock has had a brushfire effect.

And the area is no longer the exclusive domain of the pricey home buyer. Moderately priced subdivisions are getting their fair share of the buyers' pie.

One of those subdivisions, Cherry Creek, located off Bowman Road south of Kanis Road, was the No. 1 development in Pulaski County last year.

Builders report that new homes in Cherry Creek are selling as soon as they get the interior walls up. Since development began there in August 1991, three phases with 120 total home sites have sold.

Ron Tyne, president of Winrock Development Co., which has developed Cherry Creek, says the company started a fourth phase of the subdivision in early February. That phase consists of 38 lots.

"We'll probably have another five to eight phases after this," Tyne says.

The developer also will open another similar subdivision, called Sandpiper Creek, just down the road this spring.
Top 10 Subdivisions(*)
Subdivision No. of Total
1. Cherry Creek(WLR) 71 8.1%
2. Bascom Place(WLR) 57 6.5%
3. St. Michael(WLR) 49 5.6%
4. Longlea(WLR) 34 3.9%
5. DuClair Court(LR) 30 3.4%
5. Point West(WLR) 30 3.4%
6. St. Charles(WLR) 29 3.3%
7. Secluded Hills(WLR) 28 3.2%
8. St. Thomas(MAU) 20 2.3%
9. Windsor Valley(NLR/SHWD) 19 2.2%
10. Countryside(NLR) 17 1.9%
Total 384
* Based on building permits recorded in 1992 in incorporated
areas of Pulaski County.

Cherry Creek's boom indicates the subdivision is reaching its intended market. Lots in Cherry Creek average $19,000-$20,000.

The subdivision has caught on with the population segment demographers have labeled "DINKs" (double-income, no kids).

"|It~ is designed to target a market beginning around $85,000 and it goes up to $110,000 -- possibly a bit over that now -- that's a very big market segment," Tyne says. "Although there are some retirees in there, most of the buyers are young professionals in their mid- to late 20s up to late 30s -- two-income families. Some have children; probably most of them don't."

Sold Out

Meanwhile, the Point West subdivision is attracting many single professionals.

About 43 homes were sold in that west Little Rock subdivision last year. The subdivision's sole builder, Cornerstone Development Co., was the county's top builder last year based on the number of permits issued. Cornerstone assumed 37 remaining lots from another developer in 1991.

"We've completely sold that out," says Lou Barsotti, Cornerstone's sales manager and marketing director. "We've opened up a new phase with 33 lots and we only have eight left in that phase."

He says the average home in the subdivision, located off Kanis Road, is 1,300-1,400 SF and priced in the $70,000 range.

The area is attracting mostly first-time home buyers and many singles, Barsotti says.

"It's sizzling," he says, attributing the subdivision's popularity to its pricing and west Little Rock location.

While low interest rates are drawing many first-time home buyers into the market to areas such as Cherry Creek and Point West, established homeowners are seizing the opportunity to buy bigger, more expensive homes.

This creates a "trickle-up" effect, says Jack McCray, real estate manager for Deltic Farm & Timber.

Deltic has had six residential development phases so far in Chenal Valley. That accounts for about 300 home sites, only nine of which remain unsold, McCray says.

Two Chenal Valley subdivisions were among the 10 hottest in 1992: Bascom Place ranked second in building activity; DuClair Court was fifth.

Lot prices in the Chenal Valley neighborhoods have ranged from $22,950-$175,000 for choice golf course lots. Homes have been purchased for $160,000 on the low end, though the majority of homes hover well over $200,000 and many above $500,000.

McCray says people have been attracted to Chenal Valley because it is a planned community, with all the attendant controls in place to ensure no undesirable surprises.

In the next 12 months, Deltic plans to bring on line six more neighborhoods consisting of about 350 lots, not all of them upper end.

"About 140 of those will be in that $110,000-$150,000 segment," McCray says. "That's the largest segment of the market. Approximately 39 percent of the new homes built in this market are in that segment."

Over the next three years, Deltic plans development of 4,300 acres, much of it on Chenal Valley's north slope, south of state Highway 10, but McCray says that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"We're still in our infancy," he says. "We're just really getting started. We've got 7,000 acres in this one tract that's contiguous and we've planned and zoned 4,300 acres of that so we've still got a lot of property to develop."
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Title Annotation:housing development in Little Rock, Arkansas
Author:Walters, Dixie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Mar 8, 1993
Previous Article:Homeward bound.
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