March 26th, 2015
Marketplace & Main in Hopkins is a mixed use urban development that has proved a lot of naysayers wrong with its success. Spearheaded by The Beard Group, the project involved redeveloping 1.5 city blocks in downtown Hopkins. The BeardGroup had acquired the former Hopkins Honda Body Shop and used car sales lot on Main Street in Hopkins.
The plan was to develop a residential and commercial project that ultimately included the 53-unit Marketplace & Main apartments, 6,000 square feet of retail space, a medical office building and seven for-sale townhomes. The townhome portion of the project faced a number of unique challenges. One of the biggest challenges was the site itself. The townhomes were situated on a small, triangular piece of ground that was only slightly larger than 1 acre. The entrance to the townhomes also fronted directly on Main Street, just steps from the city sidewalk.
- The Project: Centra Homes had the task of developing and marketing three-story attached townhomes as part of a larger mixed-use urban redevelopment in Hopkins.
- The Challenge: Some of the unique aspects of the project included developing the townhomes on a very small, triangular-shaped site that fronted directly on Mainstreet. The market-rate row townhomes in the heart of the city’s downtown also were a new and untested product for Hopkins.
- The Solution: Centra Homes built the high quality homes on a speculative basis, and all of the homes ended up selling within 60 days.
“Even though they are developed in close proximity to the public realm, they had to be designed so that there was some privacy between the city sidewalk and the street,” says Bill Beard, owner of TheBeard Group.
The purchase price for the three-story townhomes averaged about $350,000, and the urban row townhomes were a completely unproven type of housing product for the market. Initially, the townhomes were a tough sell. It was a difficult concept for people to visualize, especially at a higher price point. The Beard Group worked on pre-sales for the units for almost two years with no luck. So, in 2013 the firm brought in Centra Homes to build the townhomes on a speculative basis. The “build it and they will come” idea was a risky one in the midst of a still challenging housing market. “But, we felt very strongly that if they were built, people would come and fall in love with them and buy them,” says Beard. Centra Homes came in and not only built the townhomes on spec, but they also made modifications to the existing plans that enhanced the overall product, such as upgrading the appliances package and some of the interior finishes.
“As we had hoped, they sold as fast as Centra could put them up,” says Beard. “The strength of Centra Homes and their confidence in both their building and their marketing ability to get the job done was terrific.”
In some respects, Marketplace & Main is not a typical project for Centra Homes. The company prefers larger scale developments. However, it did play to the firm’s strength of developing a quality product and a history of tackling challenging projects.
“As a locally owned company, we make local decisions and we come up with solutions that best fit the needs of the community, the home buyer and all of the stakeholders involved,” says Centra Homes Founder and President Dale Wills.
In the case of Marketplace & Main, once the townhomes were completed, they all sold within 60 days. “The only disappointment is that we only had seven units. We would have loved to have 100 more,” he says.
Posted in City Redevelopments