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    Category: Spec Homes

    Foster families needed in southern Illinois – WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois – WSIL TV - December 14, 2019 by admin

    (WSIL) -- Lutheran Social Services of Illinois needs your help. The number of foster children in care far outweighs the number of foster families available.

    "We have a list of foster homes that we go through calling for placements, and then once we run out of homes on our list, we move to other agencies," explains child welfare specialist Brandi Campbell.

    Amanda Isaac is a licensed foster parent with the agency. She says her phone will sometimes ring two to three times a week.

    "I am a specialized home, there's not a lot of specialized homes, they're called "spec homes." Itake children that have special needs, and we take care of those needs, whatever those needs look like," says Isaac.

    Isaac says that being a foster parent is no easy task, but she does it for the kids.

    "Sometimes it is hard to deal with the emotional side of things.It is hard as a foster parent to watch what these kids go through, because a lot of times it's the kids that's hurt, that you see them hurt."

    Campbell says a foster parent needs to provide a stable, secure home for the child as well aswork with caseworkers, counselors, or any therapists involved in the case. While the process might seem overwhelming, the agency is ready to walk foster parents through every step.

    "Fostering is for some people, and fostering is not for some people.I wouldn't change it for the world," adds Isaac.

    If you're interested in learning more about being a foster parent, call Lutheran Social Services at 888-322-5774 or email to talk to a resource officer. The agency also offers orientation meetings for prospective parents.

    To qualify to be a foster parent, Lutheran Social Services says you:

    See the rest here:

    Foster families needed in southern Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois - WSIL TV

    Best of the North West | Irwell Riverside, Salford – Place North West - December 14, 2019 by admin

    12 Dec 2019, 16:35

    In 2000s Britain, the regeneration projects in the North West were some of the biggest weve attempted, with single-phase masterplanning of former industrial sites being done on an enormous scale; in Salford Quays for example, or the development of the shopping centre, Liverpool One, writes Jon Wright of Purcell.

    The North West is powerfully visible as a place where some of these things happened first or are happening better than anywhere else in the country, with a tremendous sense of both a dynamic future and a very dynamic past, both ahead of them and behind them.

    The Irwell Riverside project is a series of factory-built houses located in Salford, on the banks of the River Irwell. The buildings are effectively a brand-new concept for mass housing that could continue to be wheeled out. Irwell Riverside was designed by ShedKM for Urban Splash with a starkly modern aesthetic white, black, flashes of primary colour on a riverside cleverly exploiting a modular redesign for repeating townhouses.

    Although the buildings were factory made and delivered to site fully-finished, they have a modernity and permanence about them. We probably negatively associate pre-fabrication with the provision of low-cost houses following the war, but its characteristic of good architecture: to challenge conventions and recycle fundamentally good ideas.

    It reminded me of some of the Homes fit for Heroes prefab architecture, and how smart that scheme was, particularly in the North West where terraced housing i.e. workers housing, was a particularly prevalent vernacular. The Irwell Riverside project reimagines this vernacular and aligns three things: factory finishing, high design spec and quality.

    The development reflects the North Wests dynamic past and future. The terraced house is a British phenomenon that began with the townhouses of London built after the Great Fire. This typology has been reimagined by ShedKM to include notions of individuality and compositional repetition, linking the North Wests industrial past with evolution towards a new future.

    The North West is an interesting lens to look through. British architecture has moved from a fairly paternalistic view of placemaking, to the argument which arose in the 1980s and 90s about the relationship between public and private space within the public realm. Developments previously were either purely commercial or purely residential, as seen in schemes like Canary Wharf in London, and didnt respond to the historic environment. This is not Las Vegas in the 1950s; wherever you build there is a history, a heritage, it doesnt matter if you can see it or not.

    The North West defined the yardstick by which large-scale regeneration of former industrial landscapes, fringes and urban environments were redeveloped; where heritage, placemaking, masterplanning and new architecture came together. The Irwell Riverside project is an interesting reflection on the value of terrace housing and how attractive modular repetition can be if you get it right, and is particularly interesting considering 10 years ago the Government was proposing the Pathfinder Scheme, to basically knock it all down.

    The value of terrace housing is in its economy and in its importance as a framework for community.


    Best of the North West | Irwell Riverside, Salford - Place North West

    Jet-setting to follow the money – The Real Deal - December 9, 2019 by admin

    Aerial view of Aspen, Colorado

    When the yachts go south and it becomes less of a feat to get a reservation at the East Hampton Grill or other local haunts, the residential brokers in the Hamptons have to come up with creative ways to network and keep their pipeline of business flowing.

    Some globetrot to chase down clients. Others meet with potential clients in Manhattan. And many keep contractors on track.

    The fall is kind of a breather, but its also really a time to set yourself up for the winter and spring, said Brown Harris Stevens agent Christopher Burnside.

    And different brokers, of course, take different approaches to doing that.

    Douglas Ellimans Enzo Morabito said he attends events like Art Basel in Miami Beach which takes place every December (hes going this year) and the Super Bowl in February, which is when buyers start to come out again.

    In this business, business and social are the same things, said Morabito.

    Last year at Art Basel, he ran into a fellow Elliman agent with a Florida client hunting for a newly built waterfront house in the Hamptons. Morabito suggested his listing at 611 Dune Road in Westhampton and the deal closed for $6.7 million in February, he said.

    Meanwhile, top East End agent Susan Breitenbach, of the Corcoran Group, is also a regular at Art Basel and an advertiser there. You definitely see a lot of Hamptons people there, said Breitenbach, who also relocates her 67-foot powerboat from Sag Harbor to Miami Beach in the winter.

    Breitenbach often gets referrals from Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, better known as the the Jills. The duo who recently teamed up with Judy Zeder are at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which shares a corporate parent (Realogy) with Corcoran. Corcoran, which opened a new Miami Beach office in September, also sends her leads.

    At press time, Breitenbach was nearing a closing with one of those buyers on a Sagaponack property. She said she also spends a week every February on a boat in St. Barts chartered by clients. Im on the phone the whole time, but so are they, so its okay, she said.

    BHS Burnside who in the summer zips clients around in his 42-foot motorboat, which he uses to check out estates from the water also usually goes to Florida in the winter. He bounces between borrowed condos in Palm Beach and Miami and spends weekends with customers who are also friends.

    But now, with the Hamptons market seeing a slow off-season, those trips have taken on added importance. Burnsides 10-year-old daughter, Amelia, a competitive equestrian, will train this winter in the wealthy village of Wellington, which is thick with potential East End buyers.

    For the month of December, while Amelia works on her jumping, Burnside will, for the first time, work out of BHS Palm Beach office. By then, he hopes to have a Florida real estate license so that he can also list Palm Bach houses owned by Hamptons homeowners. It seems like there is a lot of money in the horse world, said Burnside, who was tapped by developer David Walentas to market 12 new-construction spec homes on the site of his Two Trees Farm, another equestrian spot, in Bridgehampton. (Those homes sold, but hes still marketing the original farm, which is on the market for about $18 million.)

    Corcorans Gary DePersia, meanwhile, turns his attention to Aspen in the winter, making frequent trips there and buying ads in Aspen and Aspen Peak magazines and on a popular weather app. And the advertising seems to pay off: While having dinner at the restaurant Betula Aspen last year, a woman recognized me and said, Do you know about my property in Sag Harbor? I might want to discuss listing it with you, he said.

    DePersia got the listing, which he said is currently on the market. He declined to disclose the address, but in November he had five Sag Harbor properties listed on his web page.

    Among them was the $12.9 million 14 Seaponack Drive, which he appears to have picked up this year. According to online records, the new-construction home in the North Haven section came on the market in 2017 for about $17 million with Saunders & Associates, which is currently sharing the listing with Corcoran.

    But DePersia, a long-time skier, bristles at suggestions that he chases clients to the Rocky Mountains. It just turns out that a lot of my clientele happens to be there, he said. Connections happen organically.

    Local yokels

    When DePersia first came to Hamptons to windsurf in the 1980s, many owners boarded up their houses at the end of the summer season. Thats obviously not the case anymore for most second-home owners on the East End.

    And annual events like the Hamptons International Film Festival and Winterfest a weeks-long festival of music, food, arts, wine and entertainment throughout the North and South Forks are a big draw.

    But outside of those events, the hubbub and deal volume fall off.

    In 2018, the fourth quarter was, not surprisingly, the slowest of the year on the South Fork, with 360 deals, according to market data from Elliman. By comparison, the second quarter was the most active, with 601 deals.

    But brokers say theres been a bit more activity this fall than usual as cautious buyers finally commit to purchasing houses theyve been circling for months.

    There are definitely usually fewer showings at this time of the year, said Saunders Terry Cohen. But were doing more deals this off-season than during the season.

    That may be because average listing prices are down about 20 percent from the spring to $1.38 million from $1.73 million, according to Ellimans third-quarter market report. Average sales prices were also down for the year through September a fact agents attributed to both fears of a pending recession and the recent federal tax overhaul that capped state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000 a year, which made buyers hesitant to take on big-ticket second-home properties.

    Not helping matters is that some of the Hamptons venues like Starr Boggs in Westhampton Beach, the Inlet Seafood Restaurant in Montauk and the Beacon and Le Bilboquet in Sag Harbor, places brokers flock to in order to hobnob and generate deals in the summer close up shop in the off-season.

    But increasingly, some establishments Pierres in Bridgehampton, the Palm in East Hampton and East Hampton Grill, to name a few stay open throughout the winter.

    Ellimans Morabito and his team meet at Sag Harbors American Hotel once a week for breakfast. I always get leads there, said Morabito.

    For some, Hamptons venue hours are not as crucial in the winter.

    BHS Burnside said he also heads into Manhattan in the off-season for meetings at the firms main Midtown office, where he meets with firm principals once a month.

    He said he recently met with Will Zeckendorf, an owner of Terra Holdings, the firms parent company. Zeckendorf, Burnside said, is closely following the firms conversion of Southamptons former post office into a BHS office. (Burnside oversaw the recent expansion of BHS Bridgehampton office and is involved in this project as well.)

    Hal Zwick, a commercial agent with Town & Country Real Estate, said he, too, takes more Manhattan meetings in the off-season.

    Negotiations with his clients particularly owners of bars and restaurants, many of which are offshoots of New York City restaurants require multi-day trips to Manhattan about every six weeks. I stayed at the W Union Square right after they opened, back in the early 2000s, and have not stayed at another hotel since, said Zwick.

    Venue owners who often have to wait months for the state to approve a liquor license generally need to lock down a space by the late fall to start the approval process, Zwick said. And there are a number of deadlines to meet in order to be up and running by Memorial Day, he said.

    But outside of bars and restaurants, retail leasing is weak on the East End. A decade ago, retailers were looking for 10-year leases. Today they want one-year pop-ups, which landlords wont agree to until March, when their other options run out, Zwick said: Its been difficult to do business out here. Thats a fact.

    Keeping busy

    In the old days aka the 1990s resales were the properties du jour in the Hamptons. But those resales often needed renovations. That dynamic led to a rush to buy in the fall, leaving enough time for off-season construction so homes could be ready by summer, said Aspasia Comnas, the BHS executive director who manages the firms nine North and South Fork offices.

    Art Basel is a popular event for Hamptons brokers.

    But with the rise of new-construction homes, that autumn deal bump has dissipated, Comnas said.

    On the plus side, new-construction home closings can happen much closer to the start of the season. You no longer have the same pressure to close that you used to, she said. Deals are more evenly distributed throughout the year.

    Construction of spec homes has, however, produced a new kind of off-season work for brokers: unofficially project-managing to ensure that properties are ready to market during the critical spring window.

    BHS Burnside is currently keeping tabs on the under-construction 33 Bellows Court in Southampton Village, which is listed for about $4 million. Marketing materials for the property are not yet ready, but hes pushing to make sure its photo-ready by February.

    Another property hell be prepping for the market is 1127 Noyac Path in Water Mill, a spec house listed for $5.2 million or $350,000 for the summer. The house was completed in August, an unfavorable month to enter the rental market, so Burnside decided to move into it himself in November. A cocktail-fueled open house may be held there in the spring, to lure buyers or renters, but is not likely before then.

    Event-style showings are an effective in-season tool, he said. An August gathering that included an art show drew about 100 people to 54 Old Sag Harbor Road, a six-bedroom listed for about $4.7 million. But, he said, in the off-season potential buyers (and renters) usually just come to the East End to check out houses for the day.

    For years, renters booked summer homes in the previous fall. After the 2008 crash, they began hunting more aggressively for deals, which meant waiting till the last minute.

    Now, however, brokers say theyre seeing more long-term planning. Some of that demand is being driven by those looking to rent while theyre constructing Hamptons homes, according to Saunders Cohen.

    In early November, Corcorans DePersia was on the verge of closing three summer leases, including one for a full season for a house in Bridgehampton to be rented by a guy in his 40s from Manhattan with an extended family, he said.

    Still, the pace of deals is undoubtedly slower than usual. [But] if youre just going to be working all the time it kind of defeats the whole point of enjoying the beauty of the Hamptons anyway, Burnside said.

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    Jet-setting to follow the money - The Real Deal

    Residential Construction Spending Dips to $508B – The MReport - December 5, 2019 by admin

    The Census Bureau reported that residential construction spending fell 0.9% to $508.2 billion in October from Septembers $512.6 billion.

    New single-family housing construction rose 1.6% from September to $279 million but is down 3.1% year-over-year from October 2018s $288 million.

    Single-family spending has been increasing month-over-month from June 2019 when residential spending was $264 million.

    The National Association of Home Builders reported last month the average single-family lot price reached a new high in 2018, with half of the lots selling at or above $49,500.

    Data shows the biggest rise in lot values was in the West South Central division, where median-lot values more than doubled since the housing boom years.

    Lot values, however, adjusted for inflation have not reached housing-boom peaks. Lots sold for more than $43,000 during those years, which is over $53,000 when converted in 2018 money.

    The West South Central Divisionmade up of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisianahistorically has had the lowest lot values in the nation. The NAHB states that lot values began rising in 2013 and reached the national average by 2015.

    According to the NAHB, as of 2018 lot values in the division sell for more than $62,000, which is $25 above the national average. Lot values were outpacing prices during the housing boom when lots were under $30,000.

    New England had the most expensive lots in the nation, with half of all sold single-family homes had lot values higher than $140,000.

    New England is known for strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities. Therefore, it is not surprising that typical single-family spec homes started in New England are built on some of the largest and most expensive lots in the nation, said the NAHB.

    Black Knight revealed last month that home-price appreciation had its largest single-month increase in two years in September, rising 0.2% to 3.95% for the monththe highest its been since March when home-price growth was in a 16-month slow trend.

    Go here to read the rest:

    Residential Construction Spending Dips to $508B - The MReport

    Inside the luxury homes of a new gated community being built in a posh Cardiff suburb – Wales Online - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Hidden behind high hedges and aging trees there used to be a substantial detached, red brick property on this large plot of suburban land.

    Located on one of the most popular streets connecting the Cardiff suburb of Lisvane with a main route into the city centre, the house had a garden so large that it has now been transformed into a site of 13 new homes, created within a gated community.

    But the former detached period property still remains and has become three new homes making up plot C of four phases of this development.

    This original Lozelles House has been converted into two modern apartments and an attached new-build two bedroom duplex coach house.

    The ground floor garden apartment in this block has just been reserved. The remaining flat in this block has just gone on the market for a guide price of 435,000. The coach house is currently on the market for 485,000.

    Wander further down the former generous garden and there is a brand new block of six, two bedroom apartments on plot B.

    Each level of accommodation in this block has its own unique design feature.

    The three-storey block contains two garden flats for sale for 435,000 each, both have two sets of glass doors into a private garden space.

    The two first floor flats are on the market for 425,000 and feature bay windows with an integrated Juliet balcony.

    On the second floor the two penthouse apartments also have a Juliet balcony, surrounded by large windows that stretch into the roof apex ensuring that the internal space is flooded with light. They are both on the market for 425,000 each.

    According to the estate agent selling the properties, all the apartments have a spacious open-plan kitchen/living room.

    The contemporary kitchens are custom designed from Sigma 3 and the interior styling is contemporary and high spec.

    The show apartment within this block has just been launched and is available to view via an appointment with the estate agent.

    At the very end of the garden there is a smaller block of apartments due to be built as the final phase of this mini development, called plot A.

    But arguably the main event of this development is the largest new build property located on plot D.

    On the corner of Church Road and Heol-y-Delyn this property is a new, five bedroom detached home.

    This architecturally-designed house has been named Lozelles House as a connection to the past but its design and specification is very much in the present and future.

    The bespoke, L-shaped contemporary home has high technology fibre broadband, its own private gated entry and top of the range appliances within the Sigma 3 kitchen.

    On the ground floor there are two spacious reception rooms, one overlooking the courtyard garden through large glass doors.

    The other living room is a cosy space, with warmth provided by a contemporary log burner, and provides access to the adjacent room; the heart of the home.

    The kitchen/diner is a sociable space that not only boasts a very fancy kitchen but easily enough space to seat at least eight dinner guests.

    And if the weather is warm there's easy access via one of two sets of glass doors to the garden, should the cooking go al fresco via a BBQ.

    On this ground floor there is also a cloakroom and handy utility room.

    Upstairs the five bedrooms have been designed to give the master suite a whole wing of the property.

    With a double-height ceiling open to the roof space, huge picture window overlooking the garden, ensuite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, this area is the prize sleeping quarters for the bosses of the house.

    But the rest of the family can't complain, as bedroom two also has an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe and the remaining three bedrooms are all doubles.

    Lozelles House is currently on the market for 895,000.

    The final phase of the development is plot A, a block of three two-bedroom apartments with a very similar open-plan design as the current flats for sale within the next door, larger building.

    All of the homes are being sold by estate agent Jeffrey Ross, call their Llanishen branch on 029 2159 0036 to find out more.

    Continue reading here:

    Inside the luxury homes of a new gated community being built in a posh Cardiff suburb - Wales Online

    High-spec over-basements in Clontarf from 610,000 – - December 5, 2019 by admin

    High-spec over-basements in Clontarf from 610,000

    With Copeland Place, ODOS Architects set out to create a modern twist on the two-storey over-basement period houses that dot the start of the Howth Road.

    With Copeland Place, ODOS Architects set out to create a modern twist on the two-storey over-basement period houses that dot the start of the Howth Road.

    Copeland Place is made up of eight terraced and semi-detached three- and four-bed houses and one two-bed duplex apartment. The first three homes have already been reserved: 610,000 for the sole duplex and 875,000 for the four-bed houses available. Three-bed houses and four-beds with a study will go on the market in the new year.

    Each home has alu-clad tripled-glazed windows, as well as two parking spaces in a cobble-locked driveway and a rear garden with a patio.

    There are Spanish floor tiles throughout the ground floor and natural wood flooring on the other levels.

    The uber-contemporary kitchen with soft-close doors from Kube Interiors comes with a stone worktop, a chrome cooker hood, an oven, a hob and an integrated fridge-freezer and dishwasher. There's also a separate utility room.

    All the bedrooms come with high-quality wardrobes, while the bathroom and ensuite have Spanish sanitary ware from Porcelanosa, floor and wall tiling, and polished chrome heated towel rails.

    The A-rated properties are equipped with underfloor heating on all floors, thanks to a low-energy heat-pump system, and are wired for an electric car charging point.

    Copeland Place is within a five-minute walk from Clontarf Road Dart station and the seafront promenade. Dublin city centre is just 3.5 km away.

    Viewings are by appointment.

    Indo Property

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    High-spec over-basements in Clontarf from 610,000 -

    Which washing machine to buy on Black Friday? Our expert reviewers tell you – Real Homes - November 27, 2019 by admin home expert Dan Sungs household consists of four sporty types, and two cats. The latter are being litter trained, and theres a lot of mud. Why are we telling you this? Because Dan is our washing machine reviewer, and when he tests washing machines they have to be plumbed into Dans utility room and then cope with all the washing his busy household creates.

    We think that when youre buying the best washing machine online from the likes of Miele, Samsung or Hoover, its the at-home experience of using the machine you need to hear about, as well as the technical spec.

    Thats not to say Dans testing of washing machines isnt rigourous, just as laboratory tests are, of course. But on top of that hes putting each model through its paces in a real home with real wash loads, just as you will.

    So which washing machine should you buy this Black Friday? Read on to find out and to find out about the process we put them through to help you make the right buying decision. The links to the models recommended will take you to today's best price for them. For Black Friday washing machine deals, go to our dedicated page.

    Before we get into Dan's testing process, this is our list of the best washing machines you can buy at the moment. They're all great models, but we've highlighted what each one does particularly well:

    Dans testing begins with installation of the machine because you may find yourself doing this job if its not included as a service by your supplier.

    Washing machines are increasingly Wi-Fi enabled, so he also gives you the lowdown on the set-up process for all the smart washers he reviews. Once again, were talking the real life experience youre going to have with the machine and its tech rather than the lab scenario of everything already being set up.

    Once youre ready to roll with the app, what can it do for you? Once again, because Dans actually put it through its paces in his own home he can let you know exactly how practical and sophisticated (or not) an individual smart washing machine is.

    There are questions we all want answers to when were buying a washing machine. Will the spin ensure clothes are pretty dry when they come out of the drum? Is there a programme that means no ironing? Can the machine solve a I-need-it-today emergency? Dans real life reviewing ensures the washing machines are challenged with all the scenarios that come up in a busy home.

    Also crucial are the range of cycles a machine offers. Will the washer actually cope with everything a family might want to chuck in there? Here, again, is where testing in a real home is invaluable. As the laundry basket fills with the whole familys dirty stuff, whether the machine has a programme to cope is challenged.

    And what about selecting the washing programmes and operating the machine in the first place? Dans in-a-real-home testing puts him in the same place you will be if you buy the machine faced with an array of buttons or a touchscreen and he gives you the inside story on exactly how simple or fiddly this is.

    The washing machines that got top marks for its simple to understand and easy to use touchscreen? The Miele W1 range. Heres Dans review. You can find them in the John Lewis Black Friday sale today at a range of prices.

    Want to make a note? Dan's latest reviews found that the Hoover AXI AWMPD610LH8R offered enough programmes to suit a busy family looking after their budget. Read his full review.

    Of course, just like a lab-centred review, Dans tests bring you the technical details you need: capacity, spin speed, the noise level for both washing and spinning, the finish and so on. (And if youre looking for a quiet machine, Dan rated the Grundig GWN59650CHB as very quiet: find out more in his review this range is on sale at Currys Black Friday sale right now). But hell also let you know if the model in question actually got his familys washing clean at both hot and cold temperatures.

    We all want to spend our money wisely, especially when were buying an appliance thats going to see as much use as a washing machine, but how to check youre getting maximum value? Dans reviews will put your mind at rest by comparing the machine on test to similar designs, so you can be sure youre clicking on the right buy.

    Find more of today's deals below:

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    Which washing machine to buy on Black Friday? Our expert reviewers tell you - Real Homes

    Price for New Home Lots in New England Over Twice the National Median – Banker & Tradesman - November 18, 2019 by admin

    Lots for new-build single-family homes reached a new record high nationwide in 2018, with prices in the five New England states sitting at more than double the national median.

    Nationally, the median sale price for a single-family lot for a spec home rose 4.4 percent last year, nearly double the rate of inflation, to $49,500, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the National Association of Home Builders. The biggest increase were seen in the western half of the South, defined by the NAHB as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The association pointed to twin upward pressures of persistent lot shortages and significant and rising regulatory costs as the culprits as homebuilding shifts to more urban and dense areas that tend to have smaller lots, higher land values and more elaborate land use regulations.

    The analysis found single-family spec homes built in New England are built on some of the most expensive lots in the nation. With a median sale price of $140,000 in 2018, New England is nearly twice the next-closest region, which includes California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii and had a median sale price of $87,000. The next-most expensive region was Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, which sat at $70,000.

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    Price for New Home Lots in New England Over Twice the National Median - Banker & Tradesman

    Who’s to blame over Aspen house gone wild? – Aspen Times - November 18, 2019 by admin

    A trio of Aspen elected officials said they will seek harsh penalties for the developer of a spec home that has run afoul of its original building approvals, including doubling the height of some of its exterior and retaining walls, encroaching on open space, building at a higher elevation than what was approved, and failing to make its on-site tennis courts ADA compliant as part of an agreement with the city.

    Representatives for the developers contend they have been following the rules because the city has approved changes to the project. But at their Aspen City Council meeting Nov. 11, members Ward Hauenstein, Ann Mullins and Rachel Richards called for stiff, punitive measures to be taken against the development team, led by Leathem Stearn, behind the spec-home project at 1001 Ute Ave.

    I just think its unconscionable that the developer did it, Hauenstein said, adding that if they did it intentionally its shame on us for not catching it.

    The matter came to the councils attention during its first reading of the developers request seeking approval to memorialize the improvements that are inconsistent with the councils original blessings, made in 2006, that came with the planned development.

    Still unfinished, the home is perched on an eastern slope of Aspen Mountain and near the Ute Trail. It sits on a 21,636-square-foot lot.

    As part the approval process with council more than 13 years ago, the developers gifted a 4.1-acre parcel of open space an area considered a vital link to the adjacent Ajax Park, as well as the Ute and Ajax trails to the city.

    The deal also included the development of a three-bedroom working housing unit on the developers property. An additional condition of approval required the development of three on-site tennis courts, with ADA accessibility from Ute Avenue, that the developers would lease to The Gant a condominium-hotel across the street for 100 years.

    Also included in the agreement was the construction of a second free-market house in the immediate area, which gained its certificate of occupancy in 2011.

    The other house as well as the worker unit, however, have not received their certificates of occupancy. Richards suggested the most extreme measure would be for the city to not issue COOs for the unfinished home and employee unit.

    That would strike the developer more deeply than anything else, she said, noting the luxury property could not be marketed for sale without a COO.

    Council members agreed that having the developers undo their alleged damage isnt feasible given how far the project has come. Even so, they were open to hearing what the affected neighbors might want.

    Is there community service, something that will make an impact on these developers that they cant develop the lots at their convenience? Mullins said.

    City Attorney Jim True urged council to pass issue at first reading so it can advance to a public hearing Dec. 10, when more details will emerge. By a 4-0 vote, council approved the first reading. Mayor Torre recused himself because as a tennis pro, he works at The Gants courts.

    The city began investigating the projects compliance earlier this year as a result of a neighbors complaint that a portion of developers free-market home projects air-conditioning units and staircase were encroaching on common area open space. That led to the citys discovery of other infractions, including that both free-market homes first-floor grades were finished at elevation of 8,012 feet, higher than the allowable 8,007 feet.

    The city also found that some of the propertys retaining walls are as tall as 6 feet, more than twice their allowable heights in some areas.

    The developers also are seeking City Councils approval to provide ADA access to the two tennis courts The Gant manages on its side of Ute Avenue, instead of its original agreement to make the three courts on its side of Ute Avenue handicap accessible. Richards said she would be wary of making that concession because it would deny disabled people, whether they want to play tennis or merely observe a match, access to the three courts on the homes side.

    At an Oct. 1 meeting of the Aspen Planning & Zoning Commission regarding the same issue, planner Chris Bendon, on behalf of Stearn and the developers, said the city had signed off on the changes it now considers out of compliance. Multiple change orders that were submitted to the city gained approval from its engineering staff, leading the developers to believe they were cleared to proceed with their amended plans, he said.

    Before Bendons remarks at the Planning and Zoning meeting, True said the developers were seeking forgiveness for running out of compliance. Bendon, however, disagreed.

    We dont particularly agree with asking for forgiveness as a way of describing it, Bendon said, because we think what we submitted for, we had a permit for.

    In a memo in advance of last weeks City Council hearing on the matter, planner Kevin Rayes wrote that the citys engineering department reviewed and improved the elevation change because it satisfied grading and drainage standards.

    The Zoning Department was not routed and did not review the change order, the memo said.

    Regardless of where the project stands now, council members expressed frustration that it got this far in the first place.

    My first question is: How does this happen? Mullins said.

    More here:

    Who's to blame over Aspen house gone wild? - Aspen Times

    Help to Buy homes for sale in London:five of the hottest new-build developments with flats for sale right now – Homes and Property - November 18, 2019 by admin

    The Help to Buy scheme is available on new-build homes costing up to 600,000 and advertised as Help to Buy by a registered developer.

    The Government provides a loan of up to 40 per cent of the value of the property meaning buyers need a deposit of five per centanda mortgage for the remaining 55 per cent.

    Here are five hot Help to Buy schemes on sale in London at the moment.

    Live in Zone 1, with fabulous transport links and within an impressively evolving regeneration zone.

    As well as homes this development includes renovated railway arches now home to independent shops, and some of the flats have iconic views of the Shard and the London Eye.

    Prices start at 557,500 for a one-bedroom flat (

    The southern tip of the Isle of Dogs represents the best of both worlds, with quaint Greenwich and the wilds of Greenwich Park a 10-minute walk in one direction, and the monster regeneration zone of Greenwich Peninsula a couple of miles to the north.

    Island Gardens DLR provides good transport links.

    This corner of the Isle of Dogs has so far resisted regeneration but Calders Wharf overlooks the Thames, the homes are high-spec, with Siemens and Smeg kitchen appliances, underfloor heating and timber floors.

    Prices start at 497,500 for a one-bedroom flat (

    An emerging London village, with independent shops, cafs, and restaurants set around a green, and just a mile or so from the bright lights of Islingtons Upper Street or the grit of Dalston.

    The nearest station is Dalston Kingsland, 10 minutes away, or you could use Londons Cycle Superhighway to head to the City.

    Newington Gate is a boutique development of 72 flats with a communal garden.

    Prices start at 470,000 for a one-bedroom flat, and 600,000 for a two-bedroom flat (

    London's original docklands are being reinvented with vast investment in new homes and facilities. Over the next few years 3.7 billion will be spent on homes, bars and restaurants, public spaces, cultural venues and sports facilities.

    Gallions Point sits right at the eastern side of the docks close to Gallions Reach Docklands Light Railway station, with trains to Canary Wharf taking 15 minutes.

    A new river bus pier opened at the Royal Docks last month, for those who prefer to commute by water.

    Prices start from 348,750 for a one-bedroom flat, and the development has its own landscaped courtyards, a residents lounge and concierge (

    Get real bang for your buck and a quick commute at this riverfront development.

    The first of just over 900 new homes beside the River Roding went on sale last month and the first residents will move in next year.

    As well as homes the site will have shops, cafs and open spaces, while Barking station is a 15-minute walk away with trains to Fenchurch Street taking 15 minutes.

    Prices start at 308,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and 390,000 for a two-bedroom apartment (

    Visit link:

    Help to Buy homes for sale in London:five of the hottest new-build developments with flats for sale right now - Homes and Property

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