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DURAND — The city of Durand has sold 14 parcels, in a mostly unbuilt subdivision whose developer walked away about 20 years ago, to a different developer.

During a special meeting Wednesday, Durand City Council members unanimously approved selling the city-owned properties to Portage-based Allen Edwin Homes for $151,000.

The company’s vice president said at least two on-spec single-family homes will be constructed next year in Creek Point subdivision, located south of downtown Durand.

“If sales go well, we plan on building even more next year,” Tom Larabel, Allen Edwin vice president of land development, said before the meeting. “We’re excited to build in Durand, Michigan.”

He said the houses will be about 1,800 square feet with three or four bedrooms. They will cost about $279,000, Allen Edwin’s facilitator Scott Lozon told council members. If demand is strong, the home builder might purchase the remaining 16 to 20 lots in Creek Point, he said.

Council members applauded the transaction, citing the housing shortage in Shiawassee County, the tax revenues the new homes will generate and the additional children that could enroll in Durand schools.

“I’m happy the lots are getting developed,” Mayor Ken McDonough said. “They’ve sat empty for years, and we have a housing shortage.”

Durand officials said they were never interested in developing a subdivision but had to take ownership in about 2006, after a developer went belly up. Today, there are only about five or so houses along Creek Point Circle, which itself is currently only half-built, City Manager Cameron Horvath said.

“I was around when it happened,” McDonough said. “It was a nightmare.”

Horvath said the city has been marketing the parcels since acquiring Creek Pointe with no luck until this year, when a public solicitation of bids produced exactly one: from Allen Edwin.

“We’re hoping this will create a bigger tax base and overall be a good thing for the city,” the city manager said.

Council members also approved Allen Edwin’s push for a break on tap fees and service lines after borings showed that the soil on three of the parcels needs significant filling to be buildable, costing the developer $31,000.

Seven other lots also need some “land balancing,” Lozon said, with a $24,000 price tag.

To defray the developer’s costs to prepare the land for construction, Durand will charge only $1 for tap fees and service lines for each of the 14 lots, giving up $27,500 in charges.

The city of Owosso faced a similar situation with the Osburn Lakes subdivision, when the developer walked away from the project about 12 years ago and the city took over. The last lot was sold in September 2020, with city officials expressing relief to be out of the real estate development business.

According to its website, Allen Edwin Homes has more than 25 years of building experience in Michigan and was ranked a Top 100 Builder in the U.S. by Builder Magazine.

(2) comments

Mother Hen

What are the market demographics for their target home buyer? Is there a demand for new built homes in Durand in the $280k price range? Curious.

matthew.schaefer

There's definitely demand for houses in Durand, and unfortunately, the price point mentioned is completely normal for new builds. Building costs have went up considerably, even before covid. My house, which I purchased for less than 100k a few years ago would cost over 250k to replace with similar size and specs, according to my insurance company and some friends I know who are builders. It's just a sad fact around new builds right now.

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