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Huron getting $50 million housing development

Tom Jackson • Aug 2, 2010 at 2:22 PM


A $50 million housing development now getting under way in Huron gives Erie County its first new major housing development in a couple of years.

The Two Rivers housing development features upscale houses built to order in a New England, Nantucket style.

The 49-acre project is expected to have 121 condominium-style homes. It’s located off Ohio 13, between the Thunderbird Hills Golf Club and the Huron Lagoons Marina.

Residents can either go to their boat in the nearby marina or hop in a golf court and speed toward the golf course, said Joanne Berardi, a Realty Executives Strayer Group real estate professional who is selling the homes.

The development already has three homes, but serious efforts to sell homes can finally begin this week, now that the buyers can receive titles.

The final problems with regulators were resolved when developers satisfied questions the Corps of Engineers and the Ohio EPA raised over drainage and wetlands issues.

“It took a long time to get permission to put a pond in the middle of the area,” said James T. Murray, one of the partners in the development and a retired attorney with the Murray and Murray law firm in downtown Sandusky.

Murray is working with two other partners: Jim Seitz of Seitz Construction, a Norwalk builder, and Lorain schooteacher Andrew Knowles, who has taken charge of infrastructure such as roads and water lines.

Seitz said a price range of between $260,000 to $500,000 is anticipated for the vast majority of the homes. They’ll range from 1,800 to 3,000 square feet, although one customer has contracted for a home of more than 4,000 square feet that will include an indoor swimming pool, at a cost of a little over $1 million.

Buyers won’t have to worry that a bank might withdraw financing for the project, Murray said, because it’s all self-financed.

The houses are not condominiums, but lawn maintenance and snow removal will be included as an amenity. While many buyers will likely live there year-round, others are expected to be snowbirds who want a pleasant place to live during the summer, Murray said.

The development is particularly interesting because there’s been little home-building activity in Erie County in the last couple of years.

The Erie Regional Planning Commission has not dealt with a new subdivision since the winter of 2008-2009, said senior planner Tim King, who schedules projects for the commission’s monthly meetings.

“We are starting to see some activity,” he said last week. “I do anticipate having a subdivision next month, in August.”

John Zimmerman, a building official who handles building and zoning for Huron and Huron Township, said the last housing development he dealt with was the Sanctuary condominium project.

There’s still room in the city for new housing, although “right now, we don’t have anything on the horizon,” he said.

Berardi took a pair of visitors last week to the second floor deck of the development’s model home.

It looks out on the Mud Brook (which developers have renamed “Sheltered Brook.”) The wide stream, which looks more like a river, flows nearby into the Huron River. As Berardi talked, a white crane waded through the water and a flock of Canada geese paddled together.

“The bald eagles were here at the last open house,” said Berardi, who turned on surround-sound loudspeakers with a remote control as she stood on the deck.

Murray said he bought the land for the development 22 years ago. He also owns another 39 acres of land to the east, although only 15 acres of the water tract actually can be built upon.

He said developers will insist upon a high standard for any homes built at Two Rivers.

“We have turned away prospective purchasers,” he said. “We are insisting upon it being a quality development.”

For an online home tour, visit 1149sheltered.com.

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