Plans to construct 42 single-family condominiums on the west side of Houk Road and just north of Greenlawn Drive remain on hold, but the city isn’t ready to give up on the project just yet. During Wednesday’s meeting of the Delaware Planning Commission, a two-year extension was granted to George Rodman and WEEE, LLC for the previously-approved preliminary development plan for the Houk Road Condominiums proposal.
Both the Planning Commission and Delaware City Council approved a conditional use permit and preliminary development plan for the 18.28-acre site in 2021 after the plan was altered from its original proposal of being a mixed-use development. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, contractor shortages, and the struggles of finding an end-developer, a one-year extension was granted to the developer last year to prevent the preliminary development plan from expiring and forcing the entire process to restart.
With Rodman still trying to get the project on track in an increasingly challenging market, a two-year extension was sought this time around in order to allow for additional time to pass and, perhaps, see costs begin to level out.
“Nobody wanted to be back here on this occasion to ask for an extension, but we went from one frying pan with COVID into a deeper frying pan with the economy,” said Michael Shade, the legal representative for the developer, during Wednesday’s meeting. “The client continues to market this land, but I think it’s going to be quite a lift.”
Shade explained there are “a lot of off-site costs” associated with the project, including widening parts of Houk Road and Greenlawn (Drive), that make it a significant undertaking.
“Those require a lot of dollars to get that done, and with interest rates the way they currently are, even for a developer to go out and borrow this kind of money on the idea that it’s going to develop quickly is probably somewhat difficult to occur,” he said.
Following the vote, Chairman Stacy Simpson concluded the discussion by saying, ”There’s been too much great work here to just leave it on the table. I think there’s been an incredible amount of work put into this project already, and I would hate to see any of that wasted.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.