Saturday, January 26, 2008

Media: Economy prompts developer to scale back size of Suisun City houses

By Carol Bogart | Daily Republic

SUISUN CITY - Calling it an 'edgy time in the housing market,' Main Street West Partners developer Mike Rice said new homes to be built on Lotz Way will be smaller than originally planned.

The development will add 16 homes to Suisun City's housing stock. They will be constructed on an empty lot at the northeast corner of Civic Center Drive and Lotz Way.

Originally, Main Street West was going to build homes ranging from 1,900 to 2,100 square feet. Saying this is 'the toughest market we've seen in 16 years,' Rice said the houses now have been scaled back to 1,600 to 2,000 square feet.

'We have to deliver to the consumer a lot of product at a very good price,' Rice said.

The Suisun City Planning Commission has recommended the city approve the project, and the city and Main Street West are hammering out the details

Councilman Mike Segala said the cost of construction per square foot in Suisun City is about $225 to $250, so the reduction in size would cut the purchase price per home by about $2,000 to $5,000.

Main Street West is working with the city on a new program that will assist first-time homebuyers with their down payments, Rice added.

'Within the next few months, there will be some exciting housing news on the horizon,' Rice said. 'Stay tuned.'

The new Lotz Way homes would be compatible in design with Victorian Harbor homes on the south side of the street, Segala said.

Each of the new homes will have a freestanding garage that backs up to what Segala called 'private courtyards.'

What some would call an alley will be 20 feet wide, Segala said, wide enough to let two cars pass

Plans call for the narrow 30-foot-long lots to have a small backyard, and the homes will sit on a slight rise buttressed by a retaining wall to protect them from potential flooding.

Rice assured the Suisun City Council at its Jan. 15 meeting that fences would separate the lots, the homes would have porches with balusters and railings, and care would be taken not to plant deciduous trees that, when grown, would block light from street lamps.

The lighting and landscape plans will be overlaid to make sure ahead of time that mature trees won't have to be 'butchered' to accommodate the street lights, Segala added.

Councilwoman Jane Day asked Rice if any one-story homes were planned, but Rice said that isn't possible. With the narrow lots, a one-story house would mean no backyard.

Segala expressed concern about the width of sidewalks that Rice said, as planned, would be 4 feet. Segala said he would like to see 6-foot-wide sidewalks throughout the city to accommodate both pedestrians and wheelchairs, noting he's very sensitive to Americans with Disabilities Act concerns.

The lot sizes, however, will likely dictate a compromise width of 5 feet, Segala said.

Alley parking has been a 'major problem' with Victorian Harbor, Segala said, so courtyard parking behind the new homes will be prohibited.

Because the city would like the new homes to have a custom look, plans call for placements to be staggered. Front porches won't line up side by side, Segala said.

'They won't be cookie cutter,' he added.

Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at

No comments: