Wednesday July 25, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A local developer with experience resuscitating failed real-estate properties in the Berkshires has his sights on one of the largest residential developments in town in recent memory.

David Ward of LD Associates is pursuing a plan to build 59 detached and clustered condominiums at a failed development known as Burning Tree Estates, located off Christian Hill Road. If approved, the new development will be known as Barrington Brook and will feature a heated pool, tennis court and community center.

The property would be targeted to second-home owners, and units would sell in the mid-$400,000 range, according to Ward, who said a final cost estimate for the project wasn't available.

The homes would range from 2,200 to 3,400 square feet, and nearly half of the property's 104 acres would be retained as open space.

The Select Board on Monday unanimously recommended the project to the Planning Board, citing the potential tax revenue and the fact that the self-contained road and property maintenance would mean there wouldn't be any added strain on town resources.

The project likely would take five years to complete.

The developers will go before the Planning Board for a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday. The group is seeking a special permit and an amendment to the existing subdivision, which allows for only 15 units.

Ward said this project closely resembles his Silver Maple Farm development in Dalton.


Advertisement

His most recent major project -- Lenox Commons on Pittsfield Road in Lenox -- has seen a marked increase in retail space rental and condo sales since he bought the property two years ago.

Ward is partnering with local attorney Ed McCormick and Joe Wilkinson, owner of Sheffield-based Joe Wilkinson Excavating.

In 2004, Wilkinson and McCormick, through their LLC -- Stone Path Development -- spent $6 million to partner with Arthur Ivey on the development.

Ivey died in 2007.

McCormick told The Eagle in 2004 that the intention was to sell 3.5- to nine-acre parcels that could be used to build $1 million homes. To date, only three of the properties have sold and only two houses have been constructed.

Ivey's planned 15-parcel concept was approved after a previous iteration of the development plans called for 61 units on clustered lots -- something the Planning Board rejected in 2002.

Ward said he believes the housing market is starting to turn and that this development would attract people as a destination and as a place with a "country club" aesthetic.

"It's a market for what I do," he said. "There's nothing like it in Great Barrington, and people like new."

To reach Trevor Jones:
tjones@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
Follow him on Twitter: @BE_TrevorJones