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My recent interview with the Charlotte Observer about Steele Creek

Hot housing, cool million

Montreux to join upscale subdivisions attracted to Lake Wylie, shopping in Steele Creek

By KIRSTEN VALLE, Charlotte Observer

STEELE CREEK --

This corner of Mecklenburg County, once home to blue-collar workers, farmers and a few others, is attracting another segment of the population: millionaires. High-end neighborhoods such as The Palisades, The Sanctuary and The Vineyards on Lake Wylie are already finding success on the far edges of Steele Creek in southwest Mecklenburg.

The latest to join the pack is Montreux Old World Estates, a community of 80 $1 million-plus homes going up near The Palisades.Real estate professionals say a strong market for such pricey homes has developed in Steele Creek, fueled in part by the area's proximity to Lake Wylie and its recent surge of shopping centers and new homeowners.

"That area has the heaviest population growth," said Brad Brundage, president of D.R. Horton's Charlotte division, which is building homes at The Palisades and The Vineyards, among other Steele Creek spots. "It's an easy commute, and it's close to the lake."Montreux Development Group chose its site along Youngblood Road for its proximity to the lake and rolling topography, which seemed suited to custom homes, project manager Darren Slate said.

Reasons for the lofty price tags there include homes that will average 4,500 square feet each, gas lantern-lighted streets, a "tea house" to be used for community gatherings and access to the swim and tennis complex at The Palisades, he said.

Buyers are taking note. Since lots went on sale last summer, developers have sold 55 to builders and future residents."It's just so convenient," said Jim Mock of Ballantyne, who bought one of the lots. "It's a beautiful neighborhood, and Lake Wylie is just a couple minutes away."Lighter traffic is another draw, he said. "It might not be as congested as it is in Ballantyne," Mock said. "Ever since they four-laned (N.C.) 49, it's so much more accessible to get there. It's so much more accommodating."

Steele Creek's residential boom started in the 1990s, with most early developers opting to build higher-density starter homes. When The Palisades opened in summer 2005, it signaled the start of the high-end influx, real estate agents and developers said.

Angie Adams, an agent with Keller Williams Realty, said there's still a big gap in the housing market there, with $200,000 townhomes on sale a few minutes from $2 million custom homes. But as more high-dollar homes come in, they'll raise property values elsewhere in Steele Creek, she said. And if Charlotte-Mecklenburg officials build new schools in the area, home values will jump even higher, Adams said.

If county commissioners and voters approve a proposed $620.7 million bond package in coming months, CMS plans to build three new elementary schools in southwest Charlotte.

Demi Clark, marketing director for D.R. Horton's Charlotte division, said Steele Creek has already made a name for itself with schools, services and shopping, such as the Ayrsley and RiverGate developments. "It's just becoming its own place," she said. "Now, there's housing there to support it."

New Homes in Steele Creek

Montreux Old World Estates, the latest upscale community to come to southwestern Mecklenburg, will feature 80 homes on about 70 acres off Youngblood Road. Some things to know:

  • Pronounced "mon-TRO."
  • Homes will have Old World European architecture.
  • Minimum home size is 3,500 square feet, though average will be 4,500 square feet. Lots will be a half-acre to 1 1/2 acres.
  • About 75 percent of the site is wooded. Developers have brought in seven truckloads of large trees -- some costing $3,000 each -- to enhance the landscape.
  • Homes will cost $1 million-plus each.
  • The first homes should be finished in about seven months.
  • Some of Montreux's developers, who make up Ludemann Development Group, are also working on the upscale Bretagne community south of Ballantyne.
  • For details about Montreux, visit http://www.montreuxestates.com/ or call Rick Walliser, director of sales, at 704-996-7388.

Published Saturday, May 12, 2007 2:30 PM by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker

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