Townhome builder launching second phase of Dayton area growth

An Ohio-based builder of single-story townhouses is embarking on a second phase of growth in the Miami Valley, part of a national move to construct more townhomes.

Redwood Apartment Neighborhoods has been approved to construct several projects this year in area communities including Troy, Springfield and Fairborn, with each development featuring about 100 units. One that’s already under construction in Vandalia will include 107 apartment homes and will be open to its first residents in October, according to Mitch Ogle, Redwood’s director of operations.

Plans include the addition of 12 to 15 new Redwood developments in current and new suburban markets, including Miamisburg. Between December 2015 and August 2018, it completed projects in Centerville, Huber Heights, Sugarcreek Twp., Washington Twp. and Fairborn, Ogle said.

“Our first round of neighborhoods have been very successful and this is kind of Phase Two of that success and building on it,” said Gregory Thurman, Redwood’s vice president of acquisitions. “The demographics are such that there’s an aging population that wants to take advantage of this temporary or transitional lifestyle.”

Townhomes are one of the fastest-growing segment of the single-family housing construction market, with new townhouses increasing to 11.4% of all single-family starts, according to the National Association of Home Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

Townhouse construction expanded to a 2.5-year high during the final quarter of 2020, according to NAHB analysis of the most recent Census data. During the fourth quarter of 2020, single-family attached starts totaled 34,000, which was 36 percent more than the fourth quarter of 2019, when they totaled 25,000. Over the last four quarters, townhouse construction starts totaled 113,000 units, 3% higher than the prior four quarter total (110,000).

Not every local community has welcomed Redwood with open arms. Butler County’s Liberty Twp. nixed plans for a Redwood community in 2019 and Hamilton did the same in late 2020, with nearby homeowners voicing concerns that an apartment development would harm their property values and quality of life.

Clayton City Council voted 4-3 this month to deny a request to rezone nearly 34 acres of farmland to make way for a Redwood complex, effectively halting plans for the site. Area residents voiced concerns about increased traffic without the addition of a traffic light, storm water and flooding, and that the development doesn’t align with the city land use plan.

Founded in 1991 by Steve Kimmelman, the Independence, Ohio, company owns and manages more than 13,000 units in nearly 100 developments throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Thurman said Redwood Apartment Neighborhoods feel and look “just like a townhome that we would rent on vacation.”

“We are exclusively single-story apartment builders,” Thurman said. “We build and operate everything that we get approved and every unit has a two-car attached garage. Having that ... makes it feel like an existing single-story home.”

Rents range from $1,400 to $2,000, he said.

“It’s an upscale choice that a renter makes who is going into their empty nester (years),” Thurman said. “It gives the empty nesters great flexibility in trying to determine what their lifestyle’s supposed to be after their four-bedroom, single-family home with a growing family. These are two bedroom, two baths, two-car attached garage.”

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