An Austin, Texas-based real estate development company plans to begin demolition this week of several homes in the Rountree neighborhood to make way for student housing.
Haken Holdings GP LLC is demolishing four houses with plans to build 14 two-story, cottage-style homes with porches, said Laurel Bryant, president of the Rountree Neighborhood Association board. The vacant homes set for demolition are located at 1301, 1315 and 1319 E. Cherry St., and 524 S. Kickapoo Ave., she said.
Justin Helms, who owns Haken Holdings, said he is managing the project, dubbed Cherry Street Cottages. The project is operating under HD Springfield LLC, he added, declining to disclose the planned investment.
Mike Brothers, the Rountree association’s board secretary, said the five lots on which the future housing will be constructed were combined before a development moratorium in the neighborhood went into effect in June 2017. The moratorium was active until December 2017, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
“Overall, it’s kind of a wait and see to find out what the final designs will be,” Brothers said, adding the board isn’t opposed to the project, based on what its members know at this time. “We like renters, and we like students. It all adds to the neighborhood’s character.”
However, Bryant lamented the loss of longstanding houses in the neighborhood, which she said were built between 1915 and the 1930s. She was given permission by the city to salvage some of the houses’ architectural features, including doors, wooden floors, hardware and a bannister.
“It’s just hard to lose existing housing stock when it’s just more student housing replacing it,” she said.
Helms said the 4-year-old company has built numerous cottage-style student housing projects in the South and Southeast United States near college campuses, such as University of Arkansas, Baylor University, Louisiana State University and Florida State University. Helms said Springfield serves as the first Missouri project for Haken Holdings. The company was looking for markets with a growing student population and wanted a site close to the Missouri State University campus.
“They feel like they have their own house,” he said of the homes that have four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms. “It’s kind of like more freedom, and that’s what we’ve seen in other markets.”
After the completion of demolition and site preparation, Helms said construction should start around January 2020 with completion aimed for August next year.
The incoming development is the latest in a series of projects in the Rountree neighborhood, which include market concept Culture Counter, a brick-and-mortar spot for Skully’s Food Truck and The Royal, a live music and bar venture. Additionally, Artistree Pottery LLC and Greens, a florist business, are set to occupy 1423 E. Cherry St. early next year. Also, a $10 million mixed-use development designed to replace the current home of the Baptist Student Union is planned near MSU.
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