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Letter: Will the Over-55 Housing Project Proposed for the Country Club of Woodbridge Be Successful?

You might think that this is the developer’s problem and not care. However, when a real estate project is not successful, the developer (or subsequent owner) often tries to change the use of the parcel. This is precisely what is happening in Oxford where the owner of Oxford Greens, an ‘over-55’ housing project, is seeking to change the use of remaining land to Timberlake Apartments, a 197-unit mid-rise apartment complex to be built under the provisions of Connecticut’s Affordable Housing statutes. Those statutes give a property owner broad discretion (i.e. little local government input) over the use of the parcel as long as a portion of the property is used as affordable housing.

So, can the developer sell 120 ‘over-55’ housing units at their targeted $500,000+ price in Woodbridge? It does not appear that the developer did any market research to answer this question. In fact, the number of homes to be built appears to be based upon the remaining balance of the Town’s debt on the property. The alarm bells are ringing.

Here are the number of ‘over-55’ homes that sold for over $500,000 in Connecticut in the past 5 years;

  • 2015           –  75
  • 2016           –  68
  • 2017           –  60
  • 2018           –  55
  • 2019           –  41

Some of these homes are on the water or golf courses – features lacking in the Woodbridge project. Fieldstone Village, an over-55 community with homes over $500,000 in Orange has sold an average of less than 7 homes annually since it started in 2006.

The CCW developer has never developed property. There is no market research to support their assumption that they can sell 25 homes a year or 120 in total. If they are unable to reach this level of sales, the possibility of an attempt to change the use seems high – are we trading a small problem for a large problem?

Deke Hotchkiss

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