By MARIA KACIK
The Medina County Building Department reports a 69 percent drop in new home construction between May 2004 and May of this year. But the new housing market in the county still has a pulse.
Granite Golf, for instance, announced last month it will begin a project to add 48 cluster homes and 51 single-family homes around Medina Country Club located off Wedgewood Road (state Route 162) in Lafayette Township. The company also owns the Quarry Golf Club in Canton and Shale Creek Golf Club in York Township.
â€œIn the Cleveland market, if you look at the number of golf course communities â€” which are very, very few â€” you will see that there should be a market for this,â€ said Mike Cavey, president of Granite Golf, noting Michigan has been one of the top in the nation in construction of homes in golf course communities. â€œThereâ€™s hardly any golf course communities. Then many golf course communities are made up of $500,000 homes.â€
That wonâ€™t be the case with the new community expected to be built at Medina Country Club, Cavey said. A single-family home, which will start at 1,800 square feet, will average $350,000. The cluster homes, which start at 1,400 square feet, will go for about $300,000.
The project also includes a renovation of the clubâ€™s 48-year-old clubhouse and the construction of a corporate headquarters for Granite Golf â€” projects that, together, will total $2.5 million. Granite Golf will invest another $2.5 million on improvements to the clubâ€™s 27-hole golf course.
Granite Golf purchased 75 acres for the expansion on the north side of Wedgewood Road, on which three golf holes, the single-family homes, a practice area and a new pool will be built.
The first improvements will begin this month. Construction of homes will begin in July 2009, with the first lots going to members of the club. Cavey said he hopes the real estate market picks up by that time, but he said he is confident the houses will sell even if it does not.
â€œWe feel that we are such a novelty in the market and thereâ€™s not much competition,â€ he said. â€œWith the aging population, the baby boomers are looking to downsize. People are looking for a place in the north for the summer with their families.â€
Shale Creek Golf Club, which also is owned by Granite Golf, features a community of cluster homes built by Ryan Homes. Cavey said he heard from Ryan Homes that homes on the course were selling rapidly.
Dave LeHotan, interim executive officer with the Medina County Home Builders Association, said sales of cluster homes have been mixed.
â€œThe demographics are telling us that cluster homes sell well,â€ he said. â€œBut the cluster-home buyer is someone who can postpone their buy. Theyâ€™re in a different housing state than, say, a family with children.â€
In many cases, he explained, the cluster-home buyer can wait until the economy clears up to purchase. Thus, he said, the sales of cluster homes might get a boost once the market stabilizes.
And he hopes that will be soon.
â€œThe year 2004 was the high-water mark. Since then, itâ€™s been dropping. I hope this year is the bottom,â€ he said. â€œThe bad news is we donâ€™t have the starts and it really hurts the economy for everybody when new housing isnâ€™t doing well.â€
The Medina County Building Department reports that between the start of the year and the end of May it issued 150 residential building permits throughout the county. At that point last year it had issued 263 permits. By that point in 2004 the county had granted 404 permits.
The houses that are being built are less expensive ones. In May of this year, the building department reports the average construction cost of a new home was $154,000. The average home construction cost in 2007 was nearly $233,000. In 2004 it was $210,000.
Philpott Rubber Co. in Brunswick is looking to grow.
This month, the company announced a strategic acquisition initiative in which it will look to acquire small to midsize companies in the industrial distribution business.
â€œIn plain speak, it just means we want to grow the company and we want to make some acquisitions,â€ CEO Joseph Kuzma said Tuesday. â€œWeâ€™re in a pretty good financial position. We just figured it would be a good way for us to grow to look at acquisitions.â€
He said the company is looking for a business whose product lines, geographic reach or market coverage will augment Philpottâ€™s current offerings. In doing so, he said, Philpott will be able to provide value to its customers and the customers of any acquired company.
â€œPhilpottâ€™s been around a long time. We provide value to our customers. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s allowed us to survive for a long time,â€ he said.
Established in 1889, Philpott produces custom-molded rubber and plastic parts, standard polymeric products and adhesives to the industrial market sectors. The company is located at 1010 Industrial Parkway North.
Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.