NORTHAMPTON — The Planning Board gave its approval for the construction at the Village Hill development of five single-family homes last week, ending a developmental era for the city.
“These are the last five residential lots,” said Melissa Caldwell, sales and marketing director at Wright Builders, said of the June 25 city approval.
Wright Builders will build and sell these homes, and it is no stranger to the development. So far, it’s built 58 homes there, Caldwell said.
Three of the five homes to be built went up for sale in June, and Caldwell said that they received deposits on them the same day. These homes, which are three different styles, are priced at $679,900, $699,900 and $709,900.
“The plan is to break ground in August,” Caldwell said.
The five homes are billed as solar ready, net zero (carbon) ready, and combustion free.
“Nothing burns to operate them,” said Johnathan Wright, senior adviser at and co-owner of Wright Builders.
An option for the homes is also being explored that would make their construction either carbon negative or carbon neutral, a key component of which would be to largely build them with wood sourced entirely from the Eastern United States and Canada.
Wright said his company has been building solar buildings since 1976, and his company is using some of the lessons it has learned from building two Living Buildings, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst and the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College, in its other projects.
“We’re on a mission here,” Wright said.
Wright and his wife live at Village Hill themselves, and he noted its mix of incomes, rental properties and owner-occupied homes.
“It’s a great community,” he said.
Wright also said that developing at Village Hill has involved working closely with both the city and Senior Land Planner Carolyn Misch.
“They’ve been great partners,” he said.
Misch said the process for approving the five homes was a straightforward review. She also said that there is still commercial space available for development at Village Hill.
“That would be the hope,” she said, noting that the original master plan for Village Hill called for more commercial development there.