Hope springs eternal for failed subdivisions in area

May 22, 2014

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HAWTHORN WOODS – Residents of Apple Creek Estates in Woodstock might experience a small miracle soon. A miracle of sorts already has been accomplished at Hawthorn Trails, courtesy of Foxford Communities.

The original developers of Apple Creek Estates and Hawthorn Trails went through bankruptcy proceedings, leaving the subdivisions unfinished. Foxford has rescued HawthornTrails and could perform a similar feat at Apple Creek Estates.

In 2012, Foxford bought 70 lots from a bankrupt Dartmoor Homes. Dartmoor had sold 20 of 90 single family houses planned for the community. Today, Foxford has sold 44 of the 70 it bought in 2012, Foxford president Peter Brennan said.

Brennan held out hope for the future of Apple Creek Estates.

Living space in the two-story, single-family houses at Hawthorn Trails in Hawthorn Woods ranges from 3,000 to 4,500 square feet.

Living space in the two-story, single-family houses at Hawthorn Trails in Hawthorn Woods ranges from 3,000 to 4,500 square feet.

“Yes, we have a project planned for McHenry County in an old Kirk Homes community south of Woodstock,” Brennan said. “We have 150 units total planned, but we have not opened it yet, but we own it. Hard to say when it will open up.”

Kirk Homes had plans for 1,100 houses along 200 acres of restored prairie and wetlands when the community opened about 10 years ago. Some 250 were built before a court ordered Kirk to liquidate its holdings

in a 2009 bankruptcy. Kirk had defaulted on a $52 million loan from secured lender JPMorgan Chase.

The unbuilt portion of the subdivision turned into weeds, tall grass, unfinished roadways and an abandoned appearance. Residents have endured looking at their unfinished subdivision since 2009. But with Brennan looking their way, the fortunes of the subdivision could change.

Here is what Brennan and a partner did in Hawthorn Woods in the past two years.

Hawthorn Trails was at a standstill until Foxford, based in Hinsdale, bought the development’s remaining 70 lots in 2012. Foxford made significant infrastructure improvements to the community.

The biggest plus for Foxford, though, was the addition of ICON Building Group to the sales program.

Family rooms in the single-family houses at the Hawthorn Trails subdivision in Hawthorn Woods includes a fireplace.

Family rooms in the single-family houses at the Hawthorn Trails subdivision in Hawthorn Woods includes a fireplace.

Charlie Murphy, president and chief executive officer of ICON and a resident of Crystal Lake, has a recent history of successful housing sales and development in the northwest suburbs.

Murphy introduced a new portfolio of custom house designs to the neighborhood.

“Since partnering with ICON, we’ve created a whole new personality for Hawthorn Trails. The families living here are so excited about what a great new community this has become, and buyer response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Brennan said. “At first, we were pretty quiet about the transformation of Hawthorn Trails, but now that construction activity has increased, we have sold 44 homes since we started working with ICON.”

A newly built sales model opened this month at Hawthorn Trails.

The subdivision at the northeast corner of Route 22 and Quentin Road is served by Stevenson High School, which has a state-of-the-art aquatics center. The high school has attracted buyers.

“Our buyers are attracted by our location, especially with  Stevenson High School, which is one of the best high schools in the country,” Brennan said. “The high school plays a very big role in why our buyers come here.”

He noted that most of the buyers are from the Chicago area but are moving up from smaller housing.

Buyers at Hawthorn Trails have the choice of selecting a customizable floor plan from ICON’s portfolio or bringing their own designs to the table.

“The end result will be a more exclusive neighborhood made up of a variety of home exteriors, creating enhanced curbside appeal and visual interest,” Brennan said.

Measuring from 3,000 to 4,500 square feet, the available floor plans at Hawthorn Trails offer four bedrooms, two to four bathrooms and attached two- or three-car garages. Each plan can be modified to a  buyer’s personal preference. Starting prices range from $600,000 to $775,000.

“We’ve been building semi-custom and custom homes for several years, and this partnership with Foxford at Hawthorn Trails has been such a natural fit because it allows us to do what we do best and that is to build beautiful homes for buyers who truly appreciate high craftsmanship,” Murphy said.

“We pride ourselves in providing a hands-on approach and helping guide buyers as they think about any and every facet of their lifestyle and budget and how that will translate into the perfect home for them” Murphy added. “For some, that means tailoring one of our proven floor plans. For others, it’s us designing a completely custom home.”

Homes at Hawthorn Trails, Murphy emphasized, include large, eat-in kitchens with high-end standard finishes such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, 42-inch cabinetry, pantries and large kitchen islands that provide generous seating space for eating and entertaining.

“Deluxe master suites include walk-in closets and master baths with soaking tubs, separate showers, private water closets and dual bowl vanities. Additionally, all houses come standard with 9-foot ceilings, second floor laundry rooms, 3-inch hardwood flooring throughout the main floor and full basements,” Brennan said.

In addition to the new model, Brennan said a community park will be built soon at Hawthorn Trails.

“It is a little less than an acre in size and will have playground equipment, that sort of stuff, in it,” Brennan said.

By car, the development is minutes from shopping, dining and entertainment at Deer Park Town Center. Hawthorn Trails also is close to the Prairie View Metra station and expressways including Interstate 94. Grocery store chain Mariano’s recently opened less than half a mile from Hawthorn Trails.

For information, visit www.icon-group.com or call 815-715-2536.

Some of Foxford’s most recent developments include an enclave of luxury housing in the historic Lansdowne Estate in Lake Bluff, a condominium conversion at Medinah on the Lake in Bloomingdale and Van Buren Lofts, a rehabbed condominium loft building in Chicago’s West Loop. Foxford also recently opened its model at the Clocktower Pointe condominium community in Countryside.

House plans at the Hawthorn Trails subdivision in Hawthorn Woods includes kitchens with stainless steel appliances, a center island, granite countertops, and upper and lower custom cabinets.

House plans at the Hawthorn Trails subdivision in Hawthorn Woods includes kitchens with stainless steel appliances, a center island, granite countertops, and upper and lower custom cabinets.

ICON originally was based in Algonquin but has moved its office to Hawthorn Trails. Murphy said his company has contracts to build 85 new houses this year in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. In addition, he has 35 remodeling projects to oversee.

“Charlie and I currently are working on another project of 19 townhouse lots in Lake Zurich,” Brennan said. “We are busy.”

Brennan anticipated that Hawthorn Trails would be sold out by the end of the year or in early 2015. Then, it might be time for Brennan and Murphy to turn their attentions toward Woodstock.