Site preparation work is underway for a new subdivision on property on Ga. 53 just inside the bypass.

Crestview, as it will be called, is being developed by KC Homes and CDR Management of Rome. Their planned 67 single family homes will be built by Smith Douglas Homes.

Walt Busby and his father, Dan Childs, are handling the initial development of the property.

“When I heard there seemed to be some momentum leaning toward high density, that’s what attracted us, because we’ve done it,” Busby said.

They’ve been responsible for developments such as the 64-unit cluster home North Oaks community on eight acres in Dalton and the Pear Street community in the Between the Rivers Historic District of Rome.

“It’ a nice fit for us because we know how to do it,” he said.

Busby and Childs are hoping to bring on line another 200 homes in what Floyd County Commissioner Allison Watters has called “the missing middle” price range, $175,000 to $225,000. The homes would be constructed at different locations across the county.

They have under contract a 33-acre site in West Rome along Technology Parkway where they are planning to construct as many as 103 homes earmarked for the rental market.

Smith Douglas will again be doing the actual residential construction, as long as the property passes all of the soil-related tests.

The construction company entered the local market almost a decade ago when they took over the Magnolia Walk subdivision, then moved to Berwick West and Applewood. They are currently finishing out the Emerald Oak subdivision.

“We just want to stay up there in Floyd County,” said Colin Bennett, land acquisition manager for Smith Douglas. “Once we use up all those lots, we’ll go back to the drawing board and try to find land and development partners.”

Busby attributes a lot of the renewed interest in housing in Rome and Floyd County to a pair of housing summits, held in 2020 and earlier this year.

“They have put forth the message that Rome is saying, ‘hey, we’re looking to do business with you,’” Busby said.

The recommendations of a Special Committee on Housing, chaired by Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis, will have a lot to do with future activity in the homebuilding industry, he said.

Incentives are critical, according to Busby, because while Smith Douglas has not gotten any city incentives for the build out of a number of old subdivisions over the last couple of years, they were able to acquire lots where the infrastructure, roads, water and sewer had already been installed.

If incentives — such as the waiver of water and sewer tap fees and cash reimbursements on a per lot basis of between $2,500 and $6,000 per lot — are approved by the city and county, Busby said he expects to see even more all new construction.

Incentives are just as important to Smith Douglas going forward.

“Development is the biggest risk out there nowadays,” Bennett said.

He explained that it’s tough to start a 100-home subdivision given current market conditions and take a chance that the economy won’t take a turn for the worse.

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