Five acres of Austin land will be developed
Less than a month after the announcement that Austin Industries plans to sell 261 acres of its Springbrook Properties on the city's north side for development, the city posted plans for development on a piece of land next door.
That piece would be a five-acre parcel of farmland at 1217 Henry Road just west of Tom Gail Park, on the west side of the Springbrook Properties, according to city documents and the application posted on the city's website.
While the property — known as "Hazelwood Farm" — is technically not part of the Springbrook Properties, Austin Industries President Brett Baker said the Austin family is selling it for the same reasons as the larger expanse just east.
"We held it through the recession, and just like Springbrook, we want to release property because it's needed for the community to build houses. So, we decided to put it on the market," Baker said.
Baker explained that Ken and Joan Austin bought the property about 10 years ago, initially intending to convert the old mansion-like house on the property into their primary home. However, they decided not go through with that plan when they found a better location and the house has remained an "odd-ball" in Austin hands through the recession.
The announcement earlier this month that 261 acres of the Springbrook properties would be up for sale was the first major move in years to realize the vision of the Springbrook Master Plan, which covers about 450 acres of largely farmland on the city's northeast corner.
Developed and adopted by the city in 2008, the plan aimed to develop most of that land into low-density houses with pockets of high density and commercial spaces, but it has largely been collecting dust since the recession hit. The only piece of the plan implemented thus far was the Allison Inn & Spa.
Baker noted that the 261 acres on the market will likely be developed in pieces over at least the next 15 years, explaining that recent economic studies conducted show Newberg can expect to sell somewhere between 50-100 new homes per year during that time as the economy goes through different phases.
Hazelwood Farm sits just outside of the western boundary of the Springbrook Master Plan area but is still listed as being owned by Springbrook Properties Inc., which is one of the Austin's holding entities, Baker said.
He explained they went through a similar process of interviewing developers for this property, but the Springbrook Properties development will likely be much longer and more detailed, especially as Austin Industries seeks to sell all 261 acres to a single developer.
While Lake Oswego-based Venture Properties Inc., an arm of Stone Bridge Homes NW, will develop Hazelwood Farm, Baker said no decision has been made on who will develop the Springbrook area.
Under the plan submitted by Venture Properties, the land would be broken up into 19 single-family homes into parcels ranging from about 7,000 to 10,000 square feet, according to a city summary of the project.
Application documents indicate the Venture Properties will make any needed street and utility upgrades required for the Hazelwood Farm development, which includes proposals that would extend several local streets with new sidewalks as well as improving stormwater infrastructure for the area.
The city is reviewing the application and it is unclear when staff will make a decision.