By KEVIN BEESE
BELLWOOD | “Bellwood the Builder” is not like to be a PBS kids show anytime soon, but the concept has gotten rave reviews from residents and village officials alike so far.
With residents moving out of town for bigger homes, some vacant industrial land available for a song and builders bypassing the village for more greener pastures, Bellwood took it upon itself in 2012 to go into the home-building business. Buying property, it cleared land and started building homes.
The village is on its third round of home construction, this time a 12-home development on the site of a former Randolph Street factory. Village Board members meeting as a committee of the whole gave their approval to selling the second and third homes of the Randolph.
The homes could be sold as early as the Village Board’s meeting later this month.
Randolph Estates as the development is called touts 2,100-square-foot luxury homes starting at $259,900.
“It’s working,” Mayor-elect Andre Harvey said this week. “The town is the developer. We acquired the land and created homes … This is a big gain for the community.”
He said village officials continued to hear from resident that they had outgrown their homes, many of which were around 1,000 square feet of space.
It is the village’s grandest home-building endeavor yet. Bellwood started with five 1,800-square-foot homes, known as Bellwood Estates, starting at $212,500 each. It moved on to create Englewood Englewood Estates, with homes starting at $220,000.
Mayor Frank Pasquale said the village had to act itself to get bigger homes built in the community.
“We have never lost sight of the need to keep developing new and larger homes in Bellwood,” Pasquale said. “Our village, like the towns around us, is landlocked so we have to find creative ways to grow and meet the needs of our residents who have said they want to stay in Bellwood but have outgrown their homes.”
The money the village makes from one home because the seed money for creating the next home, according to village Chief of Staff Pete Tsiolis.
“The profit goes into making the next house,” Tsiolis said.
Homes the village creates do not sit vacant, Tsiolis said, noting that the last phase of construction had every home sold before it was constructed.