By Patrick McCarron
Construction at Thompson’s Knoll in Lexington is relying on a new form of publicity to attract potential homebuyers.
City of Lexington Housing Counselor Jeanene Campbell has begun advertising the housing for low- to moderate-income buyers at Lexington’s Community Table, a pay-what-you-can-afford dinner held every Monday night at the Rockbridge Area Relief Association building.
“Because I’m also involved in the Thompson’s Knoll project, I realized working here every Monday that a lot of our patrons are in the income bracket that would qualify for Thompson’s Knoll,” Campbell said.
“We’ve had the hardest time getting people to call because they assume they can’t afford it. So we figured this is a great way—we’re going to make ourselves available the last Monday of every month, to come out and answer any housing needs at all.”
Campbell said Lexington is looking for more applications from potential homebuyers.
Those interested in applying can pick up applications at Lexington’s Community Table on the last Monday of every month, or contact Campbell, at 540-520-7199, to have an application mailed to them.
Thompson’s Knoll is a housing development on North Lewis Street, near Lylburn Downing Middle School, open to buyers with low to moderate incomes. When completed, the development is intended to be a 20-home community .
In recent months, fewer people have applied to become Thompson’s Knoll homebuyers. Campbell said the holiday season and delays in construction were to blame.
“But now that we can legally sell these lots, and we can promote it, and we can actually start building these homes, the phone’s ringing,” Campbell said. “So we’re confident that the applications will keep coming in.”
She said the nature of the application process at Thompson’s Knoll makes it slower than the process of buying a typical house.
“We look at their entire budget. We make sure this is a good and smart decision for them, not just trying to sell them a house,” Campbell said.
Thompson’s Knoll has received a total of 11 applications from potential homebuyers. Four have been approved and, according to Lexington Housing Coordinator Joan Neel, one is “likely to be approved.” This leaves room for 15 more houses in the development.
Neel said the accepted applicants are excited to move into their new homes.
“What’s exciting for them, though, is…they get to have choices. So they get a say whether they want a one, two, three, four bedroom home, or a single-story or a two-story.”
Neel said many of the applicants have children, who are also excited for new choices.
“It’s not like rental housing when you can’t put something on the wall,” said Neel. “Now they can paint their room their own colors, and they can hang whatever their parents will allow them to hang on the wall. So it’s an interesting and exciting time for families to get into their first homes.”
Campbell would not release the names of the buyers. But, she said the first house to be completed belongs to a father with two children.
Weather permitting, the first house will be finished this spring.
Construction on two additional homes is set to begin this spring and summer. These homes will be built by Habitat for Humanity.
Lexington is also reviewing and finalizing plans to build several privately developed houses in Thompson’s Knoll.
Although there are no finished houses at the development yet, Campbell said the entire infrastructure is now finished, including the roads, streetlights, water, sewage and electricity.
More information on Thompson’s Knoll is available here.