Dream becoming ‘realty’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

A $30 million housing dream got one step closer to reality yesterday as executives from CRS Development were in Selma to work on the Selma Gardens Development Project.

CRS Development is former Alabama star Chris Samuels’ development company.

Samuels, a lineman with the Washington Redskins, and his partners have decided to build affordable, energy efficient housing on Tenth Street.

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“Here is a player that is putting something back in Alabama,” Executive Vice-President of CRS Dr. Armstead Joyner, P.E. said. “Henry Brick will be featured in all the homes.

Our specs are designed to use all local suppliers.”

The five-year plan calls for CRS to invest $30 million in the project that will eventually feature 63 homes, a community center, tennis courts, open space “tot lots” or playgrounds and four different types of houses ranging from single-family, three-bedroom homes to three-story town homes.

“We are trying to make these houses as economical as possible,” Joyner said.

The cost saving methods includes a five-star energy rating that can qualify homeowners for special mortgage rates.

The development will be built using green site architecture techniques; they will be built with an eye toward aesthetically pleasing greenery.

The lot is currently covered in trees and Joyner said part of the plan is to lay out the lots while saving as many of the beautiful trees as possible.

“We really want to try and keep these trees,” he said.

CRS recently received the geology reports and are moving quickly ahead.

“We’re still in the design phase,” Joyner said.

He added that the final specs, licenses and permits should be in by mid-September.

By mid-October, he said, they should be able to being building the sample homes.

There will be four styles of homes for the owners to choose from, in addition to the town home. Buyers will also be able to go on a Web site and have a choice of interior design options, or they can work from the interior design center. All the homes will have fireplaces standard and security lighting in front of the property.

In planning the project, CRS executives took into account the unique aesthetics of Selma and tried to incorporate them into the homes.

“The Windsor Town House design is very unique,” Joyner said. “We visited the historical district before we made our mind up on the aesthetics.”

The Windsor is a three-bedroom unit with garage parking in the rear.

The top floor is composed entirely of the master suite.

“That’s very unique,” Joyner said.

Despite all the amenities, Joyner insisted that the homes will not be priced out of Selmians’ range.

“These units will be affordable,” he said.

The houses will come with structurally insulated paneling and Joyner said, CRS and Lovelady Construction will establish a training program for residents to learned semi-skilled carpentry to install the paneling.

CRS will also sponsor a home buyer’s fair to help Selmians learn the ins and outs of home ownership.

“The home buyer’s fair will be open to residents of Selma and Dallas County to talk about how to purchase a house, how credit works, it’s planned for a Saturday and we’ll have bankers and etc.,” Joyner said.

Once the first phase is completed, Joyner said CRS will work on elderly housing, then finally, the community center.

Joyner said CRS would like to thank the citizens of Selma as well as city administrator’s for their work on the project.

“Enough cannot be said for all those involved to make this dream a reality,” he said. “It’s really been nice.

We are here to stay.”