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Diamondback owner says 1,300-plus unit community fills void in area with new jobs

By John Brasier – Reporter

Zach Tran and Hal Kern believe they are filling a much-needed void with a 1,300-1,400 unit residential development near the Interstate 40/85 interchange with McConnell Road in east Greensboro.

Job growth is coming to the eastern section of Guilford County, and Tran said there's very little housing available for new workers.

A Publix distribution center under construction not far to the north is planned to create as many as 1,000 jobs. Prepac said it will hire 200 employees for its new facility under construction at Rock Creek. FedEx and Amazon recently opened distribution facilities at Rock Creek. Those are a few of the biggest new employers in the area. Rock Creek still has available land. A few minutes east on the interstate are new jobs in industrial parks in Mebane and Graham.

Diamondback's current site plan, provided by Tran on Thursday, calls for 911 single-family homes and 420 townhomes. Tran said he expected the single-family homes to range in price from the upper-$200,000s into the low $300,000s, but noted the volatility in building materials and labor costs make selling price difficult to predict.

"The job growth in that area has been tremendous," Tran said Thursday. "The housing growth hasn't kept up. Workforce housing is a critical need. None of that job creation was there 10 years ago."

Though approved for up to 1,400 units, the approximately 371-acre development that's north and south of McConnell Road and east of Andrews Farm Road is currently planned for about 1,331 units, according to an updated site plan.

Diamondback's zoning and annexation requests received little opposition at the council meeting. A family with adjacent property expressed concern that the city would annex their property too, a concern that Mayor Nancy Vaughan told them was not allowed by state law.

Earlier this year, Diamondback lost a highly contentious battle to build a larger PUD community on the former Johnson family farm in Jamestown. They also were turned down for zoning for planned housing in Mebane. But the McConnell Road project is surrounded by much less existing residential housing owned by potential opposition.

Tran said Diamondback is currently entertaining offers from home builders. He said no deals with builders have been made yet. He estimated that Diamondback would break ground in 9-12 months, but said building supplies and other factors make a timeline hard to set.

Diamondback has had a contract on the land for more than a year, said Tran, who added that his company identified the properties more than 1 1/2 years ago.

Tran said Diamondback has control of some other large tracts in the Greensboro area, which he said continues to be popular for development because land is much cheaper than it is in the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

"We're very bullish on the Greensboro market," he said. "There's a very acute shortage of inventory there."




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