Wellstone Neighborhood is Bluffton ‘Hidden Gem’

On Buck Island Road, two miles away from the heart of downtown Bluffton, is a community that’s undergoing a quiet revival at the hands of one local homebuilder.

Village Park Homes of Bluffton has long been in the development game. But seeing an increasing need for more affordable housing, and noticing more communities in need of help, the company began to shift its focus.

“The fact is there’s just not a lot of land left to build on in the area, especially in Bluffton. But we’re a master at finding little opportunities,” said Leslie Ehlers, marketing director for Village Park Homes. “We go into communities that have flat-lined, where developers may have run out of money and are sitting on land and just need a builder to come in and get things going again.”

In the last few years, Village Park Homes has had success in breathing new life into a previously struggling New Riverside area, including reviving The Meadows and Southern Oaks neighborhoods.

“Communities are seeing the success we bring — higher property values, more residents — and they’re giving us more lots to improve,” Ehlers said.

Such was the case in Wellstone. The Bluffton community was originally started around 2006, before the recession. But as the economy slowed, so did development. After putting in place about 100 town houses, the community eventually died out and sat without further development for more than a decade.

Having had success with the town house product in other communities, Village Park came into Wellstone ready to build 69 units. Since rows of pastel-colored town homes were already in place, Village Park mirrored the same building styles and floor plans that already existed. When complete, Wellstone will have 170 units.

“Wellstone is kind of like a hidden gem. The people that live here love it,” said real estate agent Alison Wray. “The value is practically unheard of. The amount of space you’re getting for the price is just not something you’ll find in a new, single-family home in this price point in this area.”

The town homes are available in four styles: the Braden and Ashton, both interior units, and the Camillia and Daufuskie, both end units. Each home features three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and an extended length one-car garage. The homes range in size from 1,446 square feet up to 1,617 square feet.

“Because of the way the homes were built, there are very few shared walls and it feels more like single-family living, but without all of the maintenance,” Wray said. “Oversized windows on the interior models make the space feel very open, light and bright.”

Prices range from $185,900 to $196,900 depending on the model and the finishes. The neighborhood amenities include a pool, fitness center, and a community center for organized events. There are also ponds, green spaces, and walking paths.

Village Park Homes opened sales on this new phase in January and have already sold 23 town homes, Ehlers said.

“We’ve seen what’s happened to Bluffton. People are struggling, rent is through the roof, and it’s more affordable to buy. However, there’s just not a lot of homes in the area under $200,000,” Ehlers said. “But in Wellstone, since town houses don’t require much land, it means we’re able to build more homes and offer them at a more affordable price for many of the area’s blue-collar workers.”

Courtesy Island Packet

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