Arthur Rutenberg Homes is back in area as franchiser

15 Jan Arthur Rutenberg Homes is back in area as franchiser

Arthur Rutenberg Homes franchise recently began work on a new model in Crescent Resource’s Springfield neighborhood in Fort Mill, S.C. The model should be ready by May – weather permitting.

Leaders at both companies say the groundbreaking marks a hopeful start to the new year and a new approach to the tough realities of today’s housing market.

Arthur Rutenberg Homes returns to the Charlotte area with a new business model.

Arthur Rutenberg was a familiar name back in the 1970s and ’80s. I remember its signature contemporary homes well. But it pulled out of the market in the 1980s. “And we haven’t built that (contemporary) product in decades,” said Jim Rosewater.

Back then, the parent company built homes. The new south Charlotte operation is a Arthur Rutenberg Homes franchise, Paragon Homes, Inc. owned by Jim Rosewater and Mitch Genda. Rosewater said the franchise approach proved to be the better way to do business.

Arthur Rutenberg Homes has announced three franchises in the Carolinas. There’s one in Kannapolis – Southern Inspirations – and another in Myrtle Beach.

Each franchise receives support from the parent company, especially with quick custom design changes. Homes are mostly presold, so expensive speculative homes aren’t sitting empty.

Rosewater said Arthur Rutenberg Homes franchises have been building in Florida, selling everything from small, active-adult houses to high-end luxury homes. “We’re very good at identifying markets and trends,” he said, “and developing products that meet the need.”

Arthur Rutenberg and Paragon Homes, Inc. identified Charlotte and the neighborhood in Fort Mill, and will offer new models.

Crescent is perhaps best known here for $1-million-plus homes in waterfront neighborhoods on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. Springfield is a golf course community away from the water.

There are expensive homes on the course. HomeArama, you might remember, was held at Springfield back in 2007. In fact the model is going up not far from the site of that luxury showcase.

But prices at Springfield start in the $300,000s, according to Crescent’s James Martin, and the typical sale is $450,000 to $500,000.

Sales have slowed, but they’ve been steady.

Rosewater said that when he and Genda started looking for a potential neighborhood in Charlotte, there were more than two dozen unsold homes in Springfield. Now, that backlog has all but disappeared. “Today, they have one inventory house left in the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s incredible.”

Indeed, Martin said, the inventory has fallen from about 30 homes to only one.

Paragon Homes of Charlotte, Inc. plans to build homes that fit comfortably into Springfield’s most popular price range. While some will be larger, Rosewater said most will be from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. Including the lot, prices will start at about $400,000.

The model is a part of Arthur Rutenberg Homes’ new Southern Design Collection. Called the “Asheville,” it’s on the 18th green and features French country styling.

“We’re going to build a home that you might have paid $800,000 to $1 million for a couple of years ago, without that price point,” Rosewater said.