Greg Whittaker, president of Whittaker Builders, says he won't stop building houses in New Town during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.
expects to finish the project between 2017 and 2020.
Much of his
faith stems from the uniqueness of the new urbanism approach.
The philosophy, employed to a lesser degree in some other St. Louis area projects, offers homeowners the appeal of modern construction without the look and feel of a conventional suburban subdivision.
Smaller lots are emphasized, punctuated by a mix of styles and prices, as well as easy walking to shops, restaurants and recreation.
Despite Whittaker's financial setback, real estate experts predict that new urbanist communities will continue to have long-term appeal for a niche of home buyers.
Local analysts say they don't believe Whittaker
ran into trouble because of New Town's new urbanism slant, citing the recession's drag on the U.S. housing market.
released statistics compiled by the home builders' group showing New Town with the largest number of building permits for new homes in St. Charles County from 2007 through August of this year.
But if Whittaker
can negotiate a restructuring of its debt, Cottrell said, the builder more than likely will finish the project, noting that much infrastructure has been finished.
"The challenge for the project is everything's at a new price point" in the industry, Cottrell said, adding that Whittaker
has to keep prices low enough to attract buyers without alienating existing residents.
has reacted to the market decline in prices by offering new alternatives such as homes on smaller lots and with "more efficient building over garages.
New Town's cheapest units now go for $87,500, down from the $93,000 low when the development got started on the northern edge of St. Charles in 2005.
Pat Pashia, who sells homes for Whittaker
and lives there as well, says most buyers are looking for a lifestyle change with easily accessible activities.
says the current total of around 25 businesses is ahead of initial projections.
The true picture of New Town is a work in progress, he