By SHELLA CALAMBA
Plans for building on a property that once held the University of Arizona’s Christopher City may soon come to fruition.
Homebuilder KB Home has announced more specific details about how it wants to develop the area located on the northwest corner of East Fort Lowell Road and North Columbus Boulevard, formerly the site of the graduate student housing development Christopher City.
KB Home said it will build 373 new homes and offer 16 floor plans with up to 2,784 square feet at the Riverhaven community. They will be one- and two-story houses with two to six bedrooms.
In January the City Council approved the construction of 448 homes, 148 more than the area had been zoned for originally.
The company bought more than 60 acres of Christopher City’s total 62.89 acres from the DeGrazia Co., a Tucson developer that bought the land from the university last June.
“We are replacing some antiquated housing that was in fact contaminated,” said John Bremond, president of KB Home’s Tucson Division. “We’re replacing it with more up-to-date housing opportunities.”
The 60-plus acre area was once the site of a complex of one-story apartments that the university closed after an outbreak of potentially dangerous mold.
Bremond said first-time buyers are among the target customers for the new single-family residences. He said KB Home has yet to pin down the price tags for the new homes, but those ranging in size from 1,000 to about 1,600 square feet are likely to cost from or just under $100,000 up to just under $130,000.
They will offer two to three bedrooms with one or two bathrooms.
Midrange houses will go from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet, primarily featuring three to four bedrooms with two and a half bathrooms. Prices are expected to range from $130,000 to $160,000.
The next tier of housing will encompass 1,500 to almost 2,900 square feet, with up to five bedrooms and three bathrooms. The houses are likely to sell for $160,000 to $200,000.
Given bus routes and the history of the property, “it’s very well positioned to supply housing for students, especially considering the size and price of the lower end of the product range,” Bremond said.
The move to close Christopher City, even though UA paid to relocate more than 350 students, drew protests.
Officials didn’t foresee the new plans having any effect on the university.
“I don’t see how it would any more than any other development in Tucson,” said Libby Stone, neighborhood relations coordinator with the university’s Office of Community Relations. The Christopher City area “was sold, and what a private developer does is way beyond our control or concern really.”
Bremond said this development will be larger than most of KB’s projects in Tucson. Typically, its communities cover 100 to 200 lots.
Costs of the homes are in the realm of many single-family homes in Tucson. Average sale price for a single-family residence was $180,209 as of June, up from $176,354 in the same period last year, according to the Tucson Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service.
The community is expected to open for information early next month, and KB Home expects that six decorated models will open in September.
PHOTO CREDIT: VAL CAÑEZ/Tucson Citizen
CUTLINE: KB Home bought the Christopher City apartment complex in the past year and is planning 373 homes for the site, at East Fort Lowell Road and North Columbus Boulevard.