The population of Avimor has doubled in the past year, and thats not including its newest resident a black bear who moved in a few a weeks ago.
About 40 families now live in the planned community north of Eagle, and another three families are moving in the next few weeks, said general manager Dan Richter. Including homes that are empty and for sale, the number of structures on the site has nearly tripled since summer 2011.
Avimors first resident, Marc Grubert, said he has noticed a big-time increase in construction this year.
It is a double-edged sword, Grubert said.
He and his wife, Gina, are glad to see more families move in and the community grow, but they also have enjoyed the quiet: Since moving in three years ago, the Gruberts and other Avimor pioneers have had the run of the 830-acre site and its nearly 100 miles of trails.
Avimor home-building started in 2008 as a partnership with the McLeod family, which owns the 23,000-acre Spring Valley Ranch, and Arizona-based SunCor, which was developing planned communities around the West.
About 20 homes were built before construction was halted in 2009, when the economy tanked and financially strapped SunCor pulled out of the project.
The McLeods partnered with a group of local investors, and the new company, Avimor Partners, decided to hunker down, hold off on building new homes and wait for a sign of healing in the market, Richter said.
That sign started materializing last August, and the company decided to forge ahead and resume building homes.
We now have 55 homes completed or under construction. And we are picking up more permits next week, Richter said.
About 35 homes have been built in the past 12 months. With four months left in the year, Richter expects the company to surpass its 2012 goal of building 40 homes. The planned community was approved to build 220 homes in its first phase, with 684 Avimor homes at full build-out.
WEATHERING THE STORM
Circa 2006, Ada County approved a half-dozen planned communities.
Avimor is the only one to survive. The others never started construction.
One reason Avimor was able to weather the economic storm: Weve never had any debt, Richter said. That was one of the (McLeods) conditions, there is to be no debt.
Avimors owners could afford to ride out the recession because they werent beholden to a bank.
Richter said about $30 million in infrastructure has been built, including roads, seven parks, a wastewater treatment plant, two fishing ponds and soccer and baseball fields. And it is all paid for. A community pool was built last summer. Tennis and basketball courts should be completed by the end of the year.
Oh, and about the bear: He showed up a few weeks ago, Richter said. He hangs out around the creek, eating berries. We just saw him yesterday walking along one of the paths.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell