Allen Gregory and his wife Lynneah liked the neighborhoods of Prairie Village when they first moved to the area from the East Coast about seven years ago, but couldn’t find a home that fit their needs.
So they wound up moving to the Country Club Plaza area. But that’s going to change next year when they occupy a strikingly contemporary home they’re building on a tear-down lot behind the Pioneer Family statue near 69th and Tomahawk Rd.
“We like the location right off the park there,” Gregory said. “We took a year designing our house…My wife and I always have had a passion for modern design.”
The Gregorys’ new home is one of 28 new houses that have received building permits so far this year, according to Wes Jordan, Prairie Village assistant city administrator. There had been 31 tear-downs recorded as of the beginning of December, up 55 percent from 20 tear-downs last year.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Jordan said. “Last year, we didn’t feel the zoning was in place to handle this…We want to promote new development and balance that with preserving neighborhood character.”
Many of those homes being built are costing $800,000 or more. Gregory estimated his new house, if he were to sell it, would go for more than $1 million. Mack Colt, of Mack Colt Homes, is building the foundation of a new house at 4307 W. 63rd Ter. that will list for $998,500.
“The price range you’re hearing is what we’ve been seeing,” Jordan said. “It’s surprising, but it’s a good thing for the community.”
Mack Colt Homes’ project is a continuation of other new home construction that’s been occurring in the Indian Fields neighborhood.
“The property is in the right location to compete with other products we’re doing,” Colt said.
While the 63rd Terrace lot size is a bit smaller than some of the other tear-down sites he’s built on, 13,000 square feet, the builder said there are even smaller tear-down lots averaging 8,000 square feet nearer the Village Shops where $800,000 homes are being built.
Jordan said between 2010 and last year, 65 new homes were built in Prairie Village and 58 tear-downs during the same period. The number of tear-downs per year has grown 185 percent between 2010 and 2015, from seven to 20.
Gregory purchased the property where his new home is being built in March 2015. The family lived in the house there for three months before it was demolished. Lynneah also is president of Reconstruct, and their new home is an example of the firm’s work.
He said there is precedent to moving in a new architectural direction, pointing out architect Don Drummond designed very modern homes in Prairie Village in the 1950s. He also said blending more expensive homes into the neighborhood is a trend happening nationwide.
“It’s very common in other cities,” Gregory said. “I don’t want to live in a neighborhood without diversity of styles and people. I love the fact you can have a great house next to a more modest house. It makes for a great mix.”