The Five Points Neighborhood, a new community development just minutes away from Uptown Martinsville, celebrated its grand opening the morning of May 10 with a ribbon cutting and tours of two of the five homes that are currently in place and ready, or nearly ready, to welcome homeowners.
Martinsville Mayor Kathy Lawson recalled that the kickoff for the development project several years ago was held on a cold, blustery day—a stark contrast to the spring breeze and sunshine of Monday’s ceremony.
“This event is the culmination of many months of work by multiple groups to bring new, affordable housing to Martinsville, and we hope that this is just the first,” Lawson said. “The unique partnership between” partners that included the city, the Harvest Foundation, Virginia Housing Authority, USDA-Rural Development, Silverpoint Homes, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC), United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, and Nationwide Homes “is an innovative approach, and we’re optimistic the momentum generated by this project will carry forward to other similar projects and developments. This is a great day in Martinsville and for all of the project partners. We look forward to seeing all of these houses become homes for our citizens.”
Don Aheron, general manager of Nationwide Homes, noted that Nationwide has been in business in Martinsville for 63 years. “We’re very proud of that.”
He hopes the Five Points project “will help us continue forward and do more, not only here in Martinsville but also in other areas,” he said, adding that the process could be used as a template to illustrate how a similar project could be done successfully in other communities.
Jim Miller, of Silverpoint Homes, said the organization was “very proud” to be part of the development. “Other cities have tried this, and they have gotten to second base and it went downhill from there, so I want to congratulate the city, the Harvest Foundation, and everybody that’s been on the team to make this possible. There were a lot of things that could have killed this. It was a challenge. For the group to hold it together, and everyone stay committed, I think was an outstanding accomplishment.”
Miller said the once-underdeveloped lot had been turned into “a field of dreams for people who need to fulfill their dreams of home ownership. I look at this as a field of dreams that’s been fulfilled for some people, that’s going to make their lives so much better.”
He recognized the efforts of Jeff Sadler, the Martinsville-Henry County housing and revitalization coordinator. “Without his determination and leadership and staying on it, making us meet every two weeks come hell or high water to get it back on track, I know this wouldn’t have been achieved.”
“On behalf of Silverpoint,” Miller said, “let’s do this again. We’re ready when you are.”
Kate Keller, president of the Harvest Foundation, said the project was a “labor of love,” and joined the other speakers in thanking all the entities involved.
“This will be a model that will be replicated across the United States,” she said. “People are already looking at how we pulled together private/public partnerships to create affordable housing and workforce housing for our communities.”
Five Points is located at the five-way intersection of Fayette Street, Memorial Boulevard South, and West Church Street. The cottage-style homes (townhomes are planned for a later phase of the project) were designed with new construction technologies that cut down on materials and overall costs to pass those savings along to the homeowner. Five completed homes are currently on-site, with three still available for sale. Additional homes will be built as completed homes are sold.
It is intended to address “a critical housing need in our community,” City Manager Leon Towarnicki said in a release. “The unique partnership behind this project creates an innovative approach to new housing construction, the concepts of which can be replicated in other communities. On behalf of the city, we’re excited to see the project take shape and look forward to welcoming new homeowners to the neighborhood.”
Earlier this year, Cavco, Nationwide Homes’ parent company, won the Manufactured Housing Institute’s inaugural Community Impact Project of the Year award for the Five Points project.