Model homes up for auction: Subdivision seems to be at a stand-still

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Stacy Vogel
Thursday, October 2, 2008
— Residents of Ridges of Rock County, the stalled subdivision on the northern tip of Janesville, are starting to feel like they live on an island, one resident said.

“We kind of just do our own thing out here,” said Mandy Wille, 3489 Samson Drive. “(We’re) kind of just lost out here by ourselves.”

The Willes live in one of 12 houses—including four model homes—on 401 acres in a development planned by Kennedy Homes, a Barrington, Ill. company.

Two years after announcing ambitious plans for a 900-home subdivision along Highway 26, Kennedy appears to have given up on the project, at least for the time being.

Badger State Auction will auction off three of the development’s four model homes on Sunday, Oct. 12. The homes belong to Caliper Capital Illinois, according to the Janesville Assessor’s Office.

Kennedy had high hopes for the project along Highway 26. It told the Janesville City Council it planned to build 900 new homes at a rate of 100 homes a year.

But houses were slow in coming. The builder laid off 20 of its 32 employees in February and sued its lenders in March, claiming the banks gave Kennedy too much credit and then abruptly called in the loans, causing the company to become insolvent.

The neighbors didn’t learn about these events from Kennedy Homes. In fact, several neighbors said they haven’t heard from Kennedy in months.

“I think as far as anyone here is concerned, Kennedy has fallen off the face of the earth,” said Laura Osburne, 3453 Samson Drive.

The Janesville Gazette was not able to reach Kennedy on Wednesday for comment.

Osburne said she’s worried the homes will sell at the auction for less than they’re worth, bringing down property values in the rest of the neighborhood.

The assessed values of the homes at 5156, 5180 and 5192 Henry Circle range between $165,000 and $208,000, according to Badger State’s Web site.

That’s not the neighbors’ only concern. Several said they’re upset because Kennedy hasn’t maintained the green space and empty lots in the subdivision.

“It just really looks like an unkempt, forgotten-about subdivision,” said Laura Rudawski, 3477 Samson Drive.

Kennedy turned over some of the land in the subdivision to the city as public space, said Duane Cherek, Janesville planning services manager. It planned to keep some lots on the edges of the subdivision empty as buffers between Highway 26 to the east, County Y to the west and another subdivision to the south.

Now, it’s tough to tell who is responsible for that space, Cherek said. He doesn’t know if the company has declared bankruptcy or is trying to sell the land to another company.

The city could mow the land as part of its noxious weeds ordinance, but it doesn’t know who should get the bill, he said.

“I don’t even know who the ownership is at this point, so I don’t know who we could contact,” he said.

Cherek believes the subdivision will be built up someday, but probably not the way Kennedy intended.

Neighbors hope he’s right, Rudawski said.

For now, they’ve banded together to share information and lawn-mowing duties, Osburne said.

“We like the house, we like the neighborhood,” said Darlene Davis, Osburne’s mother. “We’re fine.”

What: Real estate auction for three model homes in the Ridges of Rock County subdivision
When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12.
Where: 5156, 5180 and 5192 Henry Circle.
More info: Open houses at the addresses will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to noon Sunday and 1 p.m. until the auction Oct. 12. For more information about the open houses, call (608) 295-4474. For more information about the auction, call Badger State Auction at (608) 868-2199 or visit www.badgerstateauction.com.

Last updated: 10:48 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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