CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: A stroll through the Village of Chartwell

EAST BAY TOWNSHIP – To call the Village of Chartwell an “ambitious project” is an understatement, considering the planning already done in preparation for the first phase of development.

Developer Joel R. Myler is proud of the village, and it clearly showed as we recently toured the village in its “infancy.”

The Village of Chartwell is located conveniently to downtown Traverse City, yet far enough away to give it a country feel–a feeling Myler wants to make sure stays intact. It’s located on 100 acres of once private farmland, adjacent to the quiet, natural beauty of the Mitchell Creek watershed preserve, an area which shall forever remain undisturbed and undeveloped. Myler was excited about that fact as he pointed out on the yet-bare soil yard of one of his model homes. “See there? Wild turkey prints! And often you can catch glimpses of deer right out the window,” he said.

Fourteen “Ridge Preserve” lots are surrounded by gently rolling hills and majestic pines and hardwoods. Views of East Bay, the length and breadth of Old Mission Peninsula, and the higher topography of Leelanau County beckon one’s eyes.

Myler and architects Kenneth C. Richmond and AAI Inc. of Traverse City have combined traditional site planning and architecture with convenient accessibility for all amenities within the village. Built next to the Centre I.C.E. facility (of which land was donated by Chartwell Properties Inc.), other amenities presently include a Little League baseball field.

“This will be irrigated, so the kids don’t ever have to play in the dirt,” Myler noted.

Additional land is being reserved for a possible community swimming pool and recreational facility, tennis courts and footpaths, as well as access to the Mitchell Creek nature preserve, which contains many trickling streams.

“This is thought to be the only one of this kind in the region,” Myler explained. “What we are trying to do is create a community rather than a subdivision.”

Front sidewalks will wind throughout the community, guiding a ribbon like, tree-lined and irrigated trail. Part of the architectural requirements for each home is that it be “Michigan farmhouse style,” with a contemporary flair in most cases, and mandatory front porches.

“It’s kind of like the way many of us were raised as kids,” Myler reminisced. “When neighbors knew neighbors. They hung out on their porches and chatted. Life was simpler then–a concept we wish to bring here.”

Chartwell Properties is putting finishing touches on its house that will be in the Parade of Homes in June. Timothy Bruen of Bruen Construction is the custom builder, and Richmond and AAI the architects. Pride and superb quality of construction are apparent at every turn in this $245,900 home. The day we toured, Bruen was actually on his hands and knees carefully painting. “Finishing touches are important,” he simply stated.

This two-story home has approximately 1,950 square feet of living space and an unfinished lower level. A large, wood-floored entry and magnificent chandelier was “mandatory” according to Myler.

“Despite its modest square footage, this home packs in style and spaciousness,” he said.

Every component is above-grade quality: The island kitchen has a tiled floor and is complemented with custom cherry cabinets. Kitchen, dining and family rooms each have 12-foot ceilings. Extra tall windows bring in more light throughout the home. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a charming coved ceiling bath. A unique computer work area Myler designed for the hall between the bedrooms overlooks the Mitchell Creek preserve.

Future plans for the village include additional single and multiple family homes, as well as additional lots in the “Ridge Preserve.”

The master plan allows commercial uses to join the community.

“Shops, offices and restaurants will add to the easy way of life here,” he said.

In keeping with the heritage of the land, Myler hopes to turn an old barn, located at the north end of the village, into a vegetable market.

The village has private roads, underground gas, electric, telephone, cable, municipal sewer and water. A newly-planted row of pines masks Centre I.C.E., again preserving the “country feel” to this development.

With such careful design at work, it’s no wonder that the Village of Chartwell won the 1999 Grand Traverse Bay Region Guidebook Award. The Guidebook encourages the protection of a development’s natural resources and landscaping, and promotes wise land use.

Chartwell Properties can be reached at 935-4500. BIZNEWS