ASHLAND - Land sales are picking up in Ashland's newest residential subdivision.
Developer Aaron Aber of AAA Real Estate said as of Tuesday, he has sold six of 12 lots along the new stretch of Shady Lane.
"Essentially over the winter, there wasn't a whole lot of traction. But once we got to spring they started selling pretty well, and this summer we had good results," Aber said.
Aber, an Ashland native and owner of Aber's Towing & Crane Service, extended the existing Shady Lane toward the former Walmart plaza last year. The project added a new a cul de sac with 12 lots for residential construction.
Ashland City Council accepted the plat for the new subdivision in September 2018, but it took several months for the first of the lots to move.
Meanwhile, Aber wasn't the only one anxious to see whether the investment would pay off.
City leaders said they viewed Aber's subdivision as a test to see whether and how quickly homes would be developed if residential lots were available.
"The fact that half the lots have sold in less than a year, and when you consider where the people are coming from who are buying these lots, it bodes well for the city's future," said Ashland Mayor Matt Miller.
Of the handful of property buyers, one is moving from out of state and two are coming from outside Ashland County, according to Aber. One is moving into the city from elsewhere in the county and one is relocating within the city.
"I don't believe any are first-time home buyers," Aber said. "There are some retirees that are looking to get out of their two-stories and build a ranch or downsize from a larger house into something more manageable or go from a larger property to a smaller lot that's easier to maintain."
Aber said the buyers often look for options at other places in the city or outside the city but struggle to find the kind of home they are looking for and already built and also run into a lack of availability of nice, buildable lots in the city.
Buyers seem to appreciate the convenient location of Shady Lane, coupled with the serene setting.
"It's peaceful and has the appearance of being out in the country but with the amenities of the city." Aber said, adding that as a cul de sac, the street has little traffic.
The developer hopes to see the first house being built on one of the lots this fall.
Aber encourages anyone interested in buying a lot a call him soon at (419) 651-1427.
"There are lots still available but they are selling quickly, so they need to get them locked down and under contract ASAP," Aber said.
Aber said his decision to build a new subdivision was not about making money but rather about helping his community. Still, he does expect to see a pay off eventually.
"I think that I would consider it a good investment," Aber said. "It's a long-term investment. I think I would do it again given the right circumstances and the right location."
Aber said he enjoys the real estate business and would like to do more residential development. He also has other plans in the works.
Since purchasing the Shady Lane site, Aber has also bought land outside Ashland County as well as commercial land within the city.
In June, Aber purchased the former Buff's Lawn and Garden property across the from the county fairgrounds at 2007 Claremont Avenue, between Irwin Financial Associates and Seddon Court. He said he intends to use the site for commercial development but has not yet finalized his plans.
Miller said he and city engineer Shane Kremser have identified about a dozen sites around the perimeter of the city that could be ideal for future subdivisions, but for now, developers seem most interested in constructing apartments rather than houses or lots for single-family homes.
"Obviously so much of it is market-driven," Miller said. "We can work with developers to try to extend utilities of particular areas, and we're willing to do that... But even though we might think those locations would make sense, it doesn't mean those sites are all for sale, and unless we can find a private developer who is willing to work with us to make it happen, we'll continue to wait on those subdivisions."