The project, described as the largest residential development to be undertaken in this county, is developing the former George Malone property.
Its entrance will be at the intersection of Buckingham Road and Holly Creek Road 2.7 miles from Tusculum and 3.8 miles from Greeneville.
The Shular Companies, based in Pigeon Forge, and Alley Realty & Auction Company, of Knoxville, are doing the development as a joint venture.
They said in a press release that they intend to make River Plantation "the finest master-planned residential community in eastern Tennessee."
The developers won't be building homes, only selling lots. Homes built there will be required to meet certain size and quality standards.
The 130 residential lots will range in size from one acre to more than five acres. They are likely to be priced at $40,000 to $80,000, depending on the lot, according to Glen Glafenhein, the Shular Companies' vice president for development and the project manager.
He stressed the beauty of the site, which is between the Nolichucky River - along which it fronts for 6,000 feet - and Holly Creek. The site offers stunning views of the towering Appalachian Mountains.
David Alley Jr., owner/operator of Alley Realty & Auction Company, said, "We've been in the business since 1963, developing all over East Tennessee. This is the best project we've done."
He said, "One very positive aspect of this project is the security because the homeowners will have a protective environment with the river and the national forest surrounding the property," which will only have one entrance.
Secluded, Scenic Site
Glafenhein said River Plantation will have a 1,500-foot parkway-like entrance, a riverside park with pavilion, a sports field and recreational park, a community garden area, and a pond. He added the development is being provided with underground utilities, asphalt roadways, and concrete curbing and guttering.
Infrastructure for the development is expected to be completed by Oct. 1, Glafenhein said, adding that the developers are posting a performance bond pending completion of the River Plantation's roads.
He said the property of the late George Malone, who was a prominent Greene County business and community leader, was purchased in June, with work on the development beginning immediately thereafter.
Possible $40M Investment
Speaking at a press conference this morning at the General Morgan Inn, Greene County Executive Alan Broyles said, "Should this project build out to everyone's expectations, River Plantation could very well generate more than $40 million in new real estate investments, which will increase tax collections by more than $150,000 for our county."
Tom Ferguson, president of the Greene County Partnership said, "From everything we've observed, this will be one of the largest, most upscale residential communities located in Upper East Tennessee. Based on the track record of those involved, we fully expect River Plantation to become one of the signature residential communities in our region."
The developers stressed the comparative low density of the project, with 130 homes sites planned in three phases on 243 acres. They said they are committed to being environmentally sensitive stewards of the land.
Ferguson said evidence of this is that already the developers have pulled thousands of abandoned auto tires from the more-than-one-mile stretch of the Nolichucky River on which River Plantation faces.
The GCP's president said that one benefit the development will bring to the county will be the generation of "probably hundreds" of construction jobs involved in building homes there.
Glafenhein said the first phase of project involves 72 home sites. He said that already, even before the marketing campaign has been launched, he has received "pre-sale commitments" of about $700,000 for lots.
He said lots cannot be formally sold before Sept. 14, when the plats, which are awaiting final approval by the Greene County Planning Commission, are to be formally recorded.
'Premier Area For Growth'
The developers said, in a prepared statement, "Greene County is a premier area of economic growth. This expansion and prosperity makes the timing right for a quality residential development.
"To ensure that that the high standards of River Plantation are maintained in perpetuity, Shular Companies will be forming a Property Owners' Association. This association will assume management of the subdivision and appoint an architectural review board. The association will maintain all common areas and enforce the original covenant."
Glafenhein said that "any style house common to East Tennessee" will be permitted, but there will be design criteria enforced, such as not allowing garages to face the street.
Alley said the developers "liked the demographics" of Greene County, which they see as poised for more growth.
Ferguson said the developers have promised, in return for the GCP's assistance, that one of the development's lots that will be sold at auction, with the proceeds from that sale to be shared among the GCP's Keep Greene Clean, Partners in Education, tourism and economic development programs.
Shular Companies' Background
Shular Companies describes itself as "a diversified enterprise with assets of approximately $100 million."
The company is headed by Michael L. Shular, a licensed real estate developed with 35 years' real marketing, development and financing experience.
The Shular Companies are involved not only in residential real estate, but construction in a number of southern states, as well as operation of motels and billboards, Glafenhein said.
Shular Realty has developed a number of residential communities in East Tennessee, though not any in Greene County.
Its nearest residential development is Lakeside in Jefferson County. Glafenhein said that in East Tennessee the company also has developed these residential communities: Deer Ridge, Bentwood, Covington Pointe, Riverbrook, River Run, Brookstone and River Chase.
Shular and Alley said they expect 30 to 40 percent of the lot purchasers to come from out of state, many from Florida.
Glafenhein said the biggest selling point for the development is the land itself, which he described as "awesome" in its beauty.
He said that he would expect the minimum construction price for homes at River Plantation to be $200,000, with the maximum house price well over $500,000.
Alley said that, from his experience, many of the buyers will be in their 50s and older, and will have never before been to East Tennessee, but will immediately appreciate River Plantation's scenic, uncrowded setting.
Assisting in the development will be:
• Vaughn & Melton, the local architectural and engineering firm;
• Ed Daugherty, a Georgia Tech University professor and landscape architect who will be involved in landscape planning. He has been involved in the landscaping of Calloway Gardens and other important Georgia projects;
• Ramon Noya, a noted creative lighting designer who will be arranging for attractive outdoor lighting in the project's community areas;
• Ann McCardy, a marketing specialist and graphic designer. Like Daugherty and Noya, she is from the Atlanta, Ga., area.
Glafenhein said, "We've been very impressed with the spirit of cooperation in this community." He particularly thanked those who have assisted the project in its preliminary phase, from the Greene County Partnership, Greeneville Light & Power System, Greeneville Water Department, County Highway Department, as well as County Executive Broyles, City Planner Lyn Ashburn, and Randy Davenport of Vaughn & Melton.
A sales office is expected to erected on-site this fall.
For more information on River Plantation, Glafenheim said he can be reached by calling 423-705-0340 or 800-628-9073.