By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
FORT THOMAS - The development surge of custom-built hillside homes that have become popular in Newport is moving upriver.
Centerline Development of Erlanger wants to develop 10 homes on a wooded hillside in Fort Thomas that overlooks the Ohio River and the Combs-Hehl Interstate 275 bridge.
Hawthorne Acres will be built at the end of Hawthorne Avenue, a small residential street off U.S. 27 in south Fort Thomas. Prices will begin at around $400,000 and may go as high as $1 million, said Centerline Development owner Tim Reese.
Reese has tapped two of Campbell County's top custom homebuilders for the project - Jim Stegman of Fort Thomas and Jim Cutter of Cutter Construction in Cold Spring.
"There's nothing you can't like about the location," Reese said. "It's an all-wooded region with river views in a community known for its great schools. We're already getting a lot of calls."
Land is typically at a premium in Fort Thomas, Cutter said.
"Any time you have land in Fort Thomas, people are interested in building on it," said Cutter, who has four preliminary sales lined up.
The project has been approved by Fort Thomas, but Reese has not begun clearing the land and moving massive amounts of dirt to make room for the homes.
About 10,000 cubic yards of dirt, or about 1,000 truckloads, will have to be taken off the property via River Road in Fort Thomas.
Before he can move forward, Reese would have to receive permits from the city, said Fort Thomas Building Inspector and Zoning Administrator Ralph Hopper.
Members of the Fort Thomas Tree Commission inspected the site last week and determined that about 60 trees will have to be replaced with new plantings once the land is cleared for the construction path.
Dozens of older homes with river views line the hillsides in Newport, Bellevue, Dayton and Fort Thomas in Campbell County.
But over the last few years custom builders have constructed upscale homes, some costing more $1 million, in Newport in and around Wiedemann Hill. Homes are also being built in Bellevue.
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