Miller Farms, a planned community in Manchester, is adding more townhomes. Pet-friendly and with no age restrictions, Miller Farms welcomes a diverse crowd.
"There are some empty nesters, some young professionals," says Liz Koiva, Nordic Builders salesperson. "There are a lot of people who want a maintenance-free lifestyle."
Frank and his wife, who moved in four months ago, agree. They are much too busy to be bothered with cutting grass and shoveling snow.
"We looked at a lot of different stuff in a lot of towns," says Frank. "Single-family homes, condos. The main thing that attracted us was this much square footage and the new construction factor. We like the open, modern floor plan."
Frank is pleased with a central location close to malls, restaurants and Highway 84. Yet, he says, Miller Farms is set back and quiet, so Frank also enjoys doing "tons of grilling" out on his patio.
Mary Wrobleski, a transplant from New York City, likes living at Miller Farms for many of the same reasons. "I was spoiled after living in New York," she confesses. As someone who does not enjoy driving, she found the location of Miller Farms very desirable. Its proximity to the Shoppes at Buckland Hills was of particular interest to her. "You can walk to a grocery store. You can walk to the cinema. The highway is right there," she says.
Nordic Builders also was able to customize her townhome, a key selling point for Wrobleski. "The townhouses are designed really well. It's actually tough to find something like this in the area," she says. "They tailor each townhouse. I'm the only one with a personal home office."
Wrobleski describes Miller Farms as "very quiet, very private" and she likes the mix of people living in the community. "They are very friendly," she says. "People do help people out. There's not one type of person here. They are single, married, with and without children."
Manchester offers a special blend of urban and suburban sensibilities that allows residents to mix an on-the-go, upbeat lifestyle with more laidback pleasures. This Hartford County town has an urban center with homes, shopping centers, businesses and schools, and also more than a thousand acres of parkland. A hike up Case Mountain transports you to the wilderness where you can explore the remains of Connecticut's charcoal industry.
While Manchester boasts numerous sports and performing arts offerings, perhaps the most popular is coming up on November 28. The 77th Manchester Road Race will attract 15,000 runners who compete and raise money for charities. Recent donations included one to OneFundBoston, a charity established to assist those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.
Manchester is a thriving community thanks to the early influence of Cheney Brothers, enterprising silk manufacturers whose company helped spur economic growth in Manchester from before the Civil War into the twentieth century. Now, Cheney Brothers Historic District is a 175-acre area with more than 275 buildings constructed throughout its history.
Manchester's amenities combined with Miller Farms' affordable starting price of $224,900 have made the community increasingly popular. Presently, two new buildings of luxury townhomes are under construction at Miller Farms.
"There isn't really any other townhome for sale in Manchester at this price," says Koiva. "We use a lot of the same materials and sub-contractors as in our high-end custom homes."
She emphasizes the noise dampening design technique used at Miller Farms. Between each townhome is a layer of insulation, a firewall, air space, another firewall and more insulation.
Buyers can make additional selections if the home is not yet finished. Colors can be chosen for the cabinets, ceramic tile, granite counters, carpeting and paint. Kitchen sinks can be double or single.
What all homeowners get, along with quality construction, are maple cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen. Kitchens have stainless steel General Electric energy efficient appliances. The refrigerator is an upgraded 25-cubic-foot model. There is a microwave, a dishwasher and a garbage disposal. An electric range/oven has a warming burner and it can be upgraded to a natural gas model. A gas fireplace is also optional.
Standard features include wall-to-wall carpeting in the upstairs hall and bedrooms, ceramic tile in bathrooms, and hardwood elsewhere. Expect to see walk-in closets, recessed lighting and, in the master bedroom, a one-piece, five-foot-wide shower. Each bedroom has its own full bath.
The first floor has a nine-foot ceiling and so does the full, unfinished basement. Buyers can choose to make a finished recreation room down below. Some homes feature a walk-out basement.
Depending on the contour of the land, a home will have a deck with Trex decking and vinyl railing, or a brick paver patio partially obscured by a privacy fence. For those with a green thumb, an 8-foot by 10-foot planting area behind each home can be used for a personal flower or vegetable garden.
Landscaping, exterior maintenance and insurance, garbage removal, snow removal and road upkeep are handled by the neighborhood association for a reasonable $155 month.
Nordic Builders of Tolland began in 1987 when Johan Koiva and his son, Allan, packaged their expertise in designing and building quality custom homes in Tolland, Vernon, Coventry and other nearby towns. Allan's wife, Liz, joined the expanding venture in 1995. Now, the Koiva's son, John, represents the third generation joining the family business. Nordic Builders still works with many of the same sub-contractors that they built relationships with over more than two decades of construction.
Their efforts certainly have paid off.
Miller Farms won the HOBI award from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut for Best Affordable Townhome in 2011.
An open house at Miller Farms in Manchester will be held on Sunday, Aug. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the model home on Gianna Drive. The entrance to Miller Farms is at 758 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester. Private showings can be arranged by calling Liz Koiva of Nordic Builders at 860-871-9055.
Builder: Nordic Builders of Tolland
Price: $224,900 to $239,900
Square Footage: 1,448 to 1,548 square feet
Acreage: 4 acres
Tax Rate: 33.03 mills
Best Features: Quality construction
at an affordable price
Contact: Liz Koiva
Larry Greene is a freelance writer based in Norwich.