Kingfisher subdivision

Birmingham-based commercial real estate firm Retail Specialists officially broke ground Tuesday on its new Kingfisher subdivision.

A major new housing subdivision is coming to Cullman County’s east side.

Birmingham-based commercial real estate firm Retail Specialists officially broke ground Tuesday on its new Kingfisher subdivision, a three-phase program of dense single-family housing in unincorporated Cullman County that, when completed, will contain 280 new homes.

The first phase of construction will be the largest, erecting homes on 159 lots at the 50-acre property’s eastern end. Phase 1 also will involve the landscaping of a park-like common area around a pond along the property’s southern boundary, which fronts U.S. Highway 278 East. The new-construction homes throughout the subdivision are expected to appraise at values ranging from $190,000 to $250,000.

Though the subdivision lies outside of any municipal corporate limit, it sits at the southern and eastern boundary of the town of Berlin. Berlin mayor Patrick Bates, who attended the groundbreaking, said he’s hopeful that future residents of the finished subdivision might consider annexation into his town in time for the 2030 U.S. Census.

Kingfisher marks Retail Specialists’ second subdivision project in Cullman County, having broken ground on the first — the Ellsworth subdivision in the City of Cullman — back in February. Located off Main Avenue near its intersection with Alabama Highway 69 in south Cullman, Ellsworth will feature more than 200 homes, also estimated at values between $190,000-$250,000.

Although homes valued near the $200,000 price point may be aspirational investments for local wage earners seeking to enter the middle class, the two developments’ combined addition of nearly 500 new homes to the area’s housing supply comes in the wake of a report, sponsored last year by the Chamber of Commerce, that stressed a need for more local housing — with an emphasis on diversity of housing types.

Retail Specialists worked closely with both city and county leaders to clear regulatory hurdles for its pair of single-family housing developments before the first shovelful of dirt was ever turned. But last year, a proposal from a separate group of developers to build a mixed-use, multi-family apartment complex with connected retail was shelved in the City of Cullman, after strong opposition from nearby homeowners.

Steve Leara, executive vice president and general counsel for Retail Specialists, said at Tuesday’s groundbreaking that the Cullman area’s pattern of reliable growth, coupled with a sound economic base, makes it an attractive candidate for future residential developments. “We’re looking at other opportunities here in Cullman County and in the city and surrounding areas,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of good growth here — good economic growth; good industrial growth.”

Birmingham-based Prominence Homes will be building the houses, while Birmingham’s Sain Engineering will be handling civil engineering at the Kingfisher site.

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