1988—1992

Wyndhurst on Crescent Hill

Luxury Condominiums in Springfield, MA

 

In 1988, Leslie began with co-partner Kevin McCarthy the development of her largest, and inherently riskiest, project ---- a luxurious condominium development in the Maple Hill historic district in Springfield, Massachusetts.  “Wyndhurst on Crescent Hill” commanded a panoramic view of the Pioneer Valley and the Connecticut River as well as enormous engineering, zoning and architectural challenges.  After a year in the approval process, the partners were ready to build.  Architectural plans were completed, estimates finalized and subcontractors chosen and a credit line of $2,800,000 obtained. 

The Wyndhurst project began with the purchase and renovation of a 5000 square foot carriage house abutting the land to be developed.  This brick structure was in terrible condition and had been unsympathetically remodeled over the years.  The complete transformation of this building involved eight months work and $300,000 investment.  The outcome was a beautiful piece of architecture ideal to be used as a model home for presales for the actual condominium development on the abutting land. 

The marketing campaign began.  The beautifully appointed model home, excellent publicity and a strong real estate market created enormous interest, and within six months of marketing, the developers had three contracts in hand to build the highly luxurious condominiums which ranged from 3000 to 5000 square feet in size, and from $285,000 to $515,000.  In 1989, construction of the first building began --- a thirty thousand square feet structure, nine townhouse units.  The building was designed as a Victorian mansion from the exterior with a concealed underground parking garage below.  True divided windows, massive roof lines, complex mechanical systems, a pre-cast concrete first floor and trussed framing required skilled planning.

By 1990, the building was completed on the exterior, and the three sold units plus a fourth model unit, were completed on the interior.  The buyers in hand took occupancy.  The model condominium was beautifully furnished and staffed five days a week.  Marketing efforts continued with a wide variety of promotions, and two more units were sold despite a rapidly declining real estate market. 

The word “luxury” has been greatly overused in real estate.   But the Wyndhurst condominiums were in fact truly luxurious ---- ten foot ceilings, wide custom moldings, in laid oak and maple floors, granite counters, imported tile and appliances were the backdrop for the beautiful furnishings of the new owners.  Although not a financial success for the developers, Wyndhurst remains the most beautiful and luxurious condominium development in the Pioneer Valley. 

Lessons Learned:                      

                               

The project became almost a religious experience for me!  I was enamored with the glamour of contracting this complex building and swept along by the delighted excitement of my clients as they chose luxurious finishes and watched these gorgeous spaces come alive. 

Unfortunately, as most people know, there was a rapid and devastating drop in the real estate market in the late 1980's.  As banks failed, projects stopped and investors withdrew, buyers simply stopped buying real estate. The Wyndhurst project was in particular difficulty since our market share was so tiny ---- our buyers not only had  to be able to afford a $300,000 condominium, but they had to be willing to live in the heart of an inner city Springfield neighborhood. We had literally hundreds of prospects who came by appointment through the model home, yet in the end only six people bought.  It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  

Happily, Wyndhurst did ultimately sell out completely and continues to be one of the most beautiful condominium developments in the Pioneer Valley.  And in today's market with Springfield better than ever and the wonderful views still intact, it wouldn't be inconceivable to think that the final phase of Wyndhurst (a second building with ten more units) might be built out.

I'm grateful to have been part of building and designing such a gorgeous development.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the experience of hands-on designing and building for such interesting clients ---- the people we built for at Wyndhurst were each architecturally sensitive, committed to the gentrification of Springfield and unique in personality. 

IN THE PRESS: 

 

Leslie Clement develops luxury condos on Crescent Hill

Springfield Republican  July 1988

Wyndhurst rises once more as luxurious condominiums

Springfield Republican  December, 1988

 

Luxurious Wyndhurst townhomes overlook city

Springfield Republican  October 1989

From apprentice to developer

Springfield Republican  December, 1989