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by JOEL MARTIN
Staff Writer | June 9, 2023 1:30 AM

GEORGE — The new housing in George is almost finished.

“We had a 27-lot subdivision,” said Drew Scott, owner of CAD Homes LLC, which is building the houses. “We started last year and it's all sold out now. It went quick.”

27 houses may not seem like much, but in a town of around 800 people, that’s making a dent. The development, dubbed Sageview Estates, includes homes ranging from 1,003 to 2,110 square feet and are generally selling in the upper $200,000-lower $300,000 range, according to county records. The median home price in that part of Grant County in May was $460,000, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“Boy, did it go quick,” said Chris Lacelle, the construction director for CAD who’s in charge of the George project. “It was a sweet turnaround for the community down there, and for CAD Homes. I mean, at one point we couldn't build them fast enough for the people. They were itching to get in some new houses, which was pretty cool to see.”

A development this size is unusual in George, said George Mayor Gerene Nelson.

“Over the last four years, there has been an uptick in some housing, individual building, but no major developments,” Nelson said.

“It was kind of a shocker to the city,” Lacelle said, chuckling. “People at the city building, when I started with about eight permits, I walked in (and) slammed them on the desk, and they were like, ‘Um, what do we do with eight?”

“You can drive through George and there won't be but one or two builds going on – maybe,” he added. “But as far as the development goes, there was there was no such thing.”

The last few houses are due to be finished by the end of the month, Scott said.

Part of the reason for that, Nelson said, is that until fairly recently, George simply didn’t have the water to support more housing.

“We only had two wells,” she said. “Not a lot of water, not enough to build more homes.”

An additional well that was put in somewhere between 2009 and 2011 alleviated the strain on the water system and made the current construction possible, she said. Scott said that CAD would like to do more in George, but confirmed that water issues are going to have to be worked out first.

The new neighborhood has a pretty diverse collection of residents, Lacelle and Nelson both said.

“There’s some first-time home buyers, and some people where that’s their retirement home,” said Lacelle. “So we’ve got people all across the board, which is fantastic.”

“Some are families of residents here,” Nelson said. “Some have just moved from sharing a home into their own home. And some are new people from out of the area.”

CAD Homes is based in Moses Lake, and is currently working on developments in the Sage Point and Knolls Vista neighborhoods, but besides George, it’s also hard at work in Warden and Mattawa, according to its website.

“Flooded cities that have an influx of housing, you can find a house anywhere,” Lacelle said. “but the Wardens, the Othellos the Georges – that’s where people desperately need houses and no (builder wants) to go there. That's where CAD likes to go, to give people an opportunity to buy a house, because other than that people don't really even have a chance to buy a house. I mean, they work and they save to live in the same house. So we like giving the opportunity to people like that, who worked their whole life, to be able to buy a brand new home.”

Joel Martin has been with the Columbia Basin for more than a quarter century. He may be reached via email at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com.

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JOEL MARTIN/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

A kitchen under construction at Sageview Estates in George. According to the Sageview Estates website, the development is offering eight floor plans with a variety options for buyers to choose from.

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SOURCES: GRANT COUNTY/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

The 27 lots identified here make up the biggest housing development George has seen in a long time.

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