More craftsman-style houses are coming to downtown Mansfield, bringing new life and value to one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.
Stoney Short, owner of Mansfield Custom Homes, already built five new 1940s-style homes on Alvarado Street in 2016 that sold for between $230,000 up to $300,000. The first house was spec but the other four sold before they were built.
They’ve got large front porches, hardy plank siding and high-pitch roofs on the outside to blend in with the existing homes. The inside is customized based on what the homeowner wants. Some have a retro look with wood floors and shaker-style cabinets in the kitchen. Others have a sleek modern look.
"Eat of these homes are totally different," Short said. "They are all unique to the homeowners so whatever style they wanted inside that’s the way we built the home."
Now, he plans to build on that success with three new more homes on South Second Avenue. The City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the zoning for the single-family homes at its Oct. 9 meeting, getting rid of the duplex zoning that was in place before.
The three homes could be finished by February.
Mayor David Cook abstained from voting because he owns the land and plans to sell it to Mansfield Custom Homes.
"I saw it as an opportunity to help stimulate interest in historic downtown," Cook said. "I’m hopeful that other people will do that."
The effort is part of a larger plan to revitalize downtown Mansfield with new businesses, entertainment, restaurants and residences.
"I think it looks incredible, what you bring to downtown Mansfield," Councilman Terry Moore said at a September council meeting.
Demand for these houses is coming from multiple generations, Short said.
"People like the walkability to downtown," he said. "We have the younger generation just starting out and the empty nesters. They don’t want the larger lot and bigger space to take care of. We’re servicing both ends of the spectrum."
One of the new homes is planned at 204 S. Second Ave. Short already remodeled one home on that lot with a new porch and exterior. Now, he will build a new 1,600-square-foot house on the empty lot to the south.
The two homes will share a driveway. The new home will have an attached garage. The existing remodeled home has a detached garage connected to the house by a breezeway.
Just across the street at 207 S. Second Ave., two more houses are planned. The .23-acre property has been vacant since the old home there burned down about several years ago.
Short plans to split the lot so he can build two single-family homes there. The corner lot will have a 1,900-square-foot home with two separate porches facing both streets. The other house will be about 1,400 square feet with a front facing porch.
The homes will share a driveway off of Second Avenue.
Short expects this retro-style home building trend to continue in the future. His strategy is to continue buying older homes that sit on quarter-acre lots in downtown, remodel them and then subdivide the lot so he can build a new home next door.
"We’re able to get a home that’s still in good shape, remodel it and get an additional lot off of it," Short said. "That’s how we’re able to afford putting money into the older home, we get another house out of it."
The new Main Street Loft apartments opening next month at North Main Street and Newt Patterson Road will add more vibrancy to downtown. And the trio of restaurants going in across The LOT Downtown will also serve to bring more people downtown.
"I just think that’s going to be a great asset where it is a destination point for people," Short said.
Cook likes what’s going on downtown so much he purchased another half-acre lot at 305 W. Kimball St. He plans to build two new houses on the lot, including his personal home.
He’s already living in a home in downtown temporarily until their new one is built.
"We’re really enjoying walking after we eat," Cook said.
He said he loves the charm and character of the older-style homes and the lots.
"You can’t buy trees like that in a typical subdivision," Cook said.