Editor’s Note: The Tri-Cities is growing and News Channel 11 wants to keep you informed of new construction underway commercially and residentially. News Channel 11’s weekly series “Who’s Building That?” uses public documents, research, community connections and hard work to bring you information about who’s building or renovating what, where, and for what use. You’ll also get facts and figures about project costs and potential property tax revenue as well as trend data. Don’t drive by and wonder anymore!

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Three dozen new houses are in various stages of construction by national builder D.R. Horton — and that’s just the start of a 100-plus home subdivision just off Fordtown Road near Miller Perry Elementary School.

Workers frame two homes out of the three dozen or so under construction Sept. 14 at Kingsport’s new Miller Parke subdivision. (WJHL photo)

“It’s been much needed,” Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt said of a national homebuilder’s entry into the regional market. “When we look at the demand and the absence of inventory there had to be an introduction of a production builder into the region.”

So far, D.R. Horton has filled that role in Sullivan and Washington counties. The nation’s largest homebuilder purchased 55 lots from Integrity Building Group in January and has quickly moved to build. A total of 36 permits have been pulled so far, a model house is open and D.R. Horton has a website dedicated to the new neighborhood, which will include a homeowners association.

Eleven homes, show as available for asking prices ranging from about $337,000 to $416,000 and sizes between 2,164 and 3,411 square feet. They range between three and five bedrooms.

The overall Miller Parke website shows 15 different floor plans ranging in size from 1,618 and 3,411 square feet.

Like some other area heavy construction companies are doing in concert with D.R. Horton, Integrity Homes purchased the land initially and prepped the site with sewer, road and other infrastructure. Integrity’s Darin Karst said after his company completes a phase, Horton buys the lots and begins pulling permits for individual houses.

“They’ve got sales analysis they do about where they need to be, and they just tell us, ‘we need more lots in Kingsport,’ or Gray, or wherever,” Karst said.

He said the region remains behind the normal desired inventory or six to eight months’ worth of homes.

“We’re getting closer, but we’re not back to a normal market, even with interest rates obviously rising,” Karst said.

He said D.R. Horton anticipates continued in-migration to the greater Tri-Cities.

“The last numbers I have from them and that certainly could change, but they want to do 1,300 to 1,500 units per year in the Tri-Cities … including Greeneville up into Bristol, Bristol, Virginia as well.”

For his part, McCartt said he’s not expecting a major slowdown in this region’s housing market.

“I think pieces and parts of it probably have, but when you look at this $200-$400,000 range, that is still extremely hot and I think it’s going to continue,” he said. “That is still the price point that’s very attractive for those within our region as well as those that are looking to move to our region.”

WHAT: A single-family residential subdivision on a 75-acre tract.

WHERE: Off Fordtown Road just west of Miller Perry Elementary School.

WHO: Integrity Building Group paid $267,000 for the property on Sept. 24, 2020. D.R. Horton is building 55 homes in the project’s first phase.

WHEN: 36 homes currently under construction or near completion. Integrity transferred 20 acres for Phase I to a D.R. Horton subsidiary in January. Full buildout (three phases, 140-plus homes including townhomes) expected by late 2023.

YOUR TAX BENEFIT: Close to $400,000 annually in property taxes (Sullivan County and Kingsport combined) based on an estimated $40 million assessed value at full buildout of all homes.

Next week: The iceman moveth