Chatfield Farms gets new life

From left, EG Home President Matthew Gilchrist, President of the Chatfield Farms Homeowners Association Al Tornatore, Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith and EG Home Principal David Earp break ground on the new construction of homes at Chatfield Farms, an active adult community in Beacon Falls, Sept. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL

From left, EG Home President Matthew Gilchrist, President of the Chatfield Farms Homeowners Association Al Tornatore, Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith and EG Home Principal David Earp break ground on the new construction of homes at Chatfield Farms, an active adult community in Beacon Falls, Sept. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL


BEACON FALLS — A new developer is putting the active back in the Chatfield Farms active-adult community.

There has been no construction at the 140-acre housing development for people 55 years old and older development off of Skokorat Street since the spring of 2010 when the former developer, Wyndham Homes of Brewster, N.Y., went out of business.

That all changed Sept. 4 when EG Home LLC, a newly formed company based in Beacon Falls, broke ground at the community.

EG Home is co-owned by Matthew Gilchrist and David Earp. The pair has partnered with AM Alexandria LLC, a hedge fund real estate investment company in Bethesda, Md., to develop the 55-and-over community.

In July, EG Home received all approvals from the town to reinitiate development. The company replaced the roads that were unfinished by the last developer, Gilchrist said.

“But we’ve spent a lot of time, money and energy getting the community to look the way it should,” Gilchrist said.

In the four months that EG Home has taken over development, the company has seen an uptick of interest in the community. Currently all of the existing 81 homes are filled, according to company representatives.

Maura Cannon, sales manager for EG Home, said the company builds three styles of homes similar to the ones that already exist, but with a different floor plan.

The houses will range in size from approximately 1,700 square feet to 2,050 square-feet. The two-bedroom, detached homes are named after U.S. Presidents — The Washington, The Jefferson and The Lincoln. Base prices start at about $345,000 and go to about $385,000.

Cannon said the company hopes to have the development completely finished in about six years.

Chatfield Farms has been approved for 233 units. That leaves 152 homes for EG Home to build, Gilchrist said.

After Wyndham stopped building homes the town raised blight concerns at the community and almost ended up pulling the bond on the project to make the necessary improvements.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said since EG Home took over in April the town has not had any issues at Chatfield Farms.

“We have a wonderful relationship with current owners and developers,” Smith said. “They do everything they can to keep Beacon Falls and the residents of Chatfield Farms happy.”

Al Tornatore, president of the homeowners association, said, “It’s very refreshing to have someone here, and with the hopes that we are going to see new housing being built.”

Although last week was the first time he has broken ground with EG Home, Gilchrist is no stranger to the housing industry. Gilchrist began working as a project manager for the California-based KB Home in 2006 while he was living in Chicago. He also worked as a project manager for the Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers.

Gilchrist said his experience during the economic crisis has helped him become successful.

“I’ve never known a good day in the housing industry. I learned to build houses in a bad market,” Gilchrist said.

Despite the difficulties in the market, Gilchrist said he enjoys building houses because he knows it will have an impact on people’s lives.

“We get to build homes. We don’t build widgets. We build something people need,” Gilchrist said.

Smith said the new construction will help to broaden the town’s tax base.

According to the assessor’s office, once completed, Chatfield Farms will add about $1.5 million a year to the town’s coffers.

“It will be an asset to our town,” Smith said.

The Republican American contributed to this article.