Northwestern Subdivision Home to One Lonely Family

The Kane County subdivision of Parkside at Prairie Ridge was billed as the perfect place to raise a family.

"Whether it will be taking the kids to the outdoor planned Sports Core, pool or relaxing at the clubhouse with good friends, there will be boundless opportunities to make lasting connections and special memories at Prairie Ridge," sales copy from the community web site boasts.

But nearly a year after Parkside at Prairie Ridge's first residents moved into the sprawling 1,200 acre neighborhood, they're the only ones there.

"Obviously we expected a lot more neighbors by now," the family's patriarch, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Sun-Times.

Parkside at Prairie Ridge, which is supposed to be the first of a series of Prairie Ridge neighborhoods in the town of Hampshire, Illinois, is an oddly barren landscape. There are street signs and fire hydrants and sewer pipes and parks, but no homes.

The undeveloped land at Prairie Ridge is also a sign of the times in Illinois' housing market, which saw foreclosure filings jump by 56 percent in October, creating the highest monthly total in Illinois since January 2005, according to a report from RealtyTrac.

Illinois' foreclosure rate has also landed the state third in the nation in total number of foreclosures, with 19,946 -- just behind California and Florida.

Illinois was also the only state with a foreclosure rate in the top 10 to see an increase in foreclosure activity. With all those foreclosures, who wants to fund a new development?

The Parkside at Prairie Ridge neighborhood sits dormant because the developer, Crown Community Development, only sold one of its infrastructure laden parcels of land to a home builder. That builder, U.S. Shelter, which purchased Parkside at Prairie Ridge, couldn't afford the land and succumbed to pressures from Amcore Bank, which lent the money.

They managed to build two model homes and one actual home, which now houses the only residents in the whole city -- a mother, father, a few kids and some in-laws.

Crown Community Development owns two other planned neighborhoods in Hampshire, neither of which has been started.

They plan to revisit the development when the housing market turns around enough to support the new development. Amcore Bank is looking for a new developer for Parkside at Prairie Ridge, and the neighborhood's only residents are looking for some friendly faces. But they may be a long time coming.

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