By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer
INDIAN HILL - When they're safely ensconced in their new multimillion-dollar homes, residents of the proposed Abbington Ridge development can sit back and know that they're living on property once part of the historic Peterloon estate.
Tim Hensley, a high-end builder and developer, has purchased an 85-acre parcel of the original estate owned by the Emery family heirs. The taking price? A cool $5.7 million.
Hensley was the high bidder last fall, when the family known for making its fortune in candles and chemicals placed the land on the market.
"It's extremely beautiful," said Hensley, who is vice president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. "It's fully wooded, with mature trees that are 50-plus years. If you walk the property, it's very quiet and very much feels like a park."
Indian Hill planning commissioners agreed to divide the tract into 16 lots, which will range from 3 to 6 acres. Average lot price: $750,000. Twenty acres will be designated green space that will include bridle paths.
Hensley wants to be true to Indian Hill's grand past, when Greater Cincinnati's wealthy purchased property on some of the region's most lush farm land so that they could have their very own summer homes and gentleman farms.
A partner in Forest Ridge Properties LLC, Hensley said he's willing to build anything from a ranch-style home to estates with European touches on the acreage off of Humphrey Road. Once built, the individual properties could be worth up to $5 million.
Hensley already has sold roughly half of the lots, which sit on a ridge at the back of the original Peterloon estate. On a winter day, when the trees are stark and bare, residents of the Abbington Ridge development may be able to catch a glimpse of the graceful Georgian-style home that was completed in 1930.
The development already is taking shape. Hensley has been overseeing some initial clearing of the property and construction is expected to begin in July. Owners of the new homes could move in the following summer.
City Manager Mike Burns complimented the Abbington Ridge plans. The developer, he said, adhered to Indian Hill's ordinance to preserve the land's natural resources.
"They way they laid out the subdivision is very much in keeping with," the city's ordinance, he said. Because of that, "it will be a very attractive development," he said.
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