Developer Rick Metz has built 300 homes in BG | News

Accessibility has been key to 50 years of building homes for Bowling Green real estate developer Rick Metz.

When Metz began building in 1970, the need for affordable housing defined the concept of accessibility, which evolved to include the ability for residents to age in place and use the property. Now affordability is coming back as an accessibility issue.

The company is called Rick Metz Developer and it now has over 300 homes in the Bowling Green neighborhood under its belt. It also initiated residential developments, providing various forms of neighborhood infrastructure, which other builders also used for additional housing.

“I have been building since 1970, 51 years. You know, Bowling Green is only 185 years old, so that’s over a quarter of the time Bowling Green has existed,” Metz said.

Metz said he completed Bowling Green’s first planned unit development, the Four Meadows Commons, which he modeled after developments he saw being built in Florida. The concept was affordability.

In 1979, he was able to borrow over a million dollars to finance his first subdivision project.

“I was 29 and it was the biggest loan First Federal Savings ever gave to a person,” Metz said of the former bank. “It showed a lot of confidence in a person to make that kind of commitment.”

The 70 units he has built on the property are located off West Gypsy Lane Road.

“I’m proud of that first. It has stood the test of time,” Metz said of the condominium complex. “We had a situation similar to what we have now, with the peak of inflation, with 20-21% at the end of the 1970s. It was a very difficult and trying time.”

He said the bank was working with him in a quasi-partnership situation.

Today, he said walking to Walmart is seen as a positive when people shop in the neighborhood, along with the Slippery Elm Trail.

After lower interest rates in the 1980s, his construction plans increased dramatically.

The trail was also featured in a future development, the last subdivision he built, Slippery Elm Hollow has direct ties to the trail, for which he worked with the Wood County Park District to create the concept.

“So the people who live there can ride their bikes directly on it, without ever having to take a road. The cycle path is a bit like a (cycling) highway. There are now two other developments adjacent to it, connecting it to over 150 homes,” Metz said.

He said that nationally, homes on a bike path bring more value than homes on a golf course.

Between these two projects, Metz built the first 40 of 100 homes in the Ashbury Hills neighborhood in the 1990s, then built properties in Pheasant Run.

Today, he is working on a house in Stone Ridge, which he says sits on the last lot on the first floor, 25 years after he built the first house in the neighborhood.

The emerging trend he has seen in residential construction is an increased need for aging-in-place building designs.

” It’s not a secret. I know when I’m 85,” Metz said. “At the retirement home where my mother was, there were about 80 residents and all but two were in wheelchairs. It changed the way we build houses.

The last five houses he built are all wheelchair accessible. He makes sure to put full bathrooms on the first floor.

“That’s where the whole challenge lies, with the bathroom,” Metz said.

He said there have been lots of innovations to make public services accessible, such as wheelchair accessible showers, sinks and toilets that can be used by a wider variety of people who want to stay in their homes. as they age.

What Metz sees as the biggest problem for the industry is the lack of housing inventory and rapidly rising prices that have accelerated during the pandemic.

“What’s coming here is you’re going to see housing inflation the likes of which you’ve never seen in home building before. It’s started, but it’s really starting to escalate, as we see wages in factories and other businesses start to go from $12 an hour to $20 and $30 an hour. Once that takes into account the whole manufacturing process and the products they make, it will start to show up in new housing inflation,” Metz said.

He compared the cycle to what he experienced in the early 1970s.

“In this area, where we have a lot of average people with middle-class salaries, new housing is just going to exceed the price the average person can afford, and I find that very distressing,” Metz said. .

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