Stonington - The national homebuilding company Toll Brothers celebrated the grand opening of its new Old Mystic Estates Saturday, its first project in New London County, as if the music for the booming housing market had never stopped.
Indeed, the opening featured live music by the White-Eyed Lizard Steel Band of East Lyme, and it was catered by Coastal Gourmet, including a raw bar. Uniformed valets greeted visitors and parked cars on recently cleared land.
The party unfolded in the new model house for the 46-lot luxury subdivision off Pequot Trail. Another home is being framed next to the 3,800-square-foot model, called a Columbia Country Manor, which has been decorated by Pottery Barn.
"In the last three months, things have really been picking up," said Sandy Banks, sales manager. "Buyer confidence is back ... the market all around has picked up."
Project manager Andy Karl said the subdivision has been in the planning stages for several years, but the company picked up the pace of development last summer.
Banks and Karl said five houses have been sold and they expect sales to pick up now that the model is finished. Prices begin at $485,000 for a model with a first-floor master suite. The average lot size is 1 acre.
The model home, a four-bedroom Colonial with a swimming pool, outdoor shower and 1,100 square feet of recreation space in the basement, is priced in the $700,000 range, Karl said.
He and Banks said they expect the project will appeal to a wide range of buyers. At least one home has been purchased as a summer house, they said.
Karl said the publicly traded Toll Brothers has done projects in Fairfield and Hartford counties, but this is its first in this part of the state.
One buyer, Rick Bradshaw of Windsor, attended Saturday's party. An engineer, he said he knows the area because he has kept boats in marinas here. He said he may use the Old Mystic Estates House for his retirement.
He said he got interested when he saw a newspaper ad one morning.
"It said: 'New homes in Mystic.' I said, 'Boy, I've got to check that out.'"