New Energy Efficient Frayser Homes Will Have Solar Panels

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(Memphis) It's been a long time since anyone's been able to point to new home construction in Frayser, but not anymore.

A major new housing development is about to start near James Road and Mclean. There will be something very special about every home.

Steve Lockwood is Executive Director of the Frayser Community Development Corporation. He has watched neighborhoods struggle through rough economic times.

"The mortgage crisis has hit Frayser harder than any neighborhood in Tennessee. We've had unreasonably high foreclosure rates for ten years running. That has meant a lot of empty houses and it has lowered values in the community," Lockwood says.

But Lockwood sees the promise of a brighter day with development of the "Wolf River Buffs" at James Road and Mclean Blvd.

Three hundred single-family, energy efficient homes will soon replace the tall weeds here.

Builders will install solar panels in each home. Those panels will be made at the Sharp Manufacturing Company in Southeast Memphis.

The solar panels, along with MLGW's EcoBuild construction standards means the housing development will be Tennessee's first energy-producing neighborhood.

Thomas Chamberlain, with MLGW's strategic marketing, says homeowners will realize a savings on their utility bills.

"We see the results in a 30-percent reduction of electrical usage and up to a 50-percent reduction in natural gas usage. We know it works," Chamberlain says.

The project has been on the drawing board since 2008, but was delayed when the bottom dropped out of the housing market.

Frayser homeowner Rita Taylor says the new housing will be a good thing for Frayser.

She says it's about time the community got some respect.

"And people will look up to Frayser, a little bit more better than what they're doing. Because Frayser should be lifted up. It's a good area to live in."

The price tag for the new Frayser homes will range from $120,000 to $140,000.

Construction on "Wolf River Bluffs" is expected to start in October.