Builder selling 'carriage-style' houses at Tooley Harbor

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Shown is one of the five "carriage-style" homes TaScera Building Corp. of Virginia Beach, Virginia, has for sale at the Tooley Harbor subdivision off River Road in Elizabeth City. The houses are distinctive because, viewed from the front, they appear to be one large, single-family home. In fact, the house is actually two different units, each approximately 1,700 square feet.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, July 2, 2018

A long-undeveloped subdivision off River Road in Elizabeth City is starting to come to life.

A Virginia-based homebuilder, who already has built one subdivision northwest of the city, recently began constructing new homes at Tooley Harbor on the city’s south side.

Troy Brinkley, president of TaScera Building Corp. in Virginia Beach, said his company purchased five lots at Tooley Harbor and has an option to buy another 23.

As of late last week, Brinkley had two “carriage-style” houses completed on one side of Tooley Harbor, both with for-sale signs up.

The houses are distinctive because, viewed from the front, they appear to be one large, single-family home. In fact, the house is actually two different units, each approximately 1,700 square feet.

The front left unit comes with a single-vehicle garage, while the right unit comes with a two-vehicle garage. Both units are outfitted with hardwood cabinets and granite in both the kitchen and bathrooms. The units also feature nickel-plated lighting fixtures and wide-plank flooring.

Brinkley said carriage-style houses are so new to Elizabeth City, his company had to get approval from the city to build them.

He believes carriage-style houses can be popular here because he says they offer an affordable option to someone wanting to stop renting and become a homeowner. He said the mortgage payment for a carriage home is comparable to a rent payment for an apartment.

The left side of the carriage house with the one-vehicle garage lists for $199,900, while the right side with the two-vehicle garage lists for $209,900.

"So, it's giving them the option of ownership versus rental, and every month that (rental) money goes out the door," he said.

Asked what interested his company in Tooley Harbor, Brinkley said he likes that the site sits between two established subdivisions with quality housing. Tooley Harbor is also close to the Pasquotank River, sits next to River Road Middle School and is less than a couple of miles from Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City.

"I think it has always been a good location," he said. "It is just the housing market was just not really supporting new construction for probably 10 years."

Tooley Harbor was developed by Phillip Harrington, owner of Bear Garden, and Wallace Cahoon, who owns the Cahoon Plantation Golf Course in Chesapeake, Virginia.

In June 2006, Harrington and Cahoon received city approval to develop an upscale community they called The Sanctuary. The subdivision has sat empty ever since, however, primarily because of the housing crash a year later and the resulting Great Recession.

Brinkley said his company had purchased a number of lots from Harrington and Cahoon in Pasquotank County in the past, so he approached them about buying lots at Tooley Harbor.

Brinkley said a developer selling lots to a builder is a common practice. He also noted his company, which has constructed single-family homes at the Creekside Farms subdivision off Creek Road, has had a relationship with Harrington and Cahoon for more than 18 years.

"So, they know us and we know them. And, for us, it was a good partnership," he said.

Brinkley noted that Harrington and Cahoon’s part of Tooley Harbor also features two new single-family houses. One is for sale; the other is already occupied.

Brinkley said he’s building homes now because he believes the local housing market has taken a turn for the better.

"I think the overall economy has improved, and the job market has improved,” He said. “Both are two of the main factors that people need to be able to afford housing. Also, interest rates are still relatively low on a historic basis.”

According to the Tooley Harbor website, the subdivision gets its name from Elizabeth "Betsy" Tooley, who along with her husband, Adam, owned and operated a waterfront tavern on what is today Water Street. Some local historians believe Elizabeth City was named for Elizabeth Tooley.

According to Brinkley, the “TaSc” in TaScera Building Corp.’s name partly comes from Brinkley's first name and the name of his partner, Scott Lowery.

To learn more about the carriage-style homes at Tooley Harbor, call Holly Long at 757-615-3335.