In the competitive world of real estate development, Chuck Petersheim of Catskill Farms is embarking on a high-stakes venture with Ashokan Acres, nine new homes sited on 68 acres in Olivebridge. Despite a 20-year-track record of building best-in-class homes with robust resale values, in a rapidly changing local real estate landscape Petersheim’s big bet on new development is not without risk.
Ulster County, known recently for its dynamic and robust real estate market, presents a distinct challenge for Petersheim. The lack of available properties has made it difficult to gauge the current demand and price points. “Ashokan Acres will be an exploration into what the Ulster County real estate market can and will support currently,” he says.
While some may perceive this project—combining rural seclusion with Catskill Farms’ time-tested designs—as a sure thing, Petersheim cautions against such assumptions. He points to existing properties in the area that have been on the market for months without selling, and spec homes priced at over a million dollars that remain stagnant. “Is this a sure thing? It will be, because I know what I’m doing and will pivot as the market demands, but there’s a lot of people not getting their homes sold right now,” Petersheim says.
The Ashokan Acres project marks a departure for Petersheim in terms of land acquisition and development. Typically, he purchases building-ready parcels or existing subdivisions. However, due to the scarcity of land and rising prices, he took a gamble and acquired the Ashokan Acres property. A year of study and engineering, along with close collaboration with the Town of Olive Planning Board, has ensured the project’s adherence to the community’s comprehensive plan.
The project’s homes are priced from $699,000 to $1.3 million, offering privacy, large acreages, and sought-after amenities. By studying the resale market and observing buyer preferences, Petersheim aims to align the pricing of his homes with current market trends.
Petersheim emphasizes the value, experience, durability, and warranty that his homes offer. He believes in providing a product that not only functions well but also holds its value over time. The resale value of his previous homes has consistently validated their initial pricing and provided significant return on investment for owners who later sell. The design of the homes remains true to his established style, with constant improvements and adaptations based on buyer feedback.
With this development, Petersheim aims to cater to a demographic he has successfully targeted for two decades—the New York City metropolitan family. Additionally, he has witnessed a shift toward more full-time residents and remote hybrid workers in the market. Through this venture, Petersheim aims to deliver quality homes that meet the evolving needs of buyers while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. “Even after 20 years in business and building 300 homes, we are still learning every day and committed to delivering a durable and good-looking home to our clients,” Petersheim says. “And judging by the continued demand for our new homes and our resales, we still seem to be inspiring families to pull that fateful trigger of Catskills homeownership.”