Business Spotlight: New residential development looks to attract nostalgic residents

The main path through The Chandler meanders on its way to the central gazebo. (Alfred Miller/

As Frankfort residents look increasingly toward the future and downtown redevelopment, one local developer is banking on nostalgia for the suburbs of a bygone era.

Michael Davenport is unveiling his latest development on Saturday in a grand opening celebration complete with live music, free cupcakes and an antique car show.

The planned gated community off Cardwell Lane has been at least a decade in the making, Davenport told The State Journal.

Memorial Day 2013 is when Davenport, quite literally, planted his flags — a 1,800-square-foot American flag and a 600-square-foot Christian flag — on a 150-foot pole that sits on the property and is visible from nearby Interstate 64. Two years later, when he hosted a free Lee Greenwood concert to dedicate the giant flags, Davenport was already publicly floating the idea of building a residential community at the site.

A covered bridge, a meandering sidewalk, houses taken from the pages of old Sears home catalogs and neighbors gathering for lemonade beneath the flagpole — Davenport admits his vision for “The Chandler” resembles The Andy Griffith Show’s town of Mayberry. It’s a time we’re “all yearning for down deep,” Davenport said.

Today, the first white picket fence is finally going up. Davenport is kickstarting construction on three of 44 separate lots in the 19-acre community. His first house is designed to be reminiscent of a popular Sears catalog home named The Crafton.

The lots will range in price from $55,500 to $100,000 for the most expensive residential lots. That range doesn’t include larger lots for multi-family structures and condominiums, which are not yet publicly available for sale. Davenport says he ultimately envisions 90 units, including some condominiums and townhomes.

Surrounding the currently vacant lots is an infrastructure carefully cultivated to pay homage to the America of Baby Boomers’ younger days while also being environmentally conscious. An old-fashioned gazebo at the base of the flagpole is solar-powered, as are the community’s ornate street lamps and illuminated stop sign. Some 8,300-square-feet of so-called rain gardens, featuring native plants, soak up runoff at every turn.

“The Chandler is changing the way we think about our local landscapes,” wrote Andrea Wilson Mueller, owner of Inside Out Design, in an email.

Some quirks of the community exist just to make people smile, says Davenport. A phone booth stands along the side of the road for this reason, as does a sign limiting motorists to 18½ miles per hour.

Saturday’s grand opening will feature the live music of the Swing Street Band from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as well as antique cars from the Capital City Car Club. Among those cars will be incoming Sheriff Chris Quire’s 1962 Ford Galaxy, painted to resemble the Andy Griffith Show squad car, Quire told The State Journal.

Davenport is inviting guests to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets, though no alcohol. VFW Post 4075 will be selling hotdogs and Davenport’s daughter, Chandler — the development’s namesake — will be setting up a lemonade stand, Davenport said.

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