‘Wellness lifestyle community’ under construction in Bargersville

Bargersville’s Aberdeen subdivision doesn’t look that extraordinary right now, but over the next decade, the neighborhood will grow into a wellness-focused gated community of about 285 homes.

Wellness communities have popped up around the country in recent years, but representatives of Aberdeen developer Duke Homes, based in Bargersville, says this is likely the first of its kind in Indiana. The gated community will include shared amenities that will promote recreation, enjoyment of natural spaces and togetherness, according to Duke Homes.

Duke Homes, which also has a commercial and real estate arm, is run by the Duke family, of Bargersville, and business partners. Over the past 30 years, Duke Homes has built several subdivisions in Bargersville and White River Township that emphasize preserving natural spaces. Aberdeen takes the concept a step further, emphasizing how natural beauty can impact wellness, said Isaac Duke, vice president of operations.

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Aberdeen has been in the works since before the 2008 housing crash when it was first imagined as a 1,000-acre golf course community, Isaac Duke said.

Seeing a coming disruption in the market, owner and broker Mike Duke put the project on hold, Issac Duke said. The plans were revived in 2017 and refined into a roughly 300-acre wellness community to contain about 285 homes, he said.

The premise behind the project is to bring residents of Aberdeen together and provide avenues for them to explore mental and physical wellness, Isaac Duke said. The concept allows the Bargersville family to give back to their hometown by promoting togetherness and good health, he said.

“We are trying to create spaces for people to cultivate serendipity,” Isaac Duke said. “To develop spaces and places to interact instead of just shutting their garage door and never interacting with each other.”

Each shared community feature is designed to bring residents closer, to become one with nature, or promote physical wellness.

In the “Agrihood”, or community garden, residents can work together to grow vegetables, harvest fruit and raise chickens, a nod to the Duke family’s own farm heritage as well as Bargersville’s agricultural roots, Mike Duke said.

Recreation areas will include a trail system, playground area, and courts for pickleball, tennis and basketball, Mike Duke said. The community center will hold events for residents of Aberdeen and the greater Bargersville area, he said.

Another focus of the community is to disrupt the natural landscape as little as possible. To promote this, natural areas such as ponds, streams and wetlands will be preserved and lots will be large, ranging from a half-acre up to a full acre, Issac Duke said.

The new subdivision, located between Morgantown Road and County Road 625 West, broke ground across from Walnut Grove Elementary School in Bargersville in 2019. The first section containing 18 homes, has been mostly built out, with the final six permitted and ready to go, according to Joe Csikos, Bargersville development director.

Several amenities have already been completed for the first families of Aberdeen, including the community building and trail system, Mike Duke said. The “Agrihood” is also being planted for its inaugural year, he said.

Remaining amenities will be built as the community grows over the next decade, Isaac Duke said. The hope is to fill one section per year, with the development to contain eight to 10 sections in total and about 267 more homes, he said.

The average home price is expected to be $800,000 for the custom home community, with prices to range from $500,000 to nearly $3 million, Isaac Duke said. Homes from three price tiers will be available in different sections of the community, he said.

Homes that are under construction in the subdivision right now range from $600,000 to $1.6 million, according to permits filed with the town. Lot sales have already begun for the second and third phases, with several already sold, Isaac Duke said.

Duke Homes has built several subdivisions across Bargersville and White River Township in the past 30 years, including Kensington Grove, Claybourne, Serenity Woods, White Tail Woods, Sego Woods, Persimmon Woods and Oak Hills.

Each of these subdivisions uses the same large lot, high price tag and custom-built concept. The concept has worked well for the area so far and the developer expects that to continue, Isaac Duke said.

“These are right in line with the price of homes we’ve been building in the area for over 30 years,” Isaac Duke said. “Over the past three months, the first three sections have started to fill up … The demand is there, we just haven’t had this caliber of homesite, so (now) we are tying those together.”

Aberdeen will greatly increase the amount of planned housing in Bargersville over the next decade and will hold some of the most expensive homes in Johnson County.

Right now, Bargersville has 12 active subdivisions with 362 unbuilt lots, according to town records. Aberdeen will be the new largest subdivision in town when it is fully built out, topping Morningside, a Lennar Homes community expected to hold 267 homes, Csikos said.

Over the past five years, a housing boom has brought 586 new homes to Bargersville and there is no indication that home builders are backing off anytime soon, Csikos said. The town’s Vision 2040 comprehensive plan calls for a variety of homes of all price ranges to be built all along State Road 144 leading to the new Interstate 69, as well as closer to downtown.

The upper-middle-class and executive-level homes in Aberdeen will help further the comprehensive plan in that the town wants people of ages and income levels to be able to call Bargersville home, Csikos said. Other subdivisions in the town provide starter homes, while residents could move to Aberdeen after moving up in their career or to seek a peaceful home for retirement, he said.

“We want anyone to be able to live in town. There has been some focus on aging place, (and housing) where people can move through the life cycle,” Csikos said.

As the town grows, public services are designed to grow with them. With each new development plan, public works officials are part of the technical review committee that gets a first look at new housing before it forwarded to the plan commission and town council, Csikos said.

Being part of the committee allows police, fire and utilities to make long term plans for growth as the communities are built out based on what will be needed to serve the new residents, he said.

“We continue to monitor and adjust as needed. We want to keep up staffing as communities are build-out,” Csikos said.