Designed by lead developer John Dempsey for GreyCo development, Oak Park was created as his homage to the Ginter Park neighborhood in Richmond’s Northside. Ginter Park is a turn of the century neighborhood located at the north end of the Boulevard and bisected by both Brook Road and Chamberlayne Avenue. It is sometimes referred to as the Queen of the Suburbs as it was conceived by the late Major Lewis Ginter as the first true suburb in Richmond.
The story goes something like this (as told by John Farrell who was part of the original development team)….
“This North Ginter Park Sales Brochure was the inspiration for Oak Park, a reproduction of the original sales brochure. There was an old barn on the property next to the original farmhouse that was renovated and used as a sales center and later sold off to a homeowner. The barn was in terrible shape when Dempsey bought the property and he had to have it knocked down, however parked in the barn was an old model T ford truck that was just about rusted out. Dempsey found an original copy of this brochure in the glove box of the truck and it became the inspiration for the look and feel of Oak Park.
Ginter is known for its diverse architecture, large lots, stately homes and ample green spaces. Oak Park sought to mimic much of the architectural character of the Ginter neighborhood and wrote its architectural covenants to create such an outcome. With homes that are intricate in their design and with materials that are well above other norms in the marketplace, Oak Park was truly a striking place.
But it was expensive.
When the market corrected in 2008, Oak Park (the developer AND residents) felt the pinch as strongly as anyone and the homes, while beautiful, lost a great deal of value. The homes in Oak Park were purchased at the peak of the market at pricing that was already more expensive on a per square foot basis due to the architectural guidelines. That was a bad combination as the market’s willingness to purchase during the low points of the correction was genrally at the bottom end of both size and price.
The subdivision is now back with a new set of builders and has regained momentum in large part due to the homes that were built pre-crash that have character and charisma. RS Hulbert and Bellevue Homes are the two main homebuilders in the neighborhood and both build with a focus on ‘GREEN’ techniques.