PITTSBURG — Nearly two years after initial plans were approved for the Silverback Landing housing subdivision east of the Pittsburg State University campus, construction of homes in the neighborhood is finally set to begin.

Mickey Vena, the real estate developer behind Silverback Landing, gave city officials a tour of the development area and answered questions about the project last Tuesday at the Pittsburg City Commission meeting.

"Basically what we want Silverback Landing to be is a destination," Vena said. "When people come home, they feel like they’re in a neighborhood. They’re not just in a house that they bought somewhere. We’re going to have a park in the middle, a central park. With phase two, it’s going to have a pool in it. We’re strongly committed to Silverback. We’re excited about it."

Vena’s company, P&L Development LLC, and its construction contractor, Joplin-based GUS Properties LLC, have pulled their first two building permits and hope to begin construction by mid-September, Vena said.

P&L plans to build several model homes based on four basic designs, which buyers will be able to customize with added features such as basements and three car garages. The expected price range for the homes, including the price of the lot, is expected to start at about $250,000 to $280,000, depending on such factors as lot size.

Vena discussed delays in beginning construction at Silverback Landing beyond the schedule originally outlined in the 2018 Rural Housing Incentive District agreement that established the Silverback RHID, allowing Vena to be reimbursed for infrastructure costs of the development project.

"I apologize that it took as long as it did," he said. "But I will tell you that it did take longer simply because we’ve been fighting the weather, we’ve been fighting COVID, and it was a little bit frustrating, but some of it was because we have not had a new neighborhood here in quite some time."

City manager Daron Hall congratulated Vena on the construction phase of the project finally beginning to move forward.

"I know it hasn’t been easy and I just need you to know I appreciate it," Hall said. "You’ve treated our staff with the utmost respect. You haven’t made it easy on us but easy isn’t what we’re about. We wanted to get it right, and you’re the professional and you’ve had a lot of patience with us as we’ve tried to meet your needs, and never gave up on us."