After a three-year delay, Crystal Lakes subdivision, a 281-lot development near Denham Springs, has received the parish government’s approval to begin selling land to builders, developer Bill Spatz said.

Spatz said the delay was mainly the result of construction issues.

“It turned out that the original contractor had installed all the (storm drain) inlets improperly. So we had to literally rebuild all the inlets and redo some of the streets,” Spatz said.

With that work completed, Spatz said Denham Homes is ready to begin selling lots in the subdivision.

Denham Homes is a property of Chicago-based Spatz Development, which Spatz chairs.

Spatz said five of the six phases in the 103-acre development are complete and ready for home construction.

“All the lakes are in. All the lighting’s in. All the sewer work is in,” he said. “There are roughly 15 acres left undeveloped, but we have more than 200 lots for sale right now.”

Most of the lots range from 6,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, Spatz said. The lots start at $30,000. Eighty percent of the properties have lakeside, creekside or green space frontage.

Tim Kinchen, owner of Tim Kinchen Fine Homes LLC and a board member of Capital Region Builders Association, said he hasn’t built any “spec houses” in about four years because demand has been low since the post-Hurricane Katrina housing bubble burst.

However, Kinchen said he sees a need for reasonably priced “pre-Katrina” lots and that $30,000 is a good starting point.

Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer said Crystal Lakes will benefit from its location near Eastside Elementary and across from North Park, which has just undergone a $10 million expansion, at Burgess and Lockhart roads.

The development also will benefit from its proximity to a day-care center and the reconstruction of Eden Church Road, a major artery that serves the area, he added.

Crystal Lakes is the only project now under way in the area, although some others are in the discussion stage, Grimmer said.

Spatz said he expects it will take about five years for all the lots to sell and for homes to be built on them.

“In the old times when things were good, we’d be talking as little as three years,” Spatz said.

But the economic climate is different now, he said.

Spatz Development was one of the national builders that entered the area after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The company paid $2.7 million for the property in October 2006 and initially planned to work with a single homebuilder, but those negotiations were unsuccessful.

In early 2008, the company said it was negotiating with six preferred builders, but that effort was shelved when the construction issues arose.

However, Spatz said Denham Homes has a tentative agreement with one builder to buy some lots, and he expects an announcement by the builder within the next two weeks or so.