The first home on Douglas Ridge, built in 2018. The homes are high-tech and climate-conscious. Contributed photo

BRUNSWICK — Bob Muller isn’t just trying to build a new subdivision, he’s also trying to create a sense of place.

The Douglas Ridge Subdivision, off Hacker Road in Brunswick, is intended to be a climate-conscious, eco-conservation subdivision, based around a Nordic model that promotes participation, equality and cohesion. 

The subdivision neighbors, and mirrors, the Two Echo subdivision, a tight-knit co-housing community where Muller said kids can safely play in the street and neighbors happily interact and help one another. 

Douglas Ridge, tucked into 280 acres of conservation land, will feature 18 0.6 acre lots for “high tech, high performance, healthy homes,” — the ideal modern conservation subdivision done the right way, Muller said.

The houses are built with no to low volatile organic compounds, are net-zero ready, feature weather tight with high performance windows and require very little energy to heat and cool, and include technological features like internal speakers and security cameras.

Developer Bob Muller. Contributed photo

The pre-manufactured homes, made by Unity Homes in New Hampshire and built by Landicity Builders, go up in under two weeks, and the trimmings, or the “lipstick on the pig,” as Muller said, take roughly 8-14 weeks. 

“That’s what I build first is a healthy home, then it’s all the other stuff,” he said. 

The homes are not designed for first-time home buyers or families looking to save money, Muller said. Each home runs anywhere from $500,000 to $675,000—  far above Brunswick’s median home price, which according to the 2018 Maine Housing Affordability Index, is about $269,450. The median annual income in Brunswick is $62,281 but to afford the median home price, a person would need to make about $86,241 per year. 

Douglas Ridge is more likely a good fit for a professional couple with children or older people looking to downsize, he said. 

But for those who can afford it, Douglas Ridge promises to foster community, togetherness and safety while prioritizing energy efficiency and environmentally conscientious practices. 

Brunswick is a hot town, Muller said, and it’s proximity to Portland, the Midcoast and Boston make it an increasingly desirable location. He suspects that as more people start to work from home permanently, more out of state families will be moving to Maine, where they can get the best of both worlds — somewhere like Douglas Ridge, he said, that’s in a rural area, just steps away from conserved land but still close to modern transportation and amenities. 

The subdivision is being built from the ground up, and while the lots and the roads are ready, there are still a few pieces of infrastructure, like a sand filter and cistern, that need to be put in place before more houses can join the flagship home built in 2018. 

Deposits are currently being accepted and Muller plans to have a grand opening sometime in August. 

The land has a lot of history and a lot of rural character, Muller said, something that, with so much protected land nearby, he hopes to help retain, even though it is also just minutes from the center of town. 

This is especially valuable in Brunswick’s rural district, Town Planner Jared Woolston said. 

Usually, a subdivision might be a better fit for Brunswick’s growth residential zone, where most of the infrastructure and businesses are centered. 

But this plan, which came with more than 22 acres of forested, conservation land set aside for public access, fit right in.

“Open space subdivisions are desirable in the rural district,” Woolston said. “Setting aside land and clustering development is a positive from the land use side of things.”

“The rural district has a character to it and we want to do what we can to maintain that,” he added. “We want more green space, low density.”  

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