Sajo Farm Homes

Sajo Farm Homes News

» Sajo Farm harvests honors with accolades for community design
» Developers strive to save black oak at Sajo Farm
» Mighty Oak Gets Its Due
» Virginia Beach in Top 5 Places to Buy a Home
» Buyers Connect with Boldly Colored Homes
   in New Virginia Beach Neighborhood External Link
» Prime Beach location keeps these new homes selling
» Neighborhood Close Up: Sajo Farm, Virginia Beach

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June 12, 2010
By Staci Dennis
The Virginian Pilot

Sajo Farm harvests honors with accolades for community design

It's all about a timeless look with a fresh perspective for John Peterson III.

"We wanted to create something that was fresh and new but will look good in 30 years," said Peterson, senior vice president of development of Terry-Peterson Residential based in Virginia Beach.

"I think that what we created is pretty special and turned out great."

The Terry Companies Eight, a partnership of Terry-Peterson Residential Companies and Napolitano Homes, developed Sajo Farm off Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach.

The project recently received the 2009 Best in American Living Award for its design.

The 313-home community was picked for the award of of nationwide developments that demonstrate both design excellence and success in the marketplace

The "Best Community" accolade is designated for developments with 150 homes or more.

"It's gratifying knowing the hard work we put into this community has really paid off," Peterson said. "We are honored to receive this award."

The award is sponsored by Professional Builder magazine and the National Association of Home Builders. The national competition had more than 700 applicants.

To qualify, homes and communities must have been built between Jan. 1, 2008, and July 15, 2009. Sajo Farm's first model home opened in February 2008; the community was open by the spring.

"This is also another validation for homeowners in the neighborhood, "Peterson said. "It helps them to know they made the right decision when purchasing their home.

Before the land was developed, the property was a working farm and one of the last over sized properties available for residential development in northern Virginia Beach.

"Most people didn't know this much land was available in this part of the city," Peterson said.

"Our goal was to be good environmental stewards, so we went above and beyond to preserve trees and minimize run off."

The new Sajo Farm features four neighborhoods dotted with lakes and trees. Houses run from 1,952 to 3,428 square feet and start in the mid $300,000s, and include duplexes as well as single-family homes.

The neighborhood features a village green and park, walking trails, and an old-fashioned knot garden and pergolas as well as professional landscaping.

In 2008, Sajo Farm received and Honor Award for exceptional residential design from the city of Virginia Beach Planning Department, one of the two communities recognized with the accolade.

"This is truly a gem right in the hear of the city, " Peterson said. "It's a great location and a beautiful neighborhood."

March/April 2010
By Sara Steil
Tidewater Builders Magazine

Historic Oak Becomes Community Landmark
Developers strive to save black oak at Sajo Farm

It's hard not to notice the 90-foot-tall black oak with a 120-foot crown that has made its home at the entrance to The Neighborhoods of Sajo Farm in Virginia Beach. It commands a presence that can only come with age. Rightfully so it's estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old.

Sajo Farm Black Oak Story
View full article in the March/April 2010 online issue. Enter page no. 38 to view.

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April 4, 2010
By Rebecca Burcher Jones
The Virginian Pilot

Mighty Oak Gets Its Due

Sajo Farm Homes Oldest Black Oak Tree Some 80 to 100 years ago, a little acorn fell from a black oak tree. It germinated, took root and started to grow into a tree near Lake Lawson, on property that today is just off Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach.

The tree continued to grow – undisturbed and unnoticed – on what became known as Sajo Farm.

The property owner, a wealthy Norfolk businessman named Sam Jones, nicknamed the property after himself and built a huge manor house there seven decades ago.

Through the years, a portion of Jones' property was farmed, but the area where the black oak grew in obscurity remained mostly wooded.

Then, in 2006, a portion of the original property was sold for residential development.

"We walked the property and knew there were some trees we'd like to preserve," said Tuck Bowie, president of the Terry-Peterson Companies, which is a partner with Napolitano Homes on the venture they call The Neighborhoods of Sajo Farm. A tree survey was ordered to determine which trees warranted attention.

Kim Edwards, a certified arborist with LandMark Design Group, coordinated the survey, requiring her and others to trudge through heavily overgrown areas for about a week. That's when Edwards discovered the black oak tree.

"As soon as I saw her, I took one walk around, and I knew she was a very good candidate for saving," said Edwards, who affectionately assigned the tree "her" gender.

But only after official measurements were taken – the black oak tree stands 90 feet tall and boasts a crown width of about 120 feet – did Edwards realize how noteworthy the tree really is.

Among documented black oak trees in Virginia, this one ranks as the state's sixth largest.

Experts at Virginia Tech have scrutinized its leaves and acorn caps and determined that this is no hybrid but truly a black oak – Quercus velutina ("See it's a girl's name", said Edwards.).

"When we discovered this tree, we spent a lot of time going back to redesign things so that we could save it," Bowie said. "We realized we had something special here."

Streets were realigned, underground utilities redrawn and the site for a pump station changed. More than one-third acre was set aside solely for the tree. During early construction phases, it was cordoned off with a chain link fence, and all trucks and heavy equipment still are not allowed near the tree.

A special root-pruning technique was used to protect the root system, and when adjacent trees were removed, their stumps were ground in place as another means to minimize root disturbance for the black oak.

A lightening rod has been installed, and the tree has been professional pruned to encourage future health. Black oaks typically live 150 to 200 years.

Already the tree is taking on significance as a community tree. Reportedly, there was a marriage proposal beneath the massive canopy last year, and now there's talk of the couple tying the knot there.

"We did the right thing," Bowie said.

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Aug. 11, 2009
By Elisabeth Leamy and Sheila Evans
ABC News

The Top 5 Places to Buy or Sell a Home

The struggling housing market has sellers and buyers searching for the best regions to get a great deal.

Nationwide, home values are down 12 percent, compared with the same time a year ago, according to real estate website

Zillow, which tracks virtually every house sale in the nation, has ranked the top five best locations for home buyers and sellers.

The results may surprise you, because the best places to buy a home are not necessarily where the houses cost the least.

"For people who are financially qualified, it never has been a better time in nearly 40 years," said Lawrence Yun, at the National Association of Realtors. "I think this is good long-term investment opportunity to get into the market now."

The Best Cities to Buy a Home

When you go to buy a house, low-priced markets not the only factor you should consider.

"The No. 1 factor for a market holding its value over time has to do with what types of jobs are fueling the local economy," said Amy Bohuntinsky, of

Look for communities with a strong job market and stable housing values. Some common threads: cities with military bases, state capitals and college towns all fare well because they are more "recession proof," according to Zillow. A strong tourism industry helps too.

Virginia Beach, Va.

For that reason Virginia Beach, Va., is one of the top picks for buyers. The city has a beautiful beach, and three military bases with steady jobs that make it one of the best places to buy.

And right now, there are bargains: 30 percent of homes there sell for less than the asking price.

"Virginia Beach is an area where home values have fallen, but they appear to have bottomed out," Bohuntinsky said. "If you're a buyer, this is your real, real opportune time to get in there and buy when home prices are at the bottom before they start going up again."

Read full article

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By Josh Brown
The Virginian-Pilot, Published on

Prime Beach location keeps these new homes selling

If there's one thing truer than ever in a slumping housing market, the success of a new-homes project hinges largely on two factors: location and price.

Two Virginia Beach home builders say they have a textbook example and the sales to prove it.

Terry Peterson Residential Cos. and Napolitano Homes have begun the initial phase of Sajo Farm, a 295-home condominium development off Diamond Springs Road near Northampton Boulevard in Virginia Beach. The community, on the 77-acre former estate of Norfolk industrialist Sam Jones, is just a couple of miles from Interstate 64.

Prices start at about $347,000 and go up to a little more than $512,000. Since the homes went on sale in February, buyers have closed on 16 lots, and an additional 17 contracts are pending.

Few other local new-home projects are enjoying such sales. Across Hampton Roads, home builders have reined in construction. During the past three months, cities here issued 894 new-home permits, down about 23 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Residential DataBank, a Suffolk-based housing market research firm. New-home sales, though up slightly in September from a year ago, are down 14 percent from 2006.

Terry Gearhart, vice president of marketing for Terry Peterson, said the community's proximity to major employment centers and th oroughfares has buo yed the sales pace there.

The development is about a mile from Virginia Wesleyan College, two miles from Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base and about five miles from Virginia Beach's Town Center. The interstate puts downtown Norfolk and the Norfolk Naval Station less than 15 minutes away.

Interest in the community has allowed the developers to hold the line on prices and in some cases raise them, Gearhart said.

"That's made people feel very secure, that they can buy a home here and the price won't fall," Gearhart said.

In January, D.Q. Simpson was driving down Diamond Springs Road to take his dog to a veterinarian when he noticed the freshly erected red brick pillars and elaborate sign at the entrance of Sajo Farm.

A computer technician, the 38-year-old had lived the past eight years in the Ballentine section of Norfolk but was interested in moving into a larger, more upscale home that he could customize.

"We also were specifically interested in a condo-style ownership, but not a condo look," Simpson said. "We wanted something where we didn't have to maintain a yard but we still had a say -so in how the community is kept up."

He pulled his car into the complex and surveyed the two model homes. A month later, he was one of the first to put in a contract.

"We never strongly considered any other place," Simpson said. "It's a longer drive to work, but the interstate is very convenient."

Scott Ayers, president of Leading Edge Realty in Virginia Beach, said the developers of Sajo Farm have marketed the community skillfully.

"It's a very upscale look," said Ayers, who is not involved in the project. "They set the stage extremely well. You come in there thinking it's going to be out of your price range."

When Terry Peterson Cos. purchased the land at Sajo Farm in 2005, the parcel was pretty much the only vacant land in the Bayside area of Virginia Beach, Ayers said.

"The Little Creek area is in a growth spiral right now," he said. "It's a great location, kind of surrounded by trees, lakes, everything that people place value on."

The developers also offer incentives, such as helping buyers pay for closing costs, and upgrades, such as granite countertops, to people who obtained financing through a preferred lender, Gearhart said.

Trudy Garland, 53, and her husband have lived for decades in a home about a half-mile away from Sajo Farm. They were looking for a new house but didn't want to leave the area.

"It seemed like the right time and the right area," Garland said. "We wanted something bigger and with less maintenance."

The Garlands closed on a home in Sajo Farm nearly three times the size of their old 1,000-square-foot house, which they plan to sell eventually.

Gearhart said in an e-mail that of the 40 contracts written for homes in the community, just seven have pulled out - a cancellation rate of 17.5 percent.

"That's nearly half the cancellation rate I experienced last year companywide," he said.

For Bruce Vaughan, the community's proximity to Virginia Wesleyan sold him.

Vaughan, vice president of operations for the college, built a house six years ago in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach. The 56-year-old wanted to downsize and move into a house that required less maintenance.

"My wife and I are of the age where we go and visit grandkids, go on motorcycle trips" and don't want to worry about the upkeep, he said. "I thought it was an excellent value for a house that is a cross between a regular tract home and a custom-build house."

Still, one of the unavoidable challenges for homebuyers who might want to purchase at Sajo is the slow housing market. Vaughan, who closed on his Sajo house for $466,000, has had his Pungo property on the market now for five months with no bites.

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By Sandra J. Pennecke
The Virginian-Pilot, Published on

Neighborhood Close Up: Sajo Farm, Virginia Beach

A little piece of Americana has been carved out of a tract of land in northern Virginia Beach. Sajo Farm, located off Diamond Springs Road, is named for industrialist Sam Jones, who died in 1977. After the death of Jones' widow, Ursala, the 78 acres was sold in 2005.

Jones, a legendary figure in Virginia Beach and North Carolina's Outer Banks, accumulated hundreds of acres and much of it sold for development in the 1980s.

"This was one of the last available parcels of land not sold and developed," said Terry Gearhart, vice president of The Terry Peterson Companies.

The groundbreaking for Sajo Farm, a waterfront property bordered by Lake Lawson and five additional man-made lakes, was held last summer . The community's first model opened in February.

The neighborhood, which features a condominium form of ownership, is a joint venture between The Terry Peterson Companies and Napolitano Homes. The community has 295 homes, ranging from 1,952 to 3,428 square feet, and features four neighborhoods: Village Green, Lakeside Cove, The Lake and The Estate.

The Terry Peterson Companies is building the 78 neo-traditional single-family houses in Village Green , which features front porches and rear-loading, two-car garages . Many homes front the English Knot Garden, public green and lake.

Lakeside Cove, also by Terry Peterson, will feature 82 duplexes in the community's rear , bordering Lake Lawson.

Napolitano Homes is building 135 houses in the Lake Homes, with many on the interior lakes and the elegant Estate Homes on the wooded perimeter of the community. Available are five floor plans , featuring three to six bedrooms, front porches and two-car garages. Larry and Debby Clark moved from Macon, and rent a house in Cypress Point.

"We watched the houses in Sajo Farm go up and toured them the first week they opened the models," said Debbie Clark, 50. In August, the couple will move into their Village Green home, featuring a downstairs master bedroom , and look forward to sitting on the porch and taking their dog for evening walks on the community's walking trail.

"We love the look of the community . It's like taking a step back in time," said Debbie Clark.

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