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By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
    TROY — A new senior community featuring homes made of unique concrete construction is expected to launch this spring.
    The development, named “Serenade” because of the musical interests of its family of owners, will be located on part of the Ottwein family farm alongside Tri Township Park.
    Up to 60, two-family houses, divided by a common wall, will be built. Each half, estimated at 1,600-1,800 square feet, will be priced at $250,000 and up, said one of the owners, Merrill Ottwein, a longtime area real estate agent. He and his wife Grace and his sister Audrey Deeren share ownership of the land. The homes will be built by local developer Jamie Wilkinson. The land is currently acreage for farming. Some 20 acres will be devoted to the new homes.
    Everything is in place and awaiting Illinois Environmental Protection Agency permits regarding sewer and water to begin construction, Ottwein said.
    The community is believed to be the first in Southwestern Illinois to use a construction process that features walls built with stay-in-place Styrofoam blocks that create the forms for poured concrete walls, which are then left in place.  
    With reinforcing steel added, it creates a unitized monolithic “sandwich” of concrete, with 2.5 inches of foam on both sides.  Drywall can be directly applied on the inside and all kinds of siding applied directly on the outside.  All openings through the wall, such as windows, doors and utility-ways need to be anticipated.  
    “Putting up the blocks creating the forms is reminiscent of a giant game of Legos,” Ottwein said.
    Ottwein has been working with a developer who has used the process in Urbana, Ill., for many years. The walls withstand fires, winds and the elements better than traditional home construction, Ottwein said.
    Everything is designed to be low maintenance and energy efficient, he said, perfect for active older adults.
    He said he’s already started taking reservations, conditioned upon final features and pricing.
    The project will be touted during the second weekend of March at the Metro East Home and Garden Show, which takes place at Metro-East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville on March 12 and 13. That Saturday, it will be held from 10 a.m. to  6 p.m. and, Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    For more information, contact  Ottwein at (618) 781-1822 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to the website, www.SerenadeAtTroy.com.