By Terry Duffy
When it comes desirable living, there are certainly many options to choose from throughout Western New York. From East Aurora to Clarence; Lewiston to Grand Island, the City of Buffalo; the ring suburbs, including Amherst, Lancaster, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Williamsville, Lockport and beyond. One can find wonderful locations to build the home of their dreams. But when it comes to a unique property offering, well, there’s a few that truly stand out over others.
Have you ever heard of Runaway Bay?
Located in the quaint Village of Youngstown, Runway Bay is an all-new living experience found off Lower River Road with may unique amenities. Totaling more than 70 acres in size, this private subdivision of 23 buildable lots spread out over 24 acres is the newest home development in the Town of Porter area.
“We have a variety of lots – everything from a quarter-acre to a 2-acre lot,” said developer Chris Guard, a Lewiston native and president of Guard Construction and Contracting Corp in Amherst.
His first residential development, Guard acquired the site in 2016.
“I was raised in Lewiston. My family is third-generation in Lewiston,” Guard said. “I’ve been in business for 29 years. I started off doing commercial construction and demolition work. I own a Dumpster business. We started this project in 2016 with just inquiring on purchasing it, getting the permits started. We went through (Army) Corps, DEC, the town – all the permits that we needed to do. We were issued our final approvals with the town in 2019, right before COVID.
“This is the first time I got into the residential development world. The Town of Porter has been very good to work with.”
Runaway Bay opens on Lower River Road at Dockside Drive, just across from the Niagara River. It extends east two blocks to a forever wild nature preserve located in the rear of the property, and managed by Ducks Unlimited. The development includes Castaway Drive, a small side cul-de-sac.
The subdivision includes fully serviced lots of varying size dimensions with a range of home building opportunities. It offers a country living environment that has to be seen to be appreciated.
The perspective homebuyer will also find this development includes a quality that is highly desirable in today’s real estate offerings: waterfront access.
Runway Bay features 334 feet of prime waterfront property. This feature, offered exclusively to property owners of this new development, is located directly across the street on Lower River Road, down a trail leading to a private setting on the lower Niagara River.
The scenic trail off Lower River Road leading to the Runaway Bay waterfront. (Photo by Terry Duffy)
With their lot purchase, Runway Bay owners can enjoy the experience of waterfront access and use of this area without additional challenges or costs. The Runaway Bay Homeowners Association manages the riverside area. Property owners will have use of an all-new, private riverside marina now under construction. Once complete, it will feature 12 new permanent boat slips – all fully powered for electrical and water, and adjustable for fluctuating Niagara River water levels.
The slips will be available to the perspective buyer on a first-come, first-served basis, deeded to individual properties and transferable to other property owners. The marina will also feature a boathouse/club house facility, a private beach and planned waterside amenities for social gatherings in a private community setting for all property owners.
Access to this lower river property would be via golf cart, as no motor vehicular traffic will be allowed.
HOA fees for this exclusive, private-use facility will vary, based on membership, dock slip usage and other uses.
“Runaway Bay offers an amazing opportunity to build your dream home in the most unique residential development in Western New York,” said Tom Deal, owner/licensed broker of Deal Realty in Lewiston. “This brand-new development offers direct, drivable access via golf cart to the Lower Niagara River in Youngstown for all homeowners that are part of the community, offering exclusive amenities that are highly sought after by people having a love for the water. Runaway Bay also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of a beach, kayak racks, riverfront patio, a boathouse with restrooms and kitchen, and the possibility of owning a private dock deeded to your home. You can enjoy a quiet, tranquil setting while taking in the spectacular sweeping water views and peaceful sunsets overlooking Canada.”
Guard said the marina would be solely for the use of the Runaway Bay community.
“That was the agreement we had with the town, so it would never be a commercial marina. It would always be tied to this (development),” he said.
Guard explained he’s developed such an affection for the Runway Bay experience that he intends to be a permanent resident of this new community.
Lot prices start at $87,000 and peak in the mid $100,000s. Homebuyers are provided the option of choosing their own building contractors.
“The nice situation here is you can select your own architect and builder,” said Cheryl Boos-Deal, co-owner/licensed real estate broker at Deal Realty. “Most times when you’re buying a lot somewhere, the builder owns it; they’re predetermined. So that’s really huge here.”
She said the buyer’s building plans would be preapproved by the HOA to fit the criteria of the development. “But it’s not specifically a certain size. It’s got to fit the criteria of the lot.”
Of those dock/boat slip options, “You can make a choice if you want (one),” Boos-Deal said. “And the other advantage is it’s (the waterfront access) is not being sold to anyone else. It’s only people in the community here (who) can own a dock. If they want to sell it to another community member within the development, they can do that.”
“There’s going to be private, controlled access to the waterfront” for property owners, she added.
Town Supervisor John “Duffy” Johnston called Runaway Bay the biggest residential development in Porter since the construction of Youngstown Estates and Collingwood decades ago.
He said the property sale and construction activity in the marina area “went pretty smooth. Our building inspector, Peter Jeffery, did a ton of work with him. Chris Guard was great to work with. There were several setbacks, but it was done properly.
“As far as the tax base, I think it’s (23-24) properties. And if they all sell, it will enhance the tax base, amazing. We (the Town Board) supported him 100%.”
For more information on the River Region’s newest residential experience, visit www.TheRunawayBay.com or call Deal Realty at 716-754-3301.
A new home in Youngstown’s Runaway Bay development. (Photo by Terry Duffy)