The first homes in The Bluffs at Ashley River sprouted in 2005, and an amenities center rose not long after.

Time passed, and the Summerville community matured. People know it today as a finely appointed, family-friendly neighborhood north of Bacons Bridge Road.

At the same time, a number of lots remained undeveloped for the past eight years. Mungo Homes, headquartered in Columbia and one of the larger builders in metro Charleston, launched plans earlier in 2013 to build upscale, moderate-priced homes there.

The company intends to frame 28 homes in its first phase, sized at 1,675-3,200 square feet and priced from $203,900 to $287,900. The sales displays went up in the past month, says Kevin Hoffman, community sales manager with Carolina One New Homes representing Mungo Homes. The first home buyers at The Bluffs at Ashley River should be moving in by next month or February, he says.

A second building stage, consisting of 50 homes closer to the Ashley River and sized up to 4,300 square feet, stands at least a year away.

The Bluffs at Ashley River rests in a convenient place off Dorchester Road and not far from downtown Summerville. Nearby schools include Beech Hill Elementary and Ashley Ridge High.

"It's kind of a bedroom community," Hoffman says. "The size of the community is relatively small.

"This section here (near the front of the neighborhood), one half of the homes back up to protected wetlands," he says. "We are very particular with the trees."

Mungo Homes boasts stylish and varied floor plans. Models embrace three to six bedrooms, many with the master suite on the ground floor of a two story home. A Langford design and a Palmer floor plan are shown to prospective purchasers.

The builder champions its homes as constructed with plenty of fancy features in every design, rather than base models where buyers pay more if they want extras.

Perks include stone exterior accents; wood floors on the first level and carpeting upstairs; tankless water heaters; and granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and staggered cabinets in the kitchen.

Mungo Homes touts its energy-efficient design, which it calls hauSmart. The builder inspects its construction methods via HERS (Home Energy Rating System), a well-respected third party testing program.

The floor plans assemble a slew of highlights in comparatively moderate spaces. For instance, the 2,408-square-foot Palmer design sports four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, sizable master suite with his and her closets, upgraded hardwood and tile floors, upstairs double porch and a covered back deck with gas fireplace, according to a Mungo Homes flyer.

Options consist of a sunroom, tray ceiling in the master bedroom, separate shower and tub in the master bathroom, a fourth bedroom with loft, a sitting area and coffered ceiling in the dining room.

Hoffman says The Bluffs at Ashley River comes established as a family neighborhood. It's "also attracting empty nesters," he adds.

The surrounding area expects future benefits, Hoffman says. The completion of a four-lane Dorchester Road should happen as early as next year. Plans call for a new Harris-Teeter grocery store within the next couple of years.

In the mid-2000s, David Weekley Homes started up the neighborhood, crafting attractive, well-built homes while also constructing a pool, playground, clubhouse and fishing ponds. Mungo Homes buyers also have use of the amenities, Hoffman says.

The Columbia builder prides itself on framing quality homes at a moderate price. "We try to stay around the $100 a square foot range," he says.

The new section of The Bluffs at Ashley River is toward the entrance to the community. Heading north, take Interstate 26 to exit 209B for Ashley Phosphate Road. Follow Ashley Phosphate to Dorchester Road. Veer right on Dorchester Road and continue seven miles to Bacons Bridge Road. Proceed about two miles past Bacons Bridge. Turn left on Ashley Bluffs Road. Ahead are the Mungo houses at The Bluffs at Ashley River.

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Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or