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"Most of our buyers work in the downtown area and wish to live downtown, too," explained John Decker, president of Waterfront Park, the developer of Lake Front Commons.

The complex is hidden away on the waterfront; the sun sets on one side of the development; city lights brighten the other.

"The waterfront setting has the privacy that the prospective buyer is looking for, yet it is close to the park, the water and downtown activities and events," he said. "It is a prefect mix of easy access to work and play.

Lake Front Commons -- the last privately held piece of real estate in the downtown waterfront area -- has the suburban privacy of a cul-de-sac community. Situated as the final complex along Lakefront Boulevard, there will be no drive-through traffic to disturb the privacy of the setting.

Just about half of the 78 proposed townhouse are either built and occupied or are under construction, he added. The infrastructure -- road ways, utilities -- is in place and the second half of the development should move along quickly.

"Buyers have added many personalized touches to the basic designs -- more and larger windows to take in the view, cathedral ceilings and skylights, larger decks," Decker said. "Some have become permanent changes in the floor plans."

The tri-level plan calls for the garage on the ground level; a laundry room, mechanical systems and storage are placed here too. This level is accessible only from inside "the commons," not from the outer perimeter for added privacy and security.

The first floor stresses an open floor plan; the rooms are spatially divided by the step-down living room, but visually open. The dining room and L-shaped kitchen work area with island counter complete the level.

The second floor shows two or three bedrooms and two full baths. The third bedroom can double as a den. All townhouses include air conditioning, a wood-burning fireplace, a sun deck, electric garage door opener and a maintenance-free exterior.

There is no homeowner's association, thus no additional monthly fee. Units are priced from $154,000 to $219,000.

"Norstar Mortgage Corp. is providing mortgage financing with a long-lock program which locks-in the rate through December 15," added Susan Steinhaus, a loan officer with the funding company.

A model and sales center is open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 or daily from 9 to 6 or by appointment by calling 842-1960. To visit, take Erie Street to the end of Lakefront Boulevard.

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