There was no blank canvas for the developer and architect of homes in Quechee Lakes, a luxury condo community in Hartford, Vt. In fact, most of the picture had already been painted before Peter Carbone, managing partner for Taurus New England in Boston, acquired the property more than two years ago. There were already 1,300 homes and condominiums on the site, which had been zoned in the 1970s. Today, there are 60 units left to build, though Carbone is working to gain approvals for 200 more.
In addition to the 60 units that are still in preliminary design phases, the development picture already contained plans for two projects called the Arlington and the Cabot, which Taurus took over and plans to finish up in the next six months. Both were limited by topography, says Holly Darzen, a principal at Boston-based architectural firm Linea 5. “There was only a narrow strip of land that we could even develop,” Darzen says. “The units on one side of the grade are dropping away downhill and the other side is uphill. Whatever was flat got the road.”
Even with the restrictions, Darzen and Carbone both say they could still focus on the buyer. “You have to know who your customer is, where they are coming from, and try to figure out what they are buying,” Carbone adds.
Carbone figured out that his buyers were heads of families—often with three generations living in the home—who wanted a second home for hobbies such as golfing or skiing. So the Arlington and the Cabot offer playrooms for children, ground-level living space for aging parents, and places to store sports equipment. Carbone says both are selling well, despite the current housing slump. “We have not cut prices significantly to sell them,” Carbone says.
- Gilbert, Ariz.: Alliance Residential Co. has opened Broadstone at Twin Fields, a 314-unit luxury rental property. The one-, two-, and three-bedroom units feature granite countertops, hardwood flooring, and crown molding. Amenities include a playground, billiards room, coffee bar, outdoor lounge with WiFi, pools, and a 24-hour fitness center.
- Springfield, Ill.: Abundant Faith Christian Center is developing Timber-lake Estates, a state-funded, 67-unit independent living facility. The property offers one- and two-bedroom units with rents ranging from $439 to $700. Residents must be 55 years or older with an income less than 60 percent of the area median income.
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: M&R Management Co. began its first residential construction project in more than 30 years when it broke ground on an eight-story, 51-unit upscale apartment community. The property is one of the only rental residential projects currently under development in the area. Though the company has taken a 30-year hiatus, it has built more than 5,000 units since its founding more than 70 years ago.
- Laurel, Md.: The Bozzuto Group and Somera Capital Management are developing Laurel Commons, a 440-unit community that will serve as the centerpiece for the redevelopment of the city's Route 1 corridor. Three percent of the units will be set aside as workforce rental housing for city employees. Amenities will include a pool and health club, cyber café, and billiards room. The project will break ground in early 2009 and is expected to open in late 2010.
- Deerfield Beach, Fla.: York Residential is developing three residential buildings with 467 market-rate and 82 workforce residential units as part of a large mixed-use development. The project also features 36,000 square feet of office space, 14,500 square feet of ground-level retail space, a 140-room hotel, and two garages with 1,146 parking spaces.
- Austin, Texas: Alliance Communities, the Texas division of Phoenix-based Alliance Residential Co., began construction on the Broadstone Travesia and Broadstone Grand Avenue. Broadstone Travesia, which has 396 luxury apartment homes, will be across from the 328-acre La Frontera mixed-use subdivision, which incorporates office, retail, residential, and hospitality uses. Broadstone Grand Avenue will add 280 luxury apartment homes to complement the surrounding corporate employers.
- Las Vegas: MGM Mirage is developing The Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences at CityCenter to include 207 luxury condo units and 400 hotel rooms and suites. The one- and two-bedroom for-sale flats and penthouses will range from nearly 1,000 square feet to 3,700 square feet. Residents can access all of the hotel's amenities including a Mr. Chow restaurant and a pool with views of the Strip. The Light Group will operate the property, which is slated to open in late 2009.
- New York: Douglaston Development, an affiliate of Levine Builders, is developing a 34-story, 369-unit luxury rental building. The façade of the project will be comprised of architectural pre-cast concrete panels with aluminum windows and a window wall. The building will feature a 5,600-square-foot rooftop terrace, 4,000 square feet of street-level retail space, and 28,000 square feet of parking located on two levels.
Schriever AFB, Colo.: Tierra Vista Communities plans to build 242 new homes on the Schriever military base during the next three years. These will be the first homes for military families at the camp. The homes, which will range from 1,630 square feet to 4,000 square feet and include a minimum of three bedrooms, also feature a master suite and bathroom, Energy Star appliances, and ample storage space. —Listings compiled by Les Shaver