David Weekley Homes’ entry into Salt Lake City, Utah, may not necessarily be a beachhead for more westward expansion, but the move will be a long-term commitment for the Houston-based home builder.
“Any time we move to a new community, it’s a big entry for us,” said David Weekley, chairman of David Weekley Homes, in an interview. “We’ve hung in there through down times, and we stayed in markets that had some real tough times, so when we make an entry into a community, we’re committed to it.”
Weekley Homes announced Monday that it will break ground this May in South Jordan’s Daybreak Community, Utah’s largest master-planned community. The developer, Kennecott, a division of Rio Tinto Group, which owns 93,000 acres of the site, has developed 3,000 housing units since Daybreak opened in 2004 and intends to complete 20,000 units by 2020. It is among the first communities of that size to adhere to Energy Star standards.
“We recognized an outstanding opportunity to be a builder there,” Weekley said. “We were attracted by the quality of the developer. They’re a large organization, they have consistent financial backing, [and] they have lots of land and a great team in Salt Lake City. They have high quality people and that is who we want to be doing business with.”
The privately held builder will construct three single-family detached home products in two neighborhoods, Creekside and Lakeside villages, Weekley said. In Creekside Village, the home builder will sell cottage court-style homes, ranging from 1,200 to 1,650 square feet and priced from the low-to-mid $200,000s. Creekside also will feature 60-foot long sites with 1,800 to 2,300 square-foot homes priced in the high $200,000s up to the low $300,000s, according to Weekley Homes. Lakeside Village will feature 2,000-to-2,400 square-foot homes with mountain and lake views on 60-foot long sites and prices in the mid-to-upper $300,000s.
Lots are in the process of being purchased, so Weekley declined to say how many homes his company intends to build. Rather he described Weekley Homes’ commitment as building 10 to 20 years of lots as long as lots are provided for use. During the last 10 years, master-planned communities generated 58 percent of Weekley Homes’ revenue, which exceeded $624 million during 2011 alone, according to Professional Builder's Housing Giants survey last year. The company operates in 17 U.S. cities.
“A key part of our attractiveness is we have 40 designers in-house, and the ability to play well with developers and compete well in communities where other builders are present,” Weekley said. “(Kennecott) wanted a well-known brand in the community that does high-end design and keeps its commitments.”