Small, infill multifamily projects like this one exemplify the tenets of Lean Urbanism, a growing movement that was born out of New Urbanism.
Embrace the History
Earl LaFave, president and co-owner of Beck Development, wanted to play up the industrial history of the reclaimed sand and gravel quarry he restored to create the Hidden Lake community.
Earl LaFave, president and co-owner of Beck Development, wanted to play up the industrial history of the reclaimed sand and gravel quarry he restored to create the Hidden Lake community. In creating the 1/3-mile-long entryway, he merged the past and present by using waterworks and a post-and-beam gatehouse. The effect is modern grandeur with Old World feeling. LaFave designed the entrance to have aesthetic charm and psychological impact that resonate with home buyers.
Halfway through the development schedule, all 100 homes built in Hidden Lake's first phase have been sold except models and spec homes. LaFave is confident, through direct feedback from buyers, that some homeowners bought "just because of the entranceway."
"Many times developments promise a lot but deliver very little," says LaFave. "When you make an investment of this magnitude, it sends a message that the developer is willing to make the investment upfront in the quality, success and long-term viability of the development. The quality and the level of investment remove the uncertainty from potential buyers and assure them."
Community: Hidden Lake, Brighton, Mich.
Developer: Beck Development
Branding Elements: 5-acre waterfront entrance featuring a gatehouse, reflective ponds and waterfalls
Cost: $500,000 for gatehouse, $2 million for entire entrance
Formula: Integrate the land's history into the development's style and story