Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
New York Builder Borrows Page From Del Webb
Where most people would have seen only an old sand mine, builder Elliot Monter envisioned a multigenerational, resort-style community in a region foreign to such developments.
|The conservatory clubhouse will offer residents a multitude of services. Overlooking the bay, it will have a European-style spa, a glass-roofed restaurant with entertainment on the weekends, and a ballroom where residents can hold receptions.|
Where most people would have seen only an old sand mine, builder Elliot Monter envisioned a multigenerational, resort-style community in a region foreign to such developments. Monter has made his vision a reality, but even he didn’t foresee just how successful The Hamlet on Olde Oyster Bay would be.
Before ground was broken or a sales call was made, all 370 residences — a mix of condominiums and single-family homes ranging from $320,000 to $725,000 — sold out within three weeks after sales began last November. “The homes were so popular we had to hire a security guard to keep people back,” says Monter, president of The Holiday Organization in New York. “Nobody in the Northeast has developed a community like this one before.”
The Hamlet on Olde Oyster Bay is opening this summer in Plainview, N.Y., on the North Shore of Long Island. The success formula for builders in that area has always been high-priced bedroom communities built for families.
Monter broke the North Shore mold, migrating Del Webb’s Sun Belt strategies northward in building the 55-acre resort community on property that had been a county-owned sand mine.
When only a blueprint and an artist’s rendering were available to view, 4,500 prospects contacted Holiday about The Hamlet. Appointments were made to show the property’s plans, and 300 contracts were signed within three days. The community attracted diverse buyers: 65% to 70% are empty nesters, 20% to 25% are families with children, 15% are single, and 65% to 70% are middle age.
What attracted them? Monter mentions price (the average home in the area sells for more than $1 million, he says) and a good school district (85 children 17 and younger, including 25 less than a year old, are scheduled to move into the community). But mostly he credits the resort-style life for which the community is designed.
“The way people are today, more leisurely and tending to work at home, they want to be able to relax,” says Monter, who in addition to designing The Hamlet will reside there. “We made this connection, which made it very easy to sell homes.”
The amenities at The Hamlet include a European-style spa, a salon, a health club, a teen club, a ballroom for special occasions, three swimming pools (one indoor), an ATM, a convenience store and a restaurant offering room service. A full-time concierge can secure Manhattan theater tickets or arrange maid service. And each home is wired for high-speed Internet and intranet service at a discounted rate.
It adds up, Holiday CEO Gerald Monter says, to “a lifestyle people simply won’t find anywhere else in this area.”