Upper Albany

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Upper Albany, a TND project featuring an eye-opening 'carriage home' product line, garnered 318 sales in less than 16 months — only 10 months with model homes open.

April 01, 2004

 



 

With front porches set close to sidewalks, and elevations uncluttered by garages, Upper AlbanyÆs carriage homes create streetscapes reminiscent of the small farming towns that dot OhioÆs landscape.


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:


Number of plans:







Square footages: 1,760 for townhomes to 1,998 for largest village home

Price range: $143,900 to $209,900

Buyer profile: Yuppies without children
Vital Stats
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Builder/developer/architect/land planner: M/I Homes

Community size: 367 units on 69 acres

Models opened: May 2003

Sales to date: 318

Home types:

 

The 1,774-square-foot Braiden, priced at $182,900, is one of the nostalgic carriage homes that have Columbus yuppies reaching for their checkbooks. Two-thirds of Upper Albany buyers are first-timers ages 20 to 30, have an annual income of $30,000 to $50,000 and move from apartments within 10 miles of the site.

 

The land plan for the rear-loaded carriage homes features a 4-acre village green, a great complement to the nostalgic elevations that surround it.

 

The 1,998-square-foot Beckett, priced at $209,900, is a typical village home: a conventional front-load, with a full basement, centered on a 55x120-foot lot.

 

The 1,671-square-foot Langford, base-priced at $181,900, wows buyers with a full-width front porch.

M/I Homes turned an advantageous land buy only a stoneÆs throw from its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, into the top-selling community in central Ohio. Upper Albany, a TND project featuring an eye-opening ôcarriage homeö product line, garnered 318 sales in less than 16 months ù only 10 months with model homes open.

Opportunities

M/I, No. 20 on this yearÆs Giants list, knew just what to do with the site, which is between the high-income suburbs of New Albany and Westerville in ColumbusÆ hot northeast growth corridor.

ôThis was an undeveloped area but served by all-new infrastructure,ö says Mark Norris, president of M/IÆs Columbus division. ôItÆs close to a lot of high-income jobs and close enough to New Albany to identify in the public eye with that town, which has some high-profile TND projects. In fact, the city of Columbus had already created TND zoning for this site.ö

Because the site is in Columbus rather than its posh suburbs, M/IÆs land cost was lower (the builder wonÆt say how much). So homes can be priced to sell at a fraction of what they would cost in New Albany, where the first rung of the homeownership ladder exceeds $250,000, yet buyers still can tell their friends thatÆs where they now live.

Naming the project Upper Albany was another smart move because Columbus has a high-income inner suburb named Upper Arlington.

Obstacles

Design presented M/IÆs biggest obstacle to realizing its vision for the site. The builder had to come up with a new product line to fit the TND zoning and appeal to the challenging target market: young singles and childless couples.

ôLocation in the city of Columbus is a double-edged sword,ö Norris explains. ôIt creates a pricing advantage because of lower land costs, but we had to keep kids out of the target market because Columbus schools are perceived poorly. The high land values in New Albany and Westerville are partly due to schools that are seen to be of much higher quality.ö

The stroke of genius here is the slab-on-grade ôvillage homeö product line that M/I architect Eric Marten designed to rear-load on 45x70-foot lots, which keep lot cost down and pricing within the range of 20-something buyers. The garages offer an attractive option: a 240-square-foot, second-story finished bonus room, which M/I prices at $6,500.

Vinyl siding and aluminum soffits and fascia allow M/I to market the carriage homes as ômaintenance-free,ö with landscaping and lawn care included in homeowners association dues. That plays a big role in enticing the 20-somethings out of their nearby apartments.

Outcome

M/I began pre-sales in November 2002 and, with the site knee-deep in mud, sold 34 houses before the end of the year. By the time the models opened in May 2003, 180 sales were already on the books. In late February 2004, the total was 318 and counting.

Not surprisingly, the carriage homes lead the way. ôWeÆve sold 182 of the 191 carriage homes,ö Norris reports, ôand the only reason there are any left at all is that we held a few lots and the model homes off the market.ö

Norris says all eight plans in that product line sell equally well. More than 80% of carriage home buyers take the garage bonus room option.

M/I builds the carriage homes for hard costs (materials and labor only) of $40 to $45 a square foot. The larger-lot village homes, with full basements, come in at $45 to $50 a square foot. The duplex townhouses run $38 per square foot.

Upper Albany West, a mile away, is moving through approvals that will allow sales to begin this summer on 750 houses in the same product lines.

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