SOME BUILDERS VIEW CLUSTERED housing as a way to keep prices down. The Green Co., building on Cape Cod and in the Boston suburbs for more than 50 years, sees it as the best way to create environmentally conscious communities that can lure people from the detached homes they love.
That strategy, coupled with fresh design, smart construction planning, and unrelenting customer service, has led to solid sales success in some 20 developments over the years. Along the way, Green has garnered a slew of industry awards and pioneered attached housing in communities that once said “no” to such development.
“The Green Co. understands, better than any developer I know, what the local community will accept in the way of design and density,” says Jon Witten, a Boston College law professor who represents area communities.
Time and again, the company has sought to be “the only game in town,” as it tried new approaches that the market never saw before. It was among the first builders on Cape Cod in the early 1960s to offer single-family homes on the waterfront with an amenity package of swimming pool, clubhouse, and ball fields.
Then, in 1973 it introduced attached housing to the Cape, with the 210-unit Falmouthport condo community, built on the site of an old sand pit. But wasn't that a risky move, especially at a time when the OPEC Oil Embargo dampened the market for second homes? “Risky?” echoes Alan Green, the 79-year-old company chairman. “We had the challenge of putting land parcels together, and, of course, the lenders weren't used to this type of housing. Our market research was what we read about in House and Home.”
Still, the company learned a lot from Falmouthport—most notably the value of sensitive land use and the discovery of a burgeoning empty-nester market looking for a new lifestyle. Those lessons gave the company the confidence to push ahead with a whole series of cluster-home communities, including many in Boston's choicest suburbs. Says Green president David Caligaris: “Attached housing gives you the flexibility to work with the land in ways that make the most sense.”
CREATORS OF ENVIRONMENTS Enter a Green Co. community, and you quickly appreciate the meaning of the company's mantra that everything starts with the land and the goal of preserving the natural environment. That's certainly the case at The Pinehills, a large master planned golf community eight miles south of historic Plymouth, Mass. One of the first builders to start work in the community, Green is now developing Winslowe's View, a development that will total 550 attached homes—of which 380 have already been sold—by the end of 2008.
As you drive through the community, you get the feeling of being in a private world where meticulous care for the natural environment is paramount. Mature trees, shrubs, flowers, walking paths, winding roads, and rolling topography that positions homes at varied levels all work together to create a sense of place. In Winslowe's View, Green strategically places clusters of two or three attached homes so that owners can enjoy rear views of woods, fields, or parts of the Jack Nicklaus and Rees Jones golf courses, which weave through the property.
“When they plan a community, many developers start with the road and move toward where they want to put the houses,” explains Alan Green. “We start with the rear of the home and come forward. We also try to build only on one side of the road, so you aren't facing other homes, and we like to site homes around the perimeter but away from main roads, leaving open space in the middle.”
Adds vice president Daniel Green, “When we are buying a parcel of land, we will walk it five, six, seven times in order to identify and preserve the environmentally sensitive areas.”
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Boston, MA.