ITS DEVELOPER NAMED THE 310-ACRE, MASTER PLANNED community Providence to reflect the neat, New England–style homes rising from the prairie north of Dallas and Fort Worth and for the bit of old-time religion the style conjures up. It certainly wasn't because Dallas-based developer Huffines Communities was looking for divine intervention in coming up with a building and marketing strategy.
“Our goal is velocity and volume,” says Donald Huffines, co-owner of Huffines Communities. “We're not interested in raising prices with each release of homes. There isn't a lot of price appreciation in this market.”
So Huffines and primary builders Choice Homes and D.R. Horton have averaged 45 to 50 sales a month since Providence opened in August 2002. To date, 700 building permits have been issued, Huffines says.
Homes at Providence range from the $90s to $160s. Smaller lots are 40 feet wide by 110 feet deep; larger ones are 50-by-110, with 12-foot front yards. “Seventy percent of the homes have to have a front porch,” Huffines says. “It's a very pedestrian-friendly community.”
He describes the houses as neo-traditional, but many models have a touch of gingerbread that gives the homes a cottage feel. Side-gabled, Cape Cods feature dormers and front porches.
There are second-floor balconies, and some homes have screened porches in back. The only thing missing is the taste of salt in the breeze.
“We have first-time and move-up buyers, and some empty-nesters are moving in,” says Zack Jones, regional vice president for Choice Homes, which has sold 323 houses since opening and has another 500 lots available to contract at Providence. “It's a pretty diversified neighborhood.”
Plans call for it to be a highly amenitized neighborhood, with more than $1 million in recreational additions. At the entrance to the community will be a swimming pool with a 35-foot-high water slide, a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse and a 24-hour workout center. A 45-acre park, hiking/biking trails, and three recreational lakes, including one designed for trophy fishing, are interspersed among the home sites. An elementary school is slated to open on site in the fall.
The developer also is sharing the $1.5 million tab to build a water and sewer system on the north Texas land that, not long ago, was prairie. It may not be New England, but then, even that was brand-new once.
Market: Dallas/Fort Worth; Project: Providence, Aubrey, Texas; Sales started: May 2002; Sales through March 2004: Choice Homes, 323; D.R. Horton, 405; Total units planned: Choice Homes, 500; D.R. Horton, 1,300; Unit size: 904 to 2,800 square feet (Choice Homes); 1,000 to 2,594 square feet (D.R. Horton); Price: $92,950 to $180,000 (Choice Homes); $91,490 to $154,990 (D.R. Horton); Developer: Huffines Communities, Dallas; Builders: Choice Homes, Dallas; D.R. Horton, Murphy, Texas; Architect: NTS Architects and Planners, Richardson, Texas
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Dallas, TX.