Here are excerpts from an interesting article from USA Today (Larry Olmstead), on the trend of specialized themed communities, including several located in Colorado and the west:
Themed communities now are targeted at hunters and anglers, cyclists and equestrians, pilots and gardeners, even oenophiles. “Developments are becoming more specialized,” says Orlando real estate broker Scott Kauffman of Golfcoursebusiness.com, an expert on master planned communities. “People have different passions.”
An example: Kukui’ula on Kauai, a golf community that also is a sustainable development. It “markets itself as a ‘living garden,’ and buyers are drawn by a fabulous 50-acre co-op farm,” Kauffman says. Other vacation-home communities attract green thumbs to coffee and grape farms, and Colorado’s Maytag Mountain Ranch offers owners of its 27 100-acre ranches a share in a grass-fed cattle operation.
What sets the best communities apart are specialized facilities. When finished, the Motor Sport Country Club of Colorado outside Denver will have four tracks totaling 8 miles, including a Formula 1-style layout and an off-road racing course (motorsportcc.com).
For horse lovers, Palmetto Bluff’s nearly 200 acres of equestrian facilities in South Carolina include two barns, pastures, a covered arena, regulation dressage ring, 5-acre turf event field, and cross-country course designed by Olympian John Williams (palmetto-bluff.com).
The hunting-centric Wyoming Club offers owners shooting ranges and three satellite properties in Nebraska and the Dakotas, boasting a vast array of big game and waterfowl (wyomingclub.com).
Other types of communities that are becoming popular are solar communities, wind power communities, carbon-neutral developments, and just about anything that can be marketed a “green”. And we all know how popular golf communities have been over the years.
I see this shift toward more specialized communities as a trend that will grow. Sure, some of the more quirky ideas will fail, but the overall trend should continue. More home buyers have unique interests, and will be looking for communities that fit those interests. This should be particularly true for older individuals who no longer have children or large families in the home, or are looking for vacation homes. As our population gets older there should be even more demand.
Speaking as a consultant, from a design/marketing/branding standpoint- the more unique the theme the better. Suburban areas continue to grow, and there is only so much we can do with names, monuments, and theming for a typical boilerplate subdivision or retail center. Uniquely themed communities provide more opportunity for interesting design elements, and should be easier to market- albeit to a more limited pool of customers.
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