July 12, 2016

Clustered Condos Styled for Empty Nesters

By Jerome Obermark
– The Commercial Appeal –

Site work is expected to start within a month on an unusual development of single-story condominiums in Collierville.

The Oaks at Schilling Farms community will have 88 units and a clubhouse with a pool on an 18-acre site. The location is south of Winchester Road about one-half mile east of Bailey Station Road.

Model units are expected to be ready next spring. Developers expect to have a trailer on the site to start preselling late this year.

“The things that set it apart are that all the units will be one story. It will be a condominium, so it’s maintenance-free living, and the price points will be under $200,000,” said Ron Hickman, senior vice president of Kemmons Wilson Inc “We expect it will appeal to empty nesters and young professionals but not to families with children,” he said. With the exception of the clubhouse, all buildings will have four units.

Each unit will have a double garage and a screened porch opening to a corner view.

Hickman said that won’t have backyards and all of them will have an open corner view at the veranda (screened porch). Buyers will be able to have the veranda enclosed with glass, he said.

All buildings will have steeply pitched roofs and a traditional facade and look like large houses.

Owners will share one common wall with a neighbor. Garages will be in the center of the four unit buildings. Looped streets through the development will allow access to garages from both sides of the building.

Pull down stairways will be in the garages for access to attic storage.

Utility bills should be lower because units will have less exposure to the elements than traditional single-family homes. They will have insulated glass windows, insulation and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, Hickman said.

“All yard cutting and all exterior maintenance such as painting and roofing will be covered in the monthly fee,” Hickman said.

The monthly fee is not expected to exceed $160 Hickman said.

“That may sound high, but when you think about all that’s covered, it isn’t,” he said.

Monthly fees will cover the cost of maintaining the exteriors and roofs of all buildings, lawn care and other cost associated with maintaining the private streets, community clubhouse and a master insurance covering fire, casualty and hazard protection on the buildings.

The only other insurance owners need to take care of themselves is to cover their contents, Hickman said. Four floor plans with two or three bedrooms will be available. Sizes will range from about 1,300 to 1,800 square feet. Prices are expected to range from about $130,000 to 180,000, he said.

Driveways to the garages will be deep enough to park two additional cars, and extra parking will be around the clubhouse, which owners can reserve for special occasions. The clubhouse will have a gathering room for card playing and socializing, a big kitchen, an office and an exercise room. The clubhouse will open to the community swimming pool.

Joey Bland, project director for Kemmons Wilson inc., said the community and unit design also should appeal to people who travel frequently.

“It’s really a lifestyle opportunity,” Bland said.

The developers studies other markets and purchased a license from Epmark Inc., the franchising division of Epcon Group Inc., a Dublin, Ohio, condo developer that has been building single-story condos in low-density clusters for more than a decade.

The licensing agreement provided a package approach including plans and legal documents, Hickman said. An Atlanta builder who also is an Epmark Inc., franchisee has built units there similar to those planned in Collierville, Hickman said.

Kemmons Wilson Inc. bought the site for the development from Schilling Farms LLC for $1.75 million, said Tom Leatherwood, Shelby county register.

The local developers also conducted focus group interviews to measure interest in the concept.

“Based on our focus group study, what’s available (to the targeted market group) are older condominiums, which are typically two story, bigger and higher priced,” Hickman said. He feel confident about The Oaks at Schilling Farms: “We think a whole lot has gone into this concept that will appeal to discerning buyers.”

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, demand for lower-maintenance housing is expected to increase for the next 20 years, Hickman said.

“We want to be in front of that curve, rather than be overwhelmed by it.”