Thursday, August 19, 2010

Evolution of a Community

When Ron and I purchased our home and membership at Talking Rock Ranch in Prescott, AZ a few months ago, we recognized the down side of investing in real estate in Arizona right now. But we were so attracted to the community and appreciated the design and value of the houses available, that we dug deeper to assess the level of risk. The developer, Harvard Investments of Scottsdale, AZ, is a U.S. subsidiary of The Hill Companies, a 100+ year old family-owned and operated company out of Canada. The Hill Companies are highly diversified, in real estate, manufacturing, broadcasting, bonds, insurance, and oil and gas.

Once we realized the financial breadth and depth of the developer's parent company and added our own observations about the quality of Talking Rock and it's member services, we decided to take the leap. (We were afraid that once the real estate market rebounded, we might not be able to afford to buy here!)

With time, we are happier and happier with our decision. Last night we attended an event at Talking Rock that gave us even greater confidence in the future of the community. It was an Open House for members, hosted by senior representatives from Harvard Investments (the developer) and Swaback Parters (architectural and community planning).

Among the things we learned...
  • The architectural company developed its roots from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
  • There is a deep and passionate commitment to continuing to enhance the appeal of the community, with a view spanning not just years - but decades.
  • The architectural committee researches trends in communities and housing, and is adjusting design and building standards appropriately (and creatively) over time.
  • Swaback Partners is the same company that does the planning for Kohler, Wisconsin (a community I much admire).
  • In 2008, Talking Rock Ranch won a prestigious Gold Nugget Award for Best Detached Residential Project.
We appreciated the time and effort put into the event (and the hors d'oeuvres and wine-tasting), and left with an even greater confidence and pride in our purchase decision. A real community has to be more than just a collection of homes on common real estate... and Talking Rock Ranch is evolving with a long term view in mind.

Photo used with permission from Talking Rock Ranch Marketing.

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