"You are not buying another house; you are investing in your future." Or so says the marketing copy on the Holrob Communities website. Not exactly earth-shattering stuff. A home is likely the biggest single investment most of us will make. But how is that investment likely to hold up in an era of "underwater" mortgages, foreclosures, and assorted real estate market mayhem?
It all depends on what the future holds. Which is one reason why this quote I stumbled across awhile back on the Natural Resource Defense Council's website caught my eye:
"Next-generation projects will orient to infill, urbanizing suburbs, and transit-oriented development. Smaller housing units—close to mass transit, work, and 24-hour amenities—gain favor over large houses on big lots at the suburban edge."
I can hear the skeptics now: "It's a tree-hugger site, what did you expect from a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing hippies?" And I'd say you were right except that the NRDC only highlighted the quote, it wasn't the source. Instead, it came from the Urban Land Institute and PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2010. Published annually for the past 30 years, the report aims to advise the industry "on where to invest, what to develop, which markets are hot, and how the economy, and trends in capital flows will affect real estate." In other words, the green they're interested in isn't the environmental sort.
I thought of that quote when a realtor friend contacted me about her latest listing. Holrob Communities, the relatively new residential arm of Holrob Properties, recently bought one of the last rundown houses on Fourth and Gill's Luttrell Street and is in the process of renovating it for resale.
That Holrob, which made an early splash in the "urbanizing suburb" of Bearden, saw the potential of Fourth and Gill doesn't really surprise me. (In fact, they got into Fourth and Gill rather late, if you ask me.) Other than the fairly conventional Cove at Turkey Creek, they've made some interesting decisions in choosing sites for their residential communities, whether its infill like Rocky Hill's Enclave or new communities conveniently close to the cores of small towns turned bedroom communities like Lenoir City and Maryville.
Obviously, this property is different. None of those new developments can boast hundred-year-old hardwood or a five-minute bike ride to Market Square. And you won't find a pool and clubhouse on any list of Luttrell Street's "community amenities." But, these days, is it really all that out of place that a company that bills itself as providing "premier living in East Tennessee" would be investing in Fourth and Gill? m
1126 Luttrell St.
3 bdrm/2.5 bath
Contact: Jennifer Montgomery