Masterplan developers have learned that they can achieve even more sales and higher prices by joining forces with adjacent land owners to create larger master-planned communities with scale. By working together, they can create a larger community with more name recognition, more activities, and economies of scale.
West Villages in the Sarasota metro area and Ontario Ranch in the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area represent two thriving examples of this new breed of mega-masterplans.
The West Villages masterplan (ranked #5 in 2017 sales) links existing neighborhoods, including:
- Sarasota National and Gran Paradiso by Lennar
- Grand Palm by Neal Communities
- IslandWalk by DiVosta (Pulte)
- Renaissance (where Mattamy Homes acquired a significant interest in 2014 with partner Vanguard Land and has since opened for sales). The Mattamy partnership is also selling lots to M/I Homes in the Oasis section and to D.R. Horton in the Preserve section.
Together, the community will ultimately deliver over 70,000 homes. The formation of the masterplan fostered opportunities for greater connectivity between sections, to plan for a town center amenity, and to implement a community marketing program.
Ontario Ranch (ranked #11 in 2017 sales) includes these sections:
- Brookfield Residential is building homes in New Haven and Edenglen.
- Lennar is building in Grand Park.
- D.R. Horton is building in Avenida.
- Seven builders are selling in the Park Place section developed by Lewis and Stratham.
The community will include over 46,000 homes at build-out. In addition to schools, parks and trails, and an independent water system, Ontario Ranch is the first gigabit community in Southern California, offering residents ultra-high speed home data services.
Strengths of these marketing-driven masterplans:
- Shared marketing. MPC name recognition grows thanks to more companies using the name.
- Diverse offerings. More consumers can find what they want within the greater community, as opposed to feeling like they are choosing between communities. They also have access to extensive amenities and an appealing lifestyle.
Cooperation like this comes with additional risk as well as opportunity. The appeal of the West Villages name likely helped contribute to the Atlanta Braves relocating their minor league operations there. Conversely, the Inspirada masterplan in Las Vegas ran into difficulties when one of the major owners filed bankruptcy in the previous downturn. As always, choosing partners carefully can make a big difference.
In summary, when it comes to masterplan communities, bigger is often better.