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Amenities intentionally figured in to planning Scissortail's success

by Chris Bahn | September 13, 2015 at 2:05 a.m.

Installing a couple of boccecq ball courts and horseshoe pits won't cost much for the developers of upscale Rogers subdivision Scissortailcq.

Those minor investments are, however, central to what Leadership Properties partners Bob David and Julie Vaught want to accomplish with the 147 acres that sit just west of Arkansas 112. They're aiming to create three distinct neighborhoods that still feel like a community, not just a collection of houses ranging from $400,000 to $1 million.

"Everybody is always looking for something to do. You can sit in your home or in your backyard. But if you want to go hang out with friends or meet people in the neighborhood, what do you do?" asked David, who lives in Tulsa but developed Centerton's high-end Oak Tree subdivision.

David said he wants the subdivision to have "a resort feel to it." Plans call for a clubhouse with workout room, a couple of pools and, quite possibly, a dog park and park benches along streets that run through the gated community.

Site work is scheduled to begin in the next 30 days. Leadership Properties sees room for 263 lots, ranging from 80-by-140 feet, 95-by-150 feet and a half-acre and larger. Prices will generally fall into three groupings: $400,000 to $500,000; $500,000 to $650,000; and $650,000 to $1 million.

What do you get for that money? Something between 3,000 and 6,000 square feet. And, of course, those amenities.

Northwest Arkansas' economy has rebounded enough to support these types of developments again, David said. He added that lessons learned during the recession and collapse of the housing market have factored in to how he and Vaught have approached Scissortail.

There was a point in the development of Oak Tree that David had more than 200 empty lots, no builders and no buyers. It was incredibly stressful, but didn't scare him off of projects in Northwest Arkansas.

Financial risk has been minimized to some degree this go-round because of a partnership with eight builders exclusive to the neighborhood. The builders have invested capital in it, thus giving them a stake in making it a success.

Limiting the builders involved and asking them to take a financial stake also serves to ensure quality. David said too often developers open up a neighborhood to too many people who have no vested interest in maintaining standards in their construction. They want to build as quickly as possible, cash their checks and call it a day.

Poor quality construction on a handful of houses can lead to declining property values and cost homeowners in the long run. That's a situation that David and Vaught, who formerly worked in the title business, want to avoid.

That the initial investment for the 147 acres was just north of $1.5 million -- $10,000-plus an acre -- also makes the potential risk more manageable. David bought the majority of the land, 137 acres, from Arvest Bank for $1.1 million.

Those other 10 acres were a bit pricier.

A strip of about 9 acres right in the middle of the pasture land was sold for $109,000 in 2013. David paid $400,000 after originally offering $139,000. He picked up the other remaining acre for $40,000.

Although the land is on the extreme western edge of Rogers, David and Vaught feel good about the location. Ongoing road projects will open up access to the Pinnacle Hills Promenade shopping area about the time they envision business really booming in Scissortail.

"It's been a perfect storm of circumstances," David said.

SundayMonday Business on 09/13/2015

Print Headline: Amenities intentionally figured in to planning Scissortail's success


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