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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House Scheduled

The dates for an open house and the dedication of the new Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple in Daybreak, South Jordan were announced Saturday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The open house will take place weekdays from June 1 through Aug. 1, except for the July 4 and July 24 holidays. The temple will be dedicated Aug. 14-16, with 12 dedicatory sessions scheduled. The 130th operating temple for the church — the 13th in Utah — was announced at the October 2005 general conference. Groundbreaking ceremonies occurred Dec. 16, 2006.

The temple will serve roughly 83,000 residents in the western Salt Lake Valley. It is the fourth temple in the valley. South Jordan will be the first city in the world with two LDS temples.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Best Home Builder in Daybreak

Who is the best home builder in Daybreak? If you pose this question to a representative of Kennecott Land or possibly the HOA you will probably get an answer similar to, "Well, they are all really great." They might subsequently ask you about your price range. Of course you are going to get what you pay for, but comparing a builder that constructs luxury $500,000 homes with a town home builder fits the oft used phrase of comparing oranges and apples.

However, with Rainey Homes building homes that range from 199k to over 500k and Holmes Homes building homes that range from 129k to over 300k, things have become more comparable. Other builders have started to expand the price range of their offerings as the market for more luxury homes has softened in the last two years. The Daybreak Daily forums have also produced many opinions and have listed numerous complaints about various builders. However, most people tend to only post the bad things they have experienced and not all of the good things. You will find many more complaints than compliments on any forum.

Given this information I think that the most telling measure has been the polls located on this site and on the Daybreak Daily. They asked the same simple question: Who is the best builder in Daybreak? Interestingly, Rainey Homes looks to be the clear leader in both polls. The poll on this blog is actually fairly difficult to manipulate as the IP address is recorded when one votes so that they cannot vote twice. Second in line is Destination Homes which is agreed on by both polls as well. After that it is really a toss up.

In the end I do believe that all of the home builders are decent, but consumers are biased toward quality which is a more common feature with the more expensive homes built by Destination and Rainey. Other builders such as Ivory and Garbett homes have not been around in Daybreak long enough to make a fair comparison assessment. Especially when the product in Daybreak is not what many of these builders are used to providing. In the future, I have heard rumor that when the market for more expensive homes becomes more viable, other builders will build in Daybreak. Especially on the custom home lots.

If you have information that you would like to share about your builder, then please comment on this blog. I post everything as long as it is not spam or offensive. What do you think of the builders in Daybreak? Who is the Best? The worst?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Look Behind at South Jordan, Utah

For the greater part of last century South Jordan, Utah was a rural community on the fringe of Salt Lake County. While this town is still suburban, the growth of South Jordan in the last two decades has been phenomenal. You can look at the numbers from census data, but that does not quite capture the growth in a manner that shows the sweeping nature of the population wave that has swept over Salt Lake County. Today I found a website that shows this growth visually. Trulia Hindsight's map uses the year the properties were built to show the growth of streets, neighborhoods and cities over time. Click here to see South Jordan's growth over time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ivory Homes to Build Garden Park

Ivory Homes has recently announced that they will be the exclusive builder of the new Garden Park village in Daybreak. This village was recently approved by the South Jordan City Council as part of Daybreak's master plan. The general location of this community will be just West of Oquirrh Lake and North of Daybreak View Parkway.

Ivory homes will apparently build single-family ramblers that will feature main-floor master bedrooms. These homes are expected to range from the high $100s to $400s. They also announced that a specific clubhouse will be built for this community that will be specifically designed to accommodate active adults along with a large park convenient to the location.

Daybreak Architecture – Row Homes

Some of the more distinctive homes in Daybreak can be found on the West side of Founders Village . These homes feature tall, narrow façades that seem to represent the entire spectrum of colors often found in a box of crayola crayons. These façades, like many other homes in Daybreak, feature fiber-cement siding relying on color and trim to differentiate an otherwise homogeneous row of dwellings. I toured some of the model homes when Golden Medallion Homes first opened them to the public. Inside you can still find a surprisingly open floor plan that features a kitchen and living room on the main floor. This feature more than any other differentiates these row homes with the historic row houses of the past.

Row houses were built by even the earliest European colonies. As early as 1630 European settlers in Virginia were building small groups of attached houses that closely replicated designs used since medieval times. Later, during the eighteenth century, towns along the eastern seaboard prospered and land value increased steadily.

Out of necessity, many builders made the most of land purchased by building row houses that could be accommodated easily by a small narrow lot. At this time row houses became a standard home for many families living within an urban setting. During this time, most of these homes were designed in a Federal style with architectural details being borrowed from Greek architecture. During this time many row houses were built using wood as the sole construction material. This was later corrected as many fires devastated whole streets of homes because of the material and proximity.

Commonly referred to in the Western United States as town homes, both attached and detached versions exist. Famous examples of row homes are in most major cities, but a few stand out particularly in the public eye. The “painted ladies” of San Francisco are a perfect example. In historic Philadelphia , almost the entire city is populated with various types of row houses that were built as early as colonial times. Most of these row homes are primarily red brick in construction, with stone and marble accent. There are even a few examples that are built of solid granite, such as Mayfair in Northeast Philadelphia . The Daybreak row home models are colorful, modern examples of a style that reaches back to medieval Europe . In my opinion they are an aesthetically pleasing way to successfully integrate density into our community and are a welcome addition into Founders Village and Eastlake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Daybreak's New Community

The South Jordan City Council has just approved an addition to a plan submitted by Kennecott Land to build an “Active Adult Community” here in Daybreak. The Daybreak Active Adult Community will have marketing that will target the 50 years and older demographic group, but will not be totally exclusive to that age group. I expect we will start to see the “Daybreakish” advertising for this community sometime this year. An advertisement featuring a husband and wife with gray hair riding bikes around the lake possibly with an “empty nester” caption displayed somewhere prominently.

In my opinion this part of the development will fuel growth and compliment the existing Daybreak community. The plan is for the Daybreak Active Adult Community to be located West of Oquirrh Lake and North of the new Rio Tinto Corporate Center. It will be nice to see some houses on that side of the lake as for years it has just been mounds of earth and construction equipment. The homes seem to be of the parkside variety that Holmes Homes and Richmond American Homes are building in Eastlake. This is logical considering that the targeted group will probably like not having to take care of a yard.

Considering the principles of New Urbanism this new development will bring further age diversity to a community that some consider to be "plagued with children." The current real estate market has been hindered by the tightening of credit standards and lack of affordability in the Salt Lake Valley. However, this particular demographic is most likely not constrained by these factors. This demographic has probably been living in a McMansion in which they have a considerable amount of equity if they do not own it completely. They are tired of having a 4500 sq ft house to take care of along with the burden of high utility costs. They want a simpler life in a community that has plenty of amenities. This trend has been proven and documented in numerous publications both journalistic and academic.

The size of this group is also astonishing. Developing this part of Daybreak now will probably keep Daybreak sales up and will increase their market share in a time when many developers are struggling to stay solvent. I think one of the best benefits of this move will be the generational diversity mix here in Daybreak. Many neighborhoods are built and then populated by people of the same age, socioeconomic status, and stage in life. These neighborhoods are stable for awhile until this demographic experiences a change. Maybe all of the kids have grown and moved on to college or other pursuits. All of a sudden the neighborhood that was once full of kids seems empty. Maybe all of the residents get to the point where they can buy a better house and the permanent nature of a residential neighborhood all of a sudden turns into one in which half of the homes are now rentals. Within a couple of years you see the landscaping and general upkeep of the neighborhood deteriorate.

This type of thing can be prevented if the neighborhood contains a good mix of residents. Many might say that designating a specific area of Daybreak just for the "old fogies" is actually segregating them. I would have to agree with this point of view to a certain extent. However, unlike many active adult communities, this new development looks like it will be integrated with everything else in Daybreak. It will be without walls and fences to keep the young "whipper snappers" out. Overall, mixing generations in a neighborhood is a good thing. This Active Adult Community is a big step in that direction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mid Jordan TRAX Now Funded

The Federal Transit Administration has announced that it will spend $428.3 million to build the Mid-Jordan TRAX extension that leads to Daybreak. This promise represents 80% of the funding needed to pay for the TRAX extension and will allow it to open by December 2011. UTA has already completed 25% of this line with much of the construction in Daybreak already being finished.

The remaining 20% of the line's cost is provided by a Salt Lake County referendum in 2006 that increased the sales tax a quarter of a cent per dollar. According to UTA, twenty-eight light-rail cars will travel along the 10.6-mile track between 6 a.m. and midnight when the Mid-Jordan line is complete. Trains will arrive at stations every 12 minutes during rush hours and every 15 minutes at remaining times. According to a UTA study the 10.6-mile line is expected to carry 9,500 passengers a day and reduce the number of miles traveled by car by 65,000 daily by the year 2030.

While nothing is actually guaranteed until it is built, this move essentially closes the funding gap that existed earlier and ensures funding for a massive project during a time when government budgets are deep in the red. Daybreak residents will benefit tremendously from this project as will Kennecott Land.