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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.


Anonymous said...

Most "Active Adults" I know want nothing to do with kid-riddled neighborhoods and the noise and commotion that comes with them. That could explain the reasoning behind developing a separate community aimed at them. They can still enjoy the Daybreak amenities and proximity to the Village Center shops without the other issues. I think this is a brilliant idea.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the active adult village might be "age qualified" after all, meaning that there is a requirement that at least 80% of residents be age 55+. I think for the people who are worried about hitting a kid with their car this gives them peace of mind, and for everyone else there's still the rest of Daybreak. It's all good..
Has anyone heard who will be building in there?