NEW Podcast: Abbot Lake Planning Session

November 17, 2020

Announcer On the Ideal Podcast, we're talking about our newest neighborhood coming to Moore near Tinker. Also, you'll find out when "T Wow" means and it's not just a nickname. Steve Shoemaker Welcome to the Ideal Podcat from the new home experts at Ideal Homes and Neighborhoods where we discuss trends, home shopper burning questions and all the things about new home construction that you never knew you cared about. This is Steve with Ideal Homes. And today, I'm joined by a couple of my Ideal teammates, no pun intended to do something that we've never done, two things we've never done on the podcast. One is we're going to talk about a specific new home community and do a real deep dive on this upcoming community that we're very excited about. And then the other first is it's the first time I believe we've had three people all talking on the podcast (Erin: we're groundbreaking here.) groundbreaking. So with that, I want to introduce Zack Roach and Erin Yarbrough. How are you guys today? Erin Yarbrough Doing awesome. Zack Roach Doing very well. Thank you. Steve Shoemaker I'm glad you guys are here. And again, it's the first time for the three of us. And so I'm excited about that. And I'm going to tell everybody a brief description of who you are, and why you're here talking about a new home community. But then you guys can tell them more about who you are. So Zack and I have worked together at Ideal Homes for what 16 years? Zack Roach Yeah, coming up on 16. Steve Shoemaker Yeah, we are far too young to have been someplace for 16 years. Yeah, so that I've worked together and Zack is a two-time Ideal homeowner, I always like to point that out.  (Zack: three-time). Three-time, (Zack: yes) three-time Ideal homeowner, what communities have you lived in? Zack Roach I built my first home in Park Hill in Norman. Then I moved across the street into Red Canyon. And because I hate moving far, I then moved about 300 feet away from my second home into my third home and Red Canyon. And so I could almost have taken a wagon and shuttled my belongings between the two homes, but it would have been difficult for the couch. Erin Yarbrough So you're saying Red Canyon is a great community to live in. Steve Shoemaker I will tell I tell this to people all the time because I've moved, I don't five I've lived in for I do home getting ready to build my fifth. It doesn't matter if you're moving 10 miles or one block. It's still (Erin: it's still) a little bit of a thing. (Erin: Yeah.) Zack is our Vice President of Community Development. And he will tell you a little bit more about what he does a minute. And then we're also joined by Erin Yarbrough who is our Director of Marketing at Ideal. (Erin: Hello.) Hello. So Zack, tell everybody a little bit about what you do at Ideal? Zack Roach Well, my job as Vice President of Development is fairly broad. I'm kind of cradle to grave involvement when it comes to development. And so just, in a nutshell, that's taking looking at the raw land. So when it's farmland/agricultural, just raw land that we're investigating about maybe purchasing, looking at that doing the due diligence on that, following up working with a lot of local politics, city councils, planning commissions, city staff, that end of it, working with engineers and contractors, once we identify the land pushing through the zoning process and then working on hiring contractors to work through the paving and drainage, and the sewer and the water, working on layout and design implementation of that. And then we turn it over, hopefully, in a fairly short period of time. A processed lot that the Ideal Homes can put a home on, and then we kind of get the back end of it. So once a home has been built, and there's a homeowner in there, we also have the homeowners associations that fall underneath the development department as well. So literally, the first blade of grass that we move all the way till we're completely done with the development on the back end. We have some sort of development involvement on our end, and I have a direct team and all that. Steve Shoemaker Okay, so just for the listeners of this podcast, Zack, how many things were on your development checklist? Because you're a nerd, you have a big spreadsheet and checklist, how many things does it are on your checklist for a community to come out of the ground? Zack Roach Each community, depending on the neighborhood, each community has somewhere between 232 and 251 steps that we have to complete and at any given time we've got between 20 and 30 communities going on. So it's a lot of plate spending to make sure that we don't forget to do something and with all the possibilities for that to happen, it is a foregone conclusion that we're gonna so we just try to stay on top of it as much as possible with that checklist. Steve Shoemaker All right, Erin, tell everybody a little bit about you. Erin Yarbrough Sure. I'm a two-time Ideal homeowner but I have not worked here for 16 years, unfortunately. I've worked here for about two months so. (Steve: Welcome!) I know. (Zack: Both ends of the spectrum.) At a company where everyone's worked here at least like 10 years, I feel like it's kind of interesting to be on the, on the younger side of that, as far as a career goes here. So I'm excited to be at Ideal Homes and Neighborhoods, I love this company, I love, we've loved our building processes. And so I handle the marketing for Ideal Homes and Neighborhoods. And we work on a lot of signage, and a little lot of digital advertising, work a lot with realtors, and customers who are, you know, trying to get more information about homes before they walk into one of our model homes and things like that. So we love working with our buyers and with the entire community as part of my role. Steve Shoemaker Well, very good. So a few episodes ago, Julie and I talked about where street names come from. So we talked a little bit about our neighborhood naming and theming. And where street names come from, because oddly enough, that is a question I get all the time from people, when they find out where I work. They're like, who comes up with these street names. And so we did, you can go back and listen to that entire episode. And then Trish who works closely and Zack and his department, we did an episode on the butterfly gardens and the partnerships that your department have. And so, you know, you want to play some catch-up. Those are great episodes to listen to. But I wanted to talk today specifically about a new community we have coming up called Abbot Lake. And we are extremely excited about it. It is in the Moore School District. And Zack talked about his long checklist and that there's this upfront part where we try to decide where are we going to build a new home community. And we kind of do this checklist of what school district is it in? What is its proximity to major commuter routes and employment opportunities? What's it close to? And Zack, would you agree about like checks all the boxes? Zack Roach Oh, absolutely. Steve, it's close to major thoroughfare Sooner Road and I-240 very easy access to Tinker Air Force Base. You know, we kind of we look at stuff just to get a little bit deeper into that. We have a 15-minute rule of development, which is people are going to travel each shop dine with about 15 minutes away from where they live. And so that 15 minutes can be a sphere that's three or four miles or if you're close to large interstates, major thoroughfares that can be 10 or 20 miles and Abbot Lake absolutely fits that larger into the scale, large footprint of shopping and dining. that's available given where it is and location in the city. Steve Shoemaker Yeah, so you mentioned it's close to I-240. and Tinker, and it's extremely close to some major employers Boeing, we have a lot of our homebuyers that live in Norman that work at Tinker and Boeing. And in terms of proximity, this is even closer. So I anticipate pretty big interest from those places of employment. And like you said, you can get be downtown Oklahoma City in 15 minutes, you can be in Norman in 15 minutes. It's a great location. So pretty exciting. Erin Yarbrough And I drove it the ... Steve Shoemaker Erin, what struck you about it? Erin Yarbrough Well, I drove it the other day, and it was 10 minutes to Tinker. It was five minutes to I-240. So I know we've already talked about that. But when we say close, we really do we really close. We're not just saying that, you know, I think that one of the things that I love about it is that it's in an area that's growing and like you said, Steve, a lot of employers around that area. But also as far as families go, this neighborhood is going to have some amenities that are just beautiful, the land out there that Zack's team is developing. It's just beautiful right now, and I'm excited to see what those homes look like. It's also in a really secluded area kind of of the city, which is nice, because even though it's so close to everything, you know, there are there's a huge pond out there. There are lots of kind of nature areas out there, there will be some I'm not going to steal Zack's thunder as far as what the amenities are, but, but there are lots of areas to enjoy that green space. And so as far as a mom with two boys who, especially during COVID can't sit inside and play video games all day. I mean, they would like to but I you know, need them to get out. It's kind of a perfect area. Steve Shoemaker Yeah. Well, Zack, what was compelling to you about it, besides the obvious which it's got a lake in it? Zack Roach Well, I there's, you know, checking all the boxes. I think you mentioned that proximity to Sooner Road, proximity to I-240 just the ease to get there. But just to get a little nerdy on the land. That's a beautiful piece of land. And I agree with Erin on that, as I was looking at that. There is a massive pond that was there when we bought the property, and we're going to do our best to just leave that thing alone as much as possible. There are trees around it. There's wildlife, there's nature. And you know, after years in this business, some of the best amenities that we do is when we have the least impact. And so my plan is to, you know, do some lemon, do some pruning. But to leave that alone, as much as I can wrap that with a walking trail that's going to provide easy access, pedestrian access, throughout the middle of that neighborhood, there'll be a long spine that will be easily accessible. You know, we've got a rule of thumb that we use when we do developments about called the quarter-mile rule, we try and make it to where no, no home in that neighborhood is ever further away than about a quarter of a mile from some amenity from some walking trail. And this neighborhood will absolutely fit that same rule. Steve Shoemaker You know what people take that for granted? (Erin: Yeah) Have you ever visited somebody and you've gone to like the park in their neighborhood or whatever, and you had to get in your car and drive a mile? (Erin: Drive there) So there's lots of little things just because you've done so much of this that people take for granted? Like, like that quarter-mile rule, the 15-minute rule, you know, where people go diamond shop, those types of things? And then okay, I'm adding it up between the three of us ... three, four, five, six, seven ... we have eight kids between the three of us, right? Is that right? (Zack: I have a three, yes) (Erin: Yes) I'm not so good at math, I'm trying to do my best.  (Erin: Yes, that's right) The thing I liked about what you said you're gonna leave the kind of the nature part alone is, you know, with kids, especially little ones when you go to a park that has like swings and a slide. And you know, you take them there to play. And then you turn around and what they're doing is they've got a stick and they're slapping the water with it. (Erin: Oh yeah, my boys) Or they're throwing stuff, climbing a tree ... Erin Yarbrough My boys were playing in the pond last night. They were hitting a baseball into the pond and then waiting for it to come back to them. Steve Shoemaker Yeah, so I think that's cool. And while people are listening, get on Google Maps, and go to Sooner Road and SE 89th in Moore, and then go east. And you'll see a pond, it kind of dead ends there on SE 89th. And just to the north of that is Abbot Lake, that's under construction right now. I hope I said that correctly. Right, Zack? Zack Roach Yeah, end of 89th street, go east about a half a mile there you are. Erin Yarbrough The other thing I love about that property is that the pond is smack dab in the middle of what that neighborhood will look like in the end. I mean, it really is, you know, when you're talking about proximity to homesites, I mean, that pond is central to that neighborhood. Zack Roach What I'd like to touch on something you guys are bringing up though, because this kind of leads into my next segment about what will, we'll also be out there you know, we're going to have a beautiful natural pond we're also going to have a park/playground area, splash pad, pavilion, soccer field, ball fields. And I think that you know, when we approach looking at neighborhoods, we try and have two types of playground amenities we try and have what I call the manicured playground amenities, which is your traditional swing sets and slides and splash pads, you can go there and have fun and have a great time. But then we also have more natural play areas. I always crack up, my kids live in a neighborhood called Red Canyon Ranch, you know, we have amazing hundred thousand dollar playground that they love to go play on. But man, they have just as much fun like Erin, like you said, going and splash around in the creek and picking up crawdads and playing with the fish. The thing that I know that that does,  we're members of an organization called the National Recreation and Parks Association. And kids who have the ability to get a little bit dirty, to go have that imaginative play, the unstructured play where we don't have rules saying "hey, you can't do this can't do that." But we want you to get in once you play, you know, in the wildlife and nature that does two things. One that helps those kids when it comes to imaginative play that fires off centers in their brain that that allows them to be creative and fosters that creativity and to it builds into them an appreciation for nature because they're close to it and our neighborhoods, they get to see the importance of seeing those redwing blackbirds and seeing the fish of seeing the of the crawdads and the turtles, and the frogs and all of that it builds on itself going forward. So when they make informed decisions later on in life, hopefully, that's something that it's a priority for them. Steve Shoemaker Well, I appreciate that because of the intention that goes into it. I think a lot of people just think about their, the place they live and wonder what kind of thought was put into it. And so I like the intentionality that you have and thinking about it. And, and it's not just kids to there's this retired couple that lives in my neighborhood. And I always see him posting pictures on Facebook of the wildlife in the neighborhood or the beaver swimming in the pond or you know, the turtle sleeping on a rock or whatever. So it's just, it's funny. I think everybody has an appreciation for that, and it's easy to take it for granted. I've been in neighborhoods before where there's this natural pond or whatever, and the developer will just use it as a detention pond kind of buried off of the fence around it. And so I appreciate how you guys just as a homeowner incorporated communities? Erin Yarbrough Well, when we talk about kind of this inspiration, one of the things that I always you know, going back to Steve's kind of comment earlier about road names, street names and things like that, I'd love to know from you two a little bit more about the inspiration because I think this is maybe my favorite story about Abbot Lake. Steve Shoemaker If you know, you know, people will, I think kind of mock us a little bit, but we talked about Julie and I did, that Zack will have kind of a theming meeting, right. So we'll have acquired a new piece of dirt that we're going to turn into a beautiful Ideal neighborhood. And it'll be all mapped out. And so Zack will sit us down. Right, Zack? So talk about that meeting and what you have us do with those meetings? Zack Roach Sure. Well, one of the things that we try and do, we've learned a lot of lessons over there and failed forward a lot as we like to say. One of the things that's important for us is we got to start with the end in mind. There's a lot of engineering assumptions that have to happen in terms of dirt-work and creating, doing simple stuff like, is a place going to be flat enough to be able to have a park or a playground on it. And so in the meetings that Steve and I, that Steve was talking about, we sit down with Mark and we go okay two things. What is our theme? What what is the kind of running thing that we're using to govern the decisions that we make around this development? How are we going to have kind of an echo of this theme throughout the development and be intentional about creating that echo, as we go through there? And then two knowing that, that we have this theme now, how can we craft the amenities, craft the things that we're discussing, to fit in well into that development, and so that they nest in there, it feels natural, it doesn't feel like we've just bolted something on, but we're taking that time again, to be intentional to craft the position craft the placement, so have it like was no different. We sat down upfront, I got the marketing department in my department together. And we started tossing out ideas about how do we envision into reality this development? What is that going to look like? Steve, I'll let you just hit where we got on this. Steve Shoemaker Well several years ago, you know, we try to envision the future, right? We try to envision who's going to live there and how they're going to enjoy it. And just the lives that our homeowners live, I mean, half of our homebuyers are first-time homebuyers and this community will be no different. And that's a big deal. Right? I mean, everybody remembers their first home. And even if it's not their dream home, if they own three or four homes down the road, I tell the story all the time, when we moved out of our first home. My wife got kind of emotional, and it wasn't because, you know, we were leaving a dream home. But it was because of what happened while we lived in that home. Kids' first steps, the memories, all of those things. And so there's this emotional tie to and we recognize that and we want the community to be an extension of the home. We don't just tell people all the time. We don't just build homes, we build homes and neighborhoods. So with that, we try to think of like a movie or something that we can kind of themed around or TV show so like Native Plains was  Dances with Wolves, Skyline Trails in Mustang was Father of the Bride kind of thinking about the anticipation of the future and excitement of new beginnings. And for whatever reason, we talked about Abbot Lake having that, that beautiful lake in the middle of that what you're going to preserve the that we talked about, kind of what that landscape would look like. Okay, this is where y'all are gonna mock me. The image of Dawson's Creek popped into our head. Erin is laughing hysterically. Zack Roach As did the theme song. Erin Yarbrough I was gonna say like, somebody probably busted out the theme song during that meeting. Steve Shoemaker Yeah, maybe we'll edit that over. Who knows? But that is Dawson's Creek. So for those of you, actually believe it's streaming on Netflix now. Maybe I'm wrong? I don't know. (Erin: I think you're right.) You can go watch Dawson's Creek. I know. Erin, where you team Pacey ... (Erin: I'm Team Dawson.) Okay. So watch the introduction to Dawson's Creek. And that's the vision you know, kind of a wholesome, idealistic view of just people being together outdoors, friends doing things together, and multi-generations doing things together. If you think about it, because that's something that you see a lot of not just, you know, the kid the parent, but the grandparent as well. And so, for some reason, that was kind of the theme. And the idea we used around Abbot Lake was think of that intro to Dawson's Creek, and the visuals that go along with that, you know that the grasses that were along the creek and the dock, and you know, the ropes, so we kind of gave it that thing. But that was definitely one that people made fun of me. And I had to say, I did not watch all of Dawson's Creek, I want that to be clear. Erin Yarbrough Hey, there is no shame Steve. (Zack: Yeah, right) It is okay to watch Dawson's Creek, I'm not gonna lie, I did have to watch it and secretly in my parent's bedroom because they wouldn't let me watch it when I was younger. So I'm gonna have to go back and watch the entire series all over again before we released the first homesites in Abbot Lake. Steve Shoemaker That sounds like a whole episode to figure out what the content would have to go back and watch Dawson's Creek to figure out why weren't allowed to watch that. (Erin: That's awesome.) So that was the theming around it. And, you know, as we consider the name of the community, and that theme that just kind of gives us a springboard for talking about the amenities in the community. The visuals, you know, and one of the things we ask ourselves is, how do we want people to feel when they drive into their new home community? What do we want them to feel? So Zack taught me something several years ago called the T Wow. (Zack: Yeah.) Can you explain what the heck a T Wow is? Zack Roach Sure, and I've gotta update my reference here because as a child of the 80s, this is the one that stuck in my head. So help me Erin help me Steve update my reference. But you guys, remember, if you've ever been to Universal Studios, back in the day, they have a train, like one of those movie trains and they take you through movie scene. So when I was a kid, it was King Kong, you know, and that, you know, he was scary, you know, train. And the thing about that, though, that the reason that ties in with what we're talking about is is that, on that train, they were you were looking where they wanted you to look. So you didn't have an option to get off that train. You had to keep your eye foward. And there was King Kong and there he was tearing down the building and, and that's what you saw. And so, developers we use a tool kind of like that. We do layouts on developments. I work with a guy named Richard McKown, who does all of our layouts. He is the world's best in my opinion at helping create street scenes when we drive in. And what we want to do is we want when we come in, we want that perspective potential homebuyer to see. To see those amenities upfront, we want the blood pressure to come down. We want it to have a sense of arrival, we want to wrap that entryway with green vegetation and flowers and make it feel really good. And then we want to have an amenity that's upfront, right, that hits you right as you come in the door. And so Abbot Lake will be no different. There'll be a couple of things going on. When you hit that first entrance off the south side on 89th Street, that pond will be the primary one that you see, you won't be able to miss it, it will take up almost your entire field of vision on the right or east side as you drive in, because it's just a giant pot with a bunch of natural trees that are going to be beautiful. And that's going to be one of those T Wows that you see as you drive in the neighborhood.   Steve Shoemaker T Wow. I like it. Erin, your first week, you know, I introduced you (Erin: It's true. Yeah) to the T Wow in a couple of our communities. Zack Roach And if this development career doesn't work out for me, it might be my rap name. I don't know. I'm just throwing some ... Erin Yarbrough Yes, I'm gonna start calling you that actually. Steve Shoemaker Yup, Zack just got a new forever nickname here at Ideal Homes, T Wow. Erin Yarbrough Can I ask you guys? How many, can we talk about timing a little bit? And then how many homesites maybe in our first section? What are we looking for as far as when our homebuyers will be able to start purchasing homesites or start building custom homes at least within the neighborhood? Steve Shoemaker Okay, so Zack, first of all, how many homesites total talk about the master plan. Zack Roach Man, I should have looked that up on here. I think it's 360 something is all preliminary plat Steve Shoemaker And the first opening? (Zack: Mid 60s.) Okay. So 60 homesites and Santa Claus is going to bring them from the land development department just in time for Christmas. If I if your report I looked at this morning is accurate, right? December 15ish? Erin Yarbrough That's right. Are we still on target? Zack Roach As you know, Steve, I would never be inaccurate. Steve Shoemaker Here comes the disclaimer. Whenever you ask a developer about timelines the disclaimers are flying but I'm here to tell you that we are going to have some founding homeowners in Abbot Lake by the first of next year as we say adios to this year. So super excited homes ranging from 1000 square feet to 2200. (Erin: Yes) You can check out the floor plans online in some of our other communities and see what's going to be offered. But not only do we have a whip-smart development department, but we also have a web smart product development department. And you have to see some of the new elevations that they have developed over the last couple of years. Some farmhouse, modern mountain, Craftsman, modern plans. There's some stuff out there that looks absolutely amazing. So ... Erin Yarbrough I totally agree I think, you know, if you drive through some of our, you know, existing neighborhoods, and then once Abbot Lake comes online, I mean, some of these homes like some of them are fully front stained cedar and Craftsman pillars and columns. And it's just a totally different look than I think that we've seen in this region before mixing these really exciting elevations together. So I'm excited to see this neighborhood come together and see what our buyers start choosing. Steve Shoemaker Yeah, me too, in a lot of what a lot of the trends are coming from what's popular among our buyers. And, you know, half of our buyers build from choose their homesite built from the ground up. I'm sure the lake, homesites are going to be the first to go they always are. And they're going to be some beautiful homes there. So I'm excited about it. And Zack, thank you for coming on today. In this episode you telling us about Abbot Lake and for all the work you do, we're excited to see it come out of the ground. Don't be a Grinch that Abbot Lake us by Christmas. Erin Yarbrough I'll also say to all of our listeners here that we're building a list of customers who are excited about, this community so that we can get them on the priority list to start grabbing those, especially those really premier home sites much faster than somebody who's just kind of walking off the street. So we'd love to communicate with our listeners who might be interested in this community. Steve Shoemaker Yep, absolutely. So with that, T Wow thank you, Erin. Welcome. Thank you. I want all of our listeners to go to our Facebook page and just, you know, comment on if you're team Dawson or team Pacey. Watch the opening of Dawson's Creek and see our vision and just go to our website to look at all of our homes to learn more about our sustainability and our development in our building, where we build how we build it. And look at all the options out there. This was a lot of fun. Thanks, Erin. Thanks, Zack. Erin Yarbrough Thank you. Bye.
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