By Shannon Keating
April 9, 2012 — Want to live somewhere cutting edge? The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) just released its 2012 awards for builders of 50+ communities, and the list is jam-packed with builders of some of the nation’s most innovative active communities.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, the NAHB is a trade association that helps promote the building industry and develop solutions to its issues.The various groups within it analyze policy issues, conduct consumer research, analyze economic and real estate trends, and in general work toward improving housing.
These awards are the NAHB’s nods to the most exciting, talented and groundbreaking builders in a variety of different categories. The communities tend to be newer and take advantage of the latest trends. In past competitions builders were rewarded for developing more flexible designs, greener/more energy efficient buildings, and better use of technology. In view of the challenging housing market of the past few years, builders have not had much choice but to try to do more with less. Check out some of our favorites among their top picks in the various categories. If you happen to live near or be visiting in one of the areas where these homes are located, we recommend you check them out to see what all the fuss is about:
Best market rate rental goes to Gross Builders for Cambria at Riverwalk in Riverside, California, with one or two bedrooms from the $1,000s. These apartments are resort-style, brand new, and feature amenities like a 7,500 square foot clubhouse, putting greens, fitness center, putting greens, billiards, and more for a generally great value.
The award for best affordable rental was given to South Hills Retirement Residence in Pittsburgh, by BSB Design. South Hills offers comfortable, affordable green living. Utilities are conveniently included in rent. A fitness center, library and hair salon complement apartments designed with the needs of seniors in mind. Second place went to Fiji Senior Villas in Dallas, Texas.
Best for sale community with up to 200 homes was awarded to The Residences at Black Rock in Hingham, Massachusetts. Located in a historic, classic New England community along the Plymouth River, it is made up of 138 residences alongside the Black Rock Country Club among cliffs, woodlands and hills. Amenities in this private, gated community include 2 pools, a clubhouse and paddle tennis courts. The NAHB gave a second award to Meadow Ranch in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
CantaMia in Goodyear, Arizona got the pick for best for-sale community with over 200 homes, courtesy of Avatar Homes. CantaMia is conveniently located close to plenty of shopping, baseball and outdoor recreation. Sustainability and nature are both important parts of CantaMia’s new master plan. A second award went to Traditions of America at Liberty Hill in State College, Pennsylvania.
Best clubhouse of more than 5,000 square feet was awarded to SaddleBrooke Ranch‘s La Hacienda club. Located in the beautiful Sonoran desert, the clubhouse is one of many luxuries: others include pools, creative arts studios, and tennis courts. The country club lifestyle includes a world-class clubhouse. Encanterra – A Trilogy Country Club‘s La Casa in San Tan Valley, Arizona was also awarded.
Best detached home up to 2,100 square feet was given to Meadow Ranch‘s Armstrong House in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which also received an award for best for sale community. Homes are cottage-style in this quaint community that features a windmill and restored 1940s dairy farm. The homes have achieved multiple statuses for excellent standards in green living. The William Penn model at Traditions of America at Liberty Hills received the second award.
Vintage Oaks in New Braunfels, Texas received a nod for best detached home over 2,100 square feet for The Heritage, by Jacobs Homes. Vintage Oaks at the vineyards is a scenic master planned community where you can choose from a variety of different home sites on which to build your own dream home. The Creston at Residences in Black Rock in Hingham, Massachusetts also received an award.
The award for best attached home of over 1,800 square feet was awarded to The Albera at Verona in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Verona is a new 55+ community that aims to provide luxurious but low-maintenance living. There are manors, villas, and options to personalize your own completely unique home. Traditions of America at Silver Spring came in second for The Hamilton.
Coming in at best integration of nature and landscape was NewBridge on the Charles, Hebrew SeniorLife, in Dedham, Massachusetts, which is set on 162 beautiful acres. According to the NAHB: “The sustainable site design spared large swaths of green space trees and shrubs, and every space in the building looks out onto vegetation.” Residents can choose from apartments, cottages or villas, all within easy and unlimited access to cultural, fitness and educational activities. A second award was given to The Woodlands at Belmont Hill in Belmont, Massachusetts.
The award for best green community was the third win for Meadow Ranch in Coeur d’Alene, this time for the Gold option. It is the winner of the Idaho Smart Growth & Green Building Award, and are also built for Energy Start Certification, while also built to the guidelines of the United States Green Building Council. According to a press release from the NAHB, “Its efforts in energy and water conservation, sustainable building techniques and its success in achieving zero water runoff and keeping 95 percent of construction waste out of landfills wowed the judges”. Coming in at second was CantaMia in Goodyear, Arizona.
One of our favorite awards, the best universal design prize was awarded by one winner: Newport Cove in Antioch, Illinois. It features a LIFEhouse design by New American Homes, which has also won numerous other national awards. Located in the community’s cottage section, it is designed to be safe and liveable for any age, for any time frame. We believe baby boomers should be especially interested in universal design because as we age having a home that is easy to navigate and live in is increasingly important.
Lastly, Palisades at Broadmoor Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado swept up best integration of technology. The Palisades has a collaboration with faculty and students from the UCCS Gerontology Center allows residence access to knowledge of the fields of sports science, health and psychology. Coming in at second was Palm Residence in Fayetteville, New York.
Something to consider
Like most awards competitions, this one from The National Association of Homebuilders is slightly self-serving, in that it helps the get publicity for their members and their products. However, it is a good indication when builders care enough to belong to a national organization and submit their work into the competition. And still – an award is an award, right? Meanwhile there are plenty of other awards made by other organizations. For example our competitor, “Retirement Living” Magazine, has given awards to many of the communities mentioned here at Topretirements. “Newsweek” Magazine recently named Lake Weir Living to its special Showcase feature.
For further reference:
Previous 50+ Building Awards from NAHB
Comments: What communities have you run across that seem deserving of an award for innovative designs, amenities, or approaches to community life? Please let us know in the Comments section below.