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High-density housing development looks to connect residents to nature

Owen Silos wants buyers and renters for single-family homes

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Work began earlier this year on a multiphase high-density housing development in southwest Springfield for which the developer has a goal of building community outdoors.

Following a January groundbreaking, foundations have been poured and construction is in progress on the first eight of what will eventually be 84 homes at Owen Silos.

Developer Brad King said the resort-style subdivision, northeast of Rivercut Golf Course off South Farm Road 139, will include space-efficient houses designed to occupy a small footprint with a trio of planned designs. The homes, which are outside Springfield city limits, will have two-, three- and four-bedroom options and 2.5 baths, with square footage ranging 1,500-2,000.

All properties will include a two-car tandem garage and an exterior maintenance program, including lawn care, according to officials.

“The reason why we have a tandem garage on it is because our lots are 35 feet wide by 80 feet deep, so you’re very limited on the width of the building,” King said. “The two-car tandem garage allows us to still have two cars, and I put a garage door in the back and a garage door in the front with an alley in the backside, so that way you can get a vehicle out the back or out the front. So, if you’re parked together, you can still exit if you want to.”

The 2,800-square-foot lot sizes are far below the state and local averages, according to data from home services company Angi Inc. (NASDAQ: ANGI) and the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors. The median lot size for single-family houses in Missouri was 13,068 square feet in 2022 – the most recent year available – while the average in 2023 for single-family homes sold in Springfield was roughly 10,628 square feet.

With the 34-acre property owned by King via Streamlined Acquisitions LLC, he is constructing the houses through his custom home building company, King Built Properties LLC. The homes will be built on roughly 17 acres as the remainder of the property is in a floodplain.

“As far as the size of the buildings, the eight homes under construction currently are all the exact same size, exact same footprint. They just have different facades,” he said, referring to the rustic-style Bennett, colonial-style Glasford and the craftsman-style Hudson.

King is teaming with Graddy Real Estate LLC, an agency with Keller Williams Greater Springfield. Real estate agent Adam Graddy said home prices at Owen Silos start at $340,000. However, the development also is available for renters, with rent starting at $2,500. No top prices have been established, King said.

“It is a very, very unique concept,” King said of the cluster development. “We’re trying to figure out ways to shrink the footprint to make a house more affordable. That all starts with the land.”

Randall Whitman, principal planner with the city of Springfield, said via email his office doesn’t have specific data on the number of single-family homes within cluster developments in the city, noting “it’s a fairly unique development type and there are many variables to consider.”

He said pocket neighborhoods, which typically are a small number of houses grouped around a shared space, such as a courtyard, are different than a cluster development and may be pursued via a special zoning district.

GSBOR officials said the average sold price for new construction of single-family residential homes in Springfield in 2023 was $176 per square foot, which equates to $352,000 for a 2,000-square-foot house.

Developing a vision
Declining to disclose his investment in the project, King said he envisioned it years ago as a concept to be connected to the outdoors. Aside from its proximity to Rivercut, the property provides access to the Ward Branch Greenway Trail and is nearby the James River.

“We imagine people who are going to live here, who love the outdoors, are going to have a kayak in their storage space and they’re going to put in at the river,” he said.

Noting he didn’t want to develop a cookie-cutter multifamily housing development, King saw an opportunity to connect residents to nature while still being near city amenities.

“This is a challenge no matter if it’s Springfield, Missouri, or if it’s Chicago or if it’s Nashville or if it’s Atlanta,” he said. “All of us builders and developers are trying to figure out ways to provide housing to people that’s affordable and yet still creative because we want it to look good. That’s my background of building these high-end custom houses.”

Jeff Kester, GSBOR’s CEO, said every city, including Springfield, should look at creative ideas for building housing stock.

“With regard to land prices, people are learning that they don’t have to have as much square footage in many cases,” he said. “That’s both on the consumer side, in terms of affordability and function, but also on the city side where maybe building out that large public works infrastructure for single-family house construction isn’t the kind of efficiency that a municipality needs.”

Kester said a development like Owen Silos could be part of a cultural transition away from ranch-style homes with large, fenced yards.

“This could become a much more common thing,” he said.

Leah Ingalsbe, executive vice president of MLS and technology at GSBOR, said the most recent Southern Missouri Regional MLS data indicated the Springfield metropolitan area had about a month and a half of active housing inventory. The total increases to just under three months when factoring in active and pending sales.

However, she said housing inventory in 2023 was on the rise locally, increasing 14.2% compared to 2022.

The first phase of Owen Silos will comprise 42 homes, King said, adding the goal is to finish it by 2026. A second phase will complete the development with an undetermined timeline.

The website for the development promotes outdoor amenities, such as a private trail system, community fire pits, a gathering center, pool, orchard and garden.

“In phase one, we’ve decided to do the trail system, the shared gardens, the fire pits and that’s it,” he said. “Then if the market bears and this thing continues to go, our hope is sometime by the end of phase one, early phase two, that we’re able to support the pool and the community center.”

Something new
Graddy said his real estate team has worked with King through King Built Properties for years on other speculative developments. Other current projects include Valley Trail in Republic and Southernview Estates in Ozark, according to officials.

“I’m excited to bring something new to Springfield. The concepts that he’s discussing are what people want,” Graddy said.

“Nobody else is doing it yet. But you see these large-scale, multibuilding developments going up everywhere, these apartment complexes.”

While not singling out any multifamily projects, Graddy said apartments seem to be in constant development in and around Springfield. While the property management companies promote amenities, he said it’s not the same as what Owen Silos promises.

“We see the rents that they’re paying. They’re still parking outside; they’re still walking upstairs; they’re still getting on an elevator,” he said. “They’re still in a building, and we’re giving them four walls of their own. They’re not connected to anybody else. This is kind of a full-blown single-family neighborhood and high-density living.”

Diversifying housing choices is among goals promoted through Springfield’s Forward SGF comprehensive plan. A Springfield housing study released in December noted the local homeownership rate was 42% of its census-reported 79,100 households.

All the homes, save for a few that will be rented out as fully furnished, will be available for sale, rent or lease purchase, King said.

Graddy said there have been a few inquiries, but none of the houses have sold yet.

“It’s only been two weeks or so, but we’ve had some decent bites so far,” he said in late February. “It’s the Show Me State, right? They want to see something besides the foundation.”

King said a model house will be finished by May.

“We should be accepting renters or buyers by June,” he said of the estimated period for first move-ins.

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