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VOL. 114 | NO. 90 | Tuesday, May 9, 2000

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By LAURIE JOHNSON Vesta 2000 boasts largest homes in events history By LAURIE JOHNSON The Daily News Organizers of this years Vesta home show should consider posting what could prove to be a handy little item at the entrance to each house a map. Otherwise, attendees may resort to dropping breadcrumbs to successfully navigate each castle-size structure on the tour. The six homes comprising the 2000 Vesta Home Show will be the largest in the history of the event ranging in size from 5,500 to 8,300 square feet and in price from $900,000 to $1.6 million. Declaring it "the most impressive Vesta ever," event chairman John Duke recently led members of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, local public officials, participating builders and other home building industry leaders in an official ground breaking for the 2000 Vesta show, scheduled for Oct. 7-22 in the new, estate-style development of Wind Chase Farms in Eads. "These homes are massive," Duke said. "The price and square footage are nearly double that of previous Vesta shows." The Vesta show homes will be the first houses built in Wind Chase Farms, located south of U.S. Highway 64 off Collierville-Arlington Road and developed by Snyder Development, along the lines of a European equestrian theme. One reason the MAHBA chose the Eads development was because it was in an outlying area of Shelby County not yet visited by Vesta, Duke said. "We want to showcase areas where people dont go to all the time." The developments four-acre lots also lent themselves to large, estate-style luxury homes, he said, and the builders who signed up for the event said they interested in constructing homes on such a grand scale. "A lot of it is dictated by whats available. When we have somebody who wants to do it, we try to work it out," Duke said. "The product also dictates who the builders are. You have builders who specialize in large homes and those who specialize in smaller homes, zero lot lines or retirement housing." Five registered builders some of whom are Vesta veterans and others who are participating for the first time have been selected to build the six homes on this years tour. They include Danny Sparkman, Sparkman Home Builders, who will be building two homes in the show, as he did last year; Ron Barkowski, Lamplight Construction; Malcolm Bailey, Arnold Denley Building Co.; Ron Watson, Elite Builders and Snyder Home Builders. Four of the homes have been pre-sold and are being custom built for their owners. Snyder is building the largest home in the show an 8,300-square-foot, $1.6 million mansion with amenities such as a home theater with stadium-style seating. One of Sparkmans homes will be a "Home Depot" house built almost entirely of products supplied through Home Depot. Throughout its 16-year history, Vesta has showcased virtually all sizes and styles of housing. Larger, luxurious offerings such as this years have proven to be crowd pleasers in the past, said Amy Donald, director of special events for MAHBA. After all, she said, most people dont attend the show to buy one of the homes, nor are they necessarily planning to build one like them. Many just want to dream. And this years Vesta promises not to disappoint, event organizers said. "There will be some fun things for people to see," said Duke, a previous Vesta builder who is chairing the event for the second time. All of the homes will be furnished and decorated by area interior designers. And not only will visitors get to see such custom-built "bells and whistles" as home theaters, to-die-for master baths and expertly landscaped swimming pools, they also will be able to see the latest in home construction trends. Some of the homes, for example, will feature "smart house" technology. "For example, if someone rings your doorbell, you can push a button, look at your TV and see whos at the door," Duke said. In addition to entertaining and inspiring home building, renovating and decorating enthusiasts, the Vesta show also provides a number of distinct advantages to builders who participate. "First of all, they get the exposure," said Duke, referring to the coverage provided by local and regional newspapers, magazines and trade publications, not to mention the roughly 30,000 people who actually walk through the home. As a result of the show, many builders also walk away with new business. "Part of the deal with Vesta is, if a builder pre-sells their home for the show, they have the option of purchasing a couple more lots in the development and building homes on them for other buyers," Duke said. "The developer has to set aside two lots, if the builder pre-sells the home, for that purpose." And, despite all the fancy, custom features, Vesta builders do manage to make a profit. "Suppliers give them deals, as well, because its exposure for them, too," Duke said. The Vesta home show, hosted each year by the MAHBA, is expected to draw more than 30,000 visitors this year. The event is one of MAHBAs largest fund-raisers. A portion of the proceeds also goes to charity. This years chosen charity is United Cerebral Palsy. The essential elements of the home show, named for Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home, have been around for 30 years. Vesta metamorphosed into its current incarnation in 1988 to give builders, vendors and decorators associated with MAHBA, as well as the association itself, exposure to the public. Past Vesta locations have included developments such as Bailey Station, Harbor Town, Dogwood Grove, The Cordova Club, Riveredge, Aintree Farms, Almadale Farms, Grove Park, Southwind and Schilling Farms.
PROPERTY SALES 51 180 16,377
MORTGAGES 21 57 10,144
BUILDING PERMITS 103 665 39,209
BANKRUPTCIES 31 107 7,704