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VOL. 127 | NO. 199 | Thursday, October 11, 2012

Early Results: Vesta Exceeds Expectations

By Sarah Baker

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Don Glays, executive director of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, has three words to describe how the past few days of the Vesta Home Show have performed:

Company d, a performing arts troupe for young adults sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South, performs at this year's Vesta Home Show Preview Party at St. James Place in Germantown. DSA Memphis is managing all the Vesta volunteers throughout the show, and in return, the Memphis Area Home Builders Association will be donating a dollar from each general admission ticket to the nonprofit advocacy group. (Photo: Courtesy of the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South)

“Beyond our expectations.”

The Vesta Home Show kicked off Saturday, Oct. 6, and continues through Oct. 28 at St. James Place, a gated, 12-lot subdivision on Forest Hill Irene Road in Germantown.

The association hosts the event to showcase premier builders, products and technologies for the building industry. The five builders participating in the 2012 show are Phil Bryce with Bryce Homes, Jon Ruch with Ruch Builders, Dave Moore with The Dave Moore Cos., Darin Halford with Darin K. Halford, and Dave Tucker with D & D Custom Homes.

Glays said 2,500 people came through in two days. The goal is to reach 25,000 visitors by the end of the month.

“The crowds have been fabulous,” Glays said. “In spite of the rain on Saturday, we didn’t slow down one bit.”

The association hasn’t had a Vesta Home Show since 2010 due to a consortium falling apart at the last minute last year. This year, the local trade organization is able to put on the five-home show through a partnership with Community Bank of North Mississippi.

Less than a week into its first show in two years, three of the five houses have sold. And Glays said one of the builders is reviewing a contract on the fourth house.

The houses, starting at 4,500 square feet, are on one-acre lots and range between $675,000 and $750,000. That speaks volumes about the market and where it’s heading, Glays said, especially in Germantown.

“It’s a tribute to the builders who really took a risk,” he said. “They put it all on the line back in March when nobody knew where the market was going to head, and here we are with a fabulous show, the subdivision looks great, people are excited.”

The Vesta is also an outlet for Memphis Area Home Builders Association members to tout their ability to develop sustainable, energy-efficient and affordable homes.

Each of the five Certified Green Professional Registered Builders participating in the show built their own individual design meeting the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division EcoBUILD requirements. EcoBUILD delivers 30 percent average energy savings on electric and natural gas compared to homes built to typical practices and codes.

This year’s Vesta also includes the first-ever home that is heated and cooled with geothermal heat pump technology, produced by Ruch Builders and Engineered Comfort Inc.

“With this geothermal system together with a tight thermal envelope, the projected energy bill is $120 per month,” Ruch said of his 5,100-square-foot home in St. James Place that has already sold. “That is about $0.02 per square foot. This was a key part of the purchaser’s decision to buy the home.”

But the houses don’t stop at energy efficiency. Each of the five homes display trendy design concepts, appliances and furniture. One of the participating furniture companies is Chestnut Hall of Germantown.

Michael Baty, co-owner of the shop, said business has seen increased sales over the past two years, which correlates with real estate market trends.

“The show just started last Friday, so ostensibly, three of the homes were pre-sales. That’s a microcosm, I think, of what’s going on in the industry as a whole,” Baty said.

“We are seeing more traffic in our store that emanates from people moving to new homes or pre-existing homes.”

In addition, the 2012 Vesta Home Show marks a new partnership with the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South. DSA Memphis is managing all the Vesta volunteers throughout the show, and MAHBA will be donating a dollar from each general admission ticket sold to the Down Syndrome Association.

“Both groups are nonprofits and this partnership is helping us reach new audiences,” said Kelli Polatty, communications manager for Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South. “Our involvement in the Vesta Home Show has provided a significant opportunity to not only raise Down syndrome awareness … but also to raise new funding for programs such as Education Connection, New Parent Outreach, Kids on the Block, and others.”

The St. James Place subdivision is on Forest Hill Irene Road, between Poplar Pike and Winchester Road. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Adult general admission is $12, with discounts for children and seniors. General admission tickets can be purchased online at www.vestahomeshow.com or on Facebook.com/VestaHomeShowMemphis.

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