Characterized by award-winning Blue Valley schools, easy access to U.S. 69, peaceful green spaces and the latest in new-home luxury, an area in south Overland Park has come to be known as the Golden Mile.
“That area really is golden,” said Landmarketing owner Dan Whitney, who advises bankers, builders, developers and homebuyers on real estate values based on the market research his firm collects. “It’s led the recovery in housing in Kansas City.” Whitney first coined the term the Golden Mile based on the sales figures streaming in from the area. “For three years running the top-performing community has come from within those boundaries,” Whitney said, “and usually the area wins for two of the top five communities in all of Kansas City.”
Key to the locale’s post-recession resurgence is a major investment made by Rodrock Homes, a company connected with a long track record for building and developing in Johnson County.
Decades after his father Darol Rodrock established an entire corridor of neighborhoods stretching along Antioch Road from 123rd to 151st streets, Rodrock Homes’ CEO Brian Rodrock is set on developing his own communities just several miles south. “We feel like it’s the right place and the right time to invest in south Johnson County,” Rodrock said. “This area allows us to offer our homebuyers an unparalleled quality of life.”
Rodrock Homes’ recent acquisitions of both Wyngate, near 159th and Grant, and Summerwood, located just one mile west near Quivira, has been a big factor in the area’s resurgence. Although Wyngate won community of the year back in 2007, home sales languished at a recessionary standstill for years following.
Then Rodrock acquired the neighborhood in late 2010. Following a meeting with Wyngate homeowners, up went new stone entry monuments with shade-bearing pergolas and cascading waterfalls. To encourage gatherings between families and friends, an expanded and furnished pool deck was installed alongside the neighborhood’s clubhouse, sport court and walking trail. Luxurious homes at a value soon followed.
The result? According to Andrea Sullivan, on-site agent for Reece & Nichols Realtors, buyers have closed on nearly 30 homes in Wyngate in the first half of 2012 alone.
Homeowners say the community’s in-neighborhood access to Blue Valley schools, luxurious homes and amenities, and Rodrock Homes’ track record for quality and service were key to their buying decision. “There are a lot of discerning homebuyers out there who have the credit score and wherewithal to buy,” Whitney said. “As a group they’ve held back from the market over the last few years, but now we’re seeing that they’re jumping in big.”
Just this spring, Rodrock Homes gave Golden Mile buyers another reason to jump into the market, this time with its acquisition of Summerwood, just one mile west of Wyngate. And while Summerwood doesn’t have Wyngate’s in-neighborhood schools, it features a different sought-after luxury: super-sized home sites with plenty of green space.
“With over 50 acres of green space but home sites for just 212 residents, Summerwood has a spacious and sanctuary-like feel,” said Rodrock Homes’ Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Reglin. The community also boasts two sections: Summerwood and Summerwood Estates. Combined homes and home site prices in the Summerwood enclave are commensurate with Wyngate and begin in the mid-$400,000s, while prices in Summerwood Estates start around $750,000.
Rodrock Homes’ Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gifford and his team have already put into motion plans for state-of-the-art amenities at Summerwood. A clubhouse, pool, sport-court and walking trail are slated to open in May of next year. “Past developers weren’t able to give this community the attention it deserved because of the recession,” Gifford said, “so now we’re taking action to make Summerwood what its homeowners have known all along it could be — one of southern Johnson County’s most sought-after communities.”
And in both Summerwood and Wyngate, recession-weary buyers are also finding the updated home features they’ve been waiting for. The latest in stone and stucco exteriors, covered porches and decks, expanded master suites with double European showers, and granite countertops with stainless steel appliances come standard on many Rodrock homes.
Possibilities for customizing over 20 of the company’s home plans are virtually endless. Subject to approval, buyers also enjoy the freedom to bring their own plans and builders into both communities. In addition, Rodrock Homes is giving Golden Mile homebuyers the opportunity to take their homes’ interiors to a whole new level.
Thanks to the company’s innovative partnership with Kansas City’s award-winning Twigs’ Interiors, Rodrock clients receive free one-on-one design services from Twigs experts who help clients customize cabinetry, paints and stains, tile, millwork, lighting, upholstery and even furniture to suit their individual tastes. Four furnished model homes built by Rodrock and decorated by Twigs are currently available for viewing at Wyngate, with more showcase homes under way in both Wyngate and Summerwood.
While other developers and builders are scaling down on furnished models and inventory, Wyngate’s model row attests to the fact that Rodrock Homes’ investment within The Golden Mile is only heating up. “We believe in putting our money where our mouth is,” Rodrock said, “and this area is where our buyers want to be.”