When I first met Bob Hoebeke of Hoebeke Builders, Inc. and he explained what he planned to do in his new Farmer’s Branch development, I said, “Bob, you are re-creating Seaside in North Texas without the Beach!”
Little did I know, Seaside and Watercolor are exactly what he had in mind, only for North Texas.
Seaside and WaterColor are two coveted vacation home communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast that are hugely popular with Texans. Seaside, the original, is a poster child, master-planned community along Highway 30-A in the Florida panhandle, a 28.5 mile corridor that hugs the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Northwest Florida’s Walton County. The area takes you back in time to the days when Florida was just a sleepy sand and water state. Here is where the cottages of Seaside were born, planting a standard-setting imprint upon New Urbanism. Consumers snatched up beachy homes and white picket fences, but also completely walkable communities where cars were parked, locked (didn’t have to be) and families could walk to everything.
Beach towns were the first inspiration for strolling urbanism, because what do you do most at the beach? Walk!
Seaside was developed by Robert Davis, whose grandfather purchased 80 acres near Seagrove Beach on Florida’s northwest coast for an employee summer camp. When his business partner wanted no part of the deal, the Smolian family just vacationed there. Robert Davis became an award-winning builder/developer in Miami in the 1970s, not unlike our Bob Hoebeke. He built homes based on his best memories on that coast: sitting on a porch rocker and talking with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Cottages accommodated generations of family members, with deep roof overhangs, ample windows, and cross ventilation in all rooms.
Watercolor, the next development over, was developed by the St. Joe Company as soon as it saw how successful Seaside had been. Now all up and down 30-A are Seaside clones in various communities with similar or different architectural design.
But the point was that these communities were planned and built for family and relaxation. Which is exactly what Hoebeke Properties, LLC is doing in Farmers Branch.
“Our family has vacationed at Seaside and Santa Rosa Beach for years,” says Bob. “It’s a place where children can roam on their bicycles, and neighbors look after each other. Front porches and porch swings bring everyone outside and the pace of life is a little slower there. Numerous hiking and bike trails lend themselves to long walks, or a healthy morning jog.”
That euphoric community, says Bob, is what he plans to replicate at Branch Crossing in Farmers Branch.
Farmers Branch, though only minutes away from Dallas, is almost like a vacation community. It offers everything today’s active buyer wants: greenspace galore, with 29 parks and playgrounds in the city. There are jogging and bike trails that rival those in Seaside, often loaded with kiddos on bikes.
Plano’s sparkling Legacy Town Center is only 18 minute away; DFW International Airport, only 14 minutes away; Dallas Love Field, only 12 minutes away. And catching a game at Victory Park downtown is about 15 minutes – even shorter yet, if you catch the adjacent Dart train!
There is a local Farmers Market for fresh food and produce, there is the Firehouse Theater for evening entertainment. New restaurants are popping up every month, all of them as walkable as those at Seaside. And there are creeks with rocks and footbridges where kids can fish or toss stones.
And if Mama wants a rose garden, Mama gets a rose garden. If she tires of tending it, the City of Farmers Branch has one just across the creek for her to enjoy.
Farmers Branch also has something Seaside does not: money for you. That’s right, we have told you about how much the City of Farmers Branch will pay — yes, I said PAY — homeowners who buy the city’s aged housing stock, tear it down, and build anew through the city’s unique Demo/Rebuild program. (Up to $30,000!) The city offers a cash grant that is based on the value of the home you tear down; the grant edges higher for less expensive homes. Farmers Branch will also offer a discount on property taxes for a certain length of time, depending on how much the difference is between the two homes’ property tax appraisal.
Farmer’s Branch is really more than a taxpayer’s dream: it’s the place to live a vacation life 24/7 right on the other side of Dallas.
“All that’s missing are the porches,” says Bob. “Nothing brings people outdoors quicker than a front porch swing, or a cooking porch!”
Branch Crossing will be getting its first front porch in 2019 – followed by its first cooking porch. I can almost smell the ribs. The community of “Low Country Carolina” style homes will follow.
“Do you crave the opportunity to live in such a community, with fun neighbors, and lots of outdoor living?” asks Bob? “Give us a call to learn more. We would love to be your neighbor!”