<i>Modern Amenities Suit Empty Nesters, Young Professionals</i>

Contributing Editor

BRISTOL DEVELOPERS: Kathie Hannagan and Dean Nunneley are developing Bristol Ponds in Broken Arrow, a neighborhood with 65 houses on a 15-acre site ranging in size from 1,500-2,500 square feet and prices from $190,000 to $250,000. The buyer will enjoy a home with luxury and efficiency.

GTR Newspapers photo

Niche marketing for real estate has probably existed since the caveman with two sabretooth tiger rugs tried to get a larger cave than his neighbor, who only had one rug. Certainly, over the decades, mansions were not built in the low-rent district and tenements didn’t appear in the more fashionable parts of town.
Many of the two-bedroom houses in the Brookside area were thrown up right after World War II to take care of returning servicemen, their wives and small families.

In that regard Bristol Ponds, just west of Elm Street (161st East Avenue) and East 87th Street in Broken Arrow is part of a proud tradition. This time, however, it is not youth that is being served so much as departed youth. Bristol Ponds aims primarily for the empty-nester, who is used to the better things in life but wants to downsize a bit. It is also looking for young professionals just starting out who may not be ready for a big house. With 65 houses on a 15-acre site ranging in size from 1,500-2,500 square feet and prices from $190,000 to $250,000, the target buyer will get luxury in a house that will be relatively easy to care for. Even the lawn mowing is included in a $100 a month homeowners association fee.

Developers Dean Nunneley and Kathie Hannagan, operating under the corporate name of Signature Properties, recently described how the development, which now has some completed homes for sale, came about.

“We bought the property a couple of years ago,” said Hannagan, “and had to get all the permits and put in the infrastructure such as streets. That took six to eight months.”

“Then,” said Nunneley, “we sought out builders who shared our views on the project. There has to be a certain uniformity to the development and we had to approve their plans to make sure we were all aboard the same train.

“We obviously addressed the needs of our target buyer. Real estate has its fads just like any market. I bought a house one time that had a lot of wrought iron in it. At that time wrought iron was considered old-fashioned so I replaced it with wood at considerable expense. Now wrought iron is all the rage.”

The new houses reflect changes in taste that have occurred over the last few years. Take the kitchen! Once the kitchen was carefully hidden behind doors keeping the messy dishes from the prying eyes of visitors. Now it is often the star of the house, looking out into what is now called the great room or family room but was known in prior years as the living room.

The ceilings at Signature Properties, as they do in many of the newer homes in the area, achieve a height of nine feet, except in those places like the family room where a vaulted look is favored. Since the kitchen has been brought into polite society such mundane things as the stove hood have gone from tinny mini-roofs designed to waft odors and smoke outside to works of art.

Closets have changed over the years. The walk-in closets of master bedrooms sometimes dwarf in square footage the living rooms of yore, and where once a showerhead was placed above the tub now the shower gets its own special place.

Routinely carpet was nailed to concrete slab. At Bristol Ponds, three-quarter inch wood serves as the floor.

White is still popular in kitchen appliances, but stainless steel is also fashionable. Kitchens with the darlings of previous times—think Harvest Gold or Avocado Green—are often dismissed as being simply dated.

And ceiling fans, once banished to the porch, are found in almost every room.

Basements and attics, once standard, are now rare. “We have put a floored attic in some of our houses,” said Nunnelly. “The people who will buy our houses have a lifetime collection of things they’ll want to be able to get to easily, so we have a permanent (not a pull-down) staircase to a room that is simply floored to take the overflow. Of course, that area can be finished into a room later if the owner desires.

In short, Signature Properties has tried to put in all the bells and whistles that will appeal to a modern upscale retiree.

In other parts of the greater Tulsa area other niches are being served.
We’ll report on those later.

David Jones is an associate with Prudential-Detrick Realty. He can be reached at 381-2345.

Updated 01-23-2007

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