Builder gambles on big, green homes
TYLER Jones likes to be different. When the majority of American builders are looking for the ideal money-smart, small house to score sales, this Las Vegas builder is going big, impressive and green in the Nevada desert.
“I have been a custom builder all my life. My dad (Stephen Jones) is a custom builder,” the owner of Blue Heron says in a telephone interview.
“I like to take the opposite approach and build absolutely amazing homes filled with smart technologies.”
The elder Jones was the green-building smarts behind the 2004 New American Home when more than 150,000 builders descended on Las Vegas for the International Home Builders Show. That home used 51 per cent less energy to heat and cool than a similar home in the Nevada desert.
His son, Tyler, designed and built the 2009 New American Home close to the Vegas strip. The home is a top green performer, built with insulated concrete and featuring 56 solar panels, making it a Net-Zero home, which returns power to Nevada’s energy grid.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we are unique and successful because of the green technology,” says the younger Jones.
Last year, the contemporary 9,000-squarefoot home sold before the mammoth show even opened to an investor who spends time in Vegas, says Jones, who declines to name the selling price, but says similar homes in the exclusive community sell for $3.5 million. Jones has 14 half-acre lots in the neighbourhood where Clark Gable and the Sultan of Brunei once lived. The 2009 New American home is across the street from the 51-acre ranch owned by entertainer Wayne Newton.
Despite the economy, the homes are a hit because of the contemporary designs that intimately connect inside and outdoor living spaces.
They have a unique look, says Jones, who two years ago tried to go smaller with a series of 379 affordable condos in the desert.
The economy tanked and it did not make sense, he says. The condos, ranging from 950 to 1,400 square feet, would have had an average price tag of $200,000.
But Las Vegas was hard hit by the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and homes priced at $200,000 are now priced at less than $100,000, he says. He put the plans back on the shelf, and is waiting for buyers to clear through the housing inventory of bank-owned properties.
“The inventory has suppressed prices, so I will concentrate on my nice high-end homes for now.”
Find out more about Tyler Jones and Blue Heron at blueheronliving.com.
— Canwest News Service
Tyler Jones’s homes feature designs that intimately connect inside and outdoor living spaces.