Two minus four equals two. Hail to the duplex and Villa Diamante

Being flexible with your product. Every now and then a good piece of property comes along that needs a little imagination. Such was the case with a project we designed in Jupiter on a little over 3 acres of land. The layout was originally platted as odd ball sized single family lots on Old Jupiter Beach Road. The seller worked with us as we studied potential product types since zoning was a bit tricky. Then it hit me.

Why not take two of our best-selling town homes, which happened to be the end units of a four dwelling building and make them into duplexes, or as our marketing company calls them- twin villas. That sounds better. Shazam! It was done after a little tweaking here and there and a new product line was invented.

Perfect fit for upscale two-unit townhomes, twin villas or duplexes or whatever you want to call them. Putting two best sellers together was just part of the story. First, our larger lots allowed for bigger front and rear yards. Second, the location was centrally located in an upscale neighborhood in East Jupiter on a quiet street. Finally, one residence had the master bedroom downstairs and the other home had the master bedroom upstairs. Excellent market coverage. These were definitely upscale and had the capability to install small pools in their enlarged back yards.

Product specifics- Villa Diamante had one Floorplan consisting of a 3 bedroom 3 ½ bath home at around 2162 square feet with a master bedroom on the first floor. The other Floorplan which is slightly bigger at 2182 square feet is a 4 bedroom 3 ½ bath home with 3 bedrooms up (including the master) and one regular bedroom/study on the first floor. The project also featured two decorated models exquisitely done by Kay Green designs of Winter Park, Florida. Kay and I go back 20 years and I attend all her seminars at the International Builders Show at the beginning of every year. She is largely responsible for our success.

How do you design a successful Twin Villa? There is no one method and it depends entirely on your buyer. Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • 1- Twin villas can be designed at nearly any size. Thirty years ago, when I visited the Southern California residential marketplace, we toured a site that on first observation appeared like mansion after mansion on large lots. Upon closer evaluation and going through the models it turns out that these were 4000 sq. feet each twin villas designed to resemble one large home. One set of driveways was on the side of the house and the other was directly in front. Front doors were well disguised and landscaping nailed the illusion.
  • 2- Twin villas are a staple for retirement communities (55 and over) like Del Webb, Minto and Shea homes. These are inexpensive single-story residences with two car garages and clever floorplans. These are snapped up generally by two and even three home owners that use these homes on a limited basis. Everyday single home owners also live in them every day.
  • 3- Then there are the Villa Diamante’s of the world that specialize in townhome like villas. With a master bedroom down plan and a Master bedroom up plan all bases are covered. This product for us met a special need for the land configuration and its underlying zoning and land use. But more importantly, it filled a market need. Our first inclination was single family detached but as we got into our due diligence and design, we discovered a better opportunity. Such is the way of real estate development.

Stephen Gravett has been a real estate developer for over 45 years and was most recently CEO of Kennedy Homes for the past 11 years and is still CEO of Kennedy Development Partners (KDP). He is also full time Director of Operations for 5 Star Developers. He is a state licensed broker and since 1980 a State licensed General Contractor Unlimited. Before becoming a real estate developer, he flew B-52’s in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War.

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