Case Studies

Prairie Creek Villas: Creating a Well-designed Development

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With only a few units complete in the 308-unit Prairie Creek Villas apartment complex, tenants are eager to sign leases and move into the new development in Lenexa, Kan. Prairie Creek Villas is a $28 million project being developed by general contracting company Price Development Group LLC (PDG) of Kansas City, Mo., and owned by Price Brothers.

According to Tom Browning, project manager for PDG, the general contracting firm broke ground on the project April 30, 2012. By March 2013 the clubhouse and a handful of units were complete, but Browning estimates the entire project won’t be complete until February 2014.

Browning joined PDG at the end of 2012, bringing 45 years experience in the construction industry to the privately held company, which is owned and managed by Kent Price and Monte Wendler. PDG specializes in acquisition and development opportunities with a focus in residential, retail and mixed-use projects. PDG is taking its time developing Prairie Creek Villas to ensure quality is met as the design is executed.

In order to complete the project, PDG is subcontracting all the trades to complete the labor. While price of subcontractors is often considered, Browning reports that is not the major factor in this case. “As an owner, you want to make sure you get the quality of work you want,” he says. “We work with the same subcontractors on several of our jobs, because they know what we’re expecting and the kind of work we do.”

Capitalizing on a Trend

As the economy continues to thaw, the construction industry is seeing more success in multifamily developments rather than single-family homes and commercial buildings. Prairie Creek Villas will offer 500,000 square feet of new living space with the option of one-, two- or three-bedroom units.

The development is located near 95th and Renner in Lenexa, which will allow tenants close proximity to the hub of the city, but in a relaxed environment. The development offers a maintenance-free luxury environment with high-end interiors and extensive amenities. In addition to the living space, Prairie Creek Villas includes a 24-hour fitness center with personal training, yoga classes and massage rooms. There is also a community swimming pool, sports court, nature trail and car wash to ensure all residents’ needs are satisfied.

Meanwhile, Prairie Creek Villas’ individual units feature espresso wood cabinets, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and washer and dryer units. High-end features, such as oval soaking tub, separate walk-in shower, private garage and outdoor patio or balcony, are also available.

By the beginning of 2013, before the units were even complete, PDG already had a waiting list of interested tenants looking to sign a lease. With the completion of the clubhouse and the first of the units, the company was able to allow tenants to move in mid-March while construction of the development continues.

Tackling Challenges

The two-year schedule helps the developers create a living space that has above-the-cut quality, but it also helps ensure safety on-site. Prior to beginning construction, Browning explains a lot of legwork had to be done. “We’re building on top of a mine,” he says. “There’s a whole mine that runs underneath our project. That’s a challenge.”

PDG had to do mine remediation prior to construction work. The contractors needed to stabilize the underground caverns and be aware of those surroundings as the site was excavated. “We weren’t able to blast,” says Browning. “We had to break up the rock and haul it away, as opposed to blasting.”

Once that phase was complete, construction work flowed easily. Now that tenants are occupying the finished components of Prairie Creek Villas, PDG is faced with a new set of challenges. “We made sure to phase the construction appropriately,” says Browning. “We’re working away from the tenants.”

With multiple access points to the land that is being developed, Browning doesn’t foresee continued construction as a problem for new tenants. The firm is slowly moving away from completed units and keeping construction areas compartmentalized so people not on the construction crew won’t wander on-site.

PDG and Browning are both well-versed when it comes to building multiunit developments, as the company has a number of similar projects taking place at any given time. Browning himself is heading up three different construction sites.

“If you can run multiple jobs and keep the projects on budget and finished when you’re supposed to then things are going well,” he says.

As it stands, Price Development Group LLC is on track to put the finishing touches on the development by the beginning of 2014. With an already high level of interest, there’s no doubt Prairie Creek Villas will be fully occupied once completed.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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