The trees dotting grounds at Village Verde have already passed a crucial test: a long stretch of extreme drought.
Developers studied the area and figured out what was already thriving, said Michael Nevard, general manager of the 480-acre development at Northwest Expressway and Mustang Road.
“We actually transplanted quite a few trees that were already local and living without additional water, put them in as part of the project,” Nevard said.
And even as homes in the 17-acre first phase are being readied for new families, the planting goes on, he said.
The houses stand as the first tangible signs of the community to come, an ambitious effort that combines green building, energy efficiency and sustainability into what is planned to essentially be a small village.
The finished Village Verde will offer a mix of homes at various price points along with senior housing and a commercial town center, all connected by green spaces and pathways making it all pedestrian friendly.
“The idea is to have all our common areas eventually connect one to the next so there's a direct path to all the different playgrounds, ecologies and habitats,” Nevard said.
The plan doesn't just focus on parks either. Farmers markets, concert venues and ponds all figure into the picture.
But some areas will remain untouched, preserving wetlands and stream channels, Nevard said.
“We designed around those areas. You always want to use as much land in development as possible to maximize it, but we certainly want to keep what's thriving there thriving,” he said.
Nevard is working alongside industry heavyweights on the project. O.A. Garr III is a third-generation builder and developer with more than 45 years of experience, and Kelly Parker is president of Guaranteed Watt Saver, an energy efficiency consulting firm.
Energy efficiency figures heavily in the Village Verde concept. Among the requirements for homes in Village Verde is a score 70 or lower on the Home Energy Rating System — the lower, the more efficient — and will have to have third-party certification to prove it.
For builders, it offers a chance to roll out or tweak technologies. Ideal Homes, for example, is building upon years of knowledge gathered through building and experimenting, said Vernon McKown, owner and president of sales for Ideal Homes.