January 11, 2013 By Jan Buchholz
The Hill Country Conservancy has inked a deal with Taylor-Morrison Homes that will provide up to $100,000 in revenue for the Austin nonprofit organization.
Under terms of the agreement, homebuyers in the new Reunion Ranch community near Dripping Springs will contribute $100 to the Hill Country Conservancy at the time of closing, and Taylor-Morrison will contribute an equal amount. With nearly 500 homes slated to be built there during the next four to eight years, the total contribution is expected to be about $100,000.
“We’ve been working a long time to see what kind of ongoing revenue streams that we could count on,” Conservancy Executive Director George Cofer said. “This is an example of what we’ve been thinking about.”
The deal came together as a result of initial conversations with Frank Krasovec, an Austin landowner who sold Taylor-Morrison 472 acres at Reunion Ranch earlier this year. Krasovec introduced Cofer to Adib Khoury, Taylor-Morrison’s vice president of land resources in Austin.
“This just made a lot of sense to us. We’re always trying to find a balance between development and conservation,” Khoury said.
The $200 collective contribution for each house sold at Reunion Ranch is reasonable and affordable, he said, and he doesn’t expect any push-back from homebuyers. The donation, he said, is tax deductible.
“We discussed the possibility of [buyer push-back], but the big draw of Reunion Ranch is its location in the Hill Country,” Khoury said.
The homes, which start in the high $300,000s, feature large lots and are likely to appeal to buyers who already put a high value on conservation, he said.
Eldon Rude, director of MetroStudy in Austin, which follows the local homebuilding industry, said that is probably correct.
“I would imagine that the $100 to be donated by the buyers is such a small percentage of the overall sales price that it will not impede their sales,” Rude said. “Also, because the Reunion Ranch community will have significant open space, and also backs up to conservation land, the buyers who purchase homes there will likely be people who already appreciate the concept of preserved land and might be excited to play a small role in helping the conservancy in their efforts.”
Although Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taylor-Morrison has contributed in the past to nonprofits, Khoury said this is a first in terms of partnering with the Hill Country Conservancy.
He hopes that by taking the lead in the land conservation program, other homebuilders in Austin will follow suit.
Cofer said the Conservancy plans to leverage the program in several ways, including encouraging other builders to set up similar programs. Also, the nonprofit hopes to receive matching funds through various grant programs.
“Plus, we’ll get to know the homeowners,” Cofer said. “This gives us the opportunity to meet people new to the area and perhaps engage them in the Conservancy.”