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Manufactured housing offers more than affordability—it creates community
Nestled in a rural Texas suburb is a new community offering its residents the best of both worlds: small-town charm with scenic views and a slower pace, and a strategic location between two of the state’s largest cities with access to the conveniences and opportunities in those metro areas.
An affordable housing community for people of all ages
Creeks Crossing is a manufactured housing development in Uhland, TX, which is a suburb of Austin and just an hour away from San Antonio. While a sparse number of manufactured homes already existed in the area on one to two acres of land, Creeks Crossing is the first manufactured development in the area to be intentionally designed as a community.
The first phase of the project consists of 97 lots, and the entire community is anticipated to have 515 homesites. Facilities include a clubhouse, community center, and mail center, with amenities such as a turf soccer field, basketball court, heated pool, fitness center, multiple playgrounds, and dog parks. The three-bedroom and four-bedroom houses have open floor plans, covered porches, and private yards, and the neighborhood is close to a number of restaurants, parks, and a family arcade.
The community’s history
Sun Communities – a publicly traded real estate investment trust that specializes in manufactured housing communities, RV resorts, and marinas – envisioned Creeks Crossing as a true community.
The project was delivered by Atwell as a complete turnkey project through its Program Management services, which included due diligence, civil design, architectural coordination, permitting, and construction management. RVi was instrumental in land planning and landscape architecture.
Development began in 2021. The first stages included civil work on roads, grading, and utilities. As the project progressed, there were a few challenges that came up, with one of them being a major dilemma: the contractor had gone bankrupt.
“When a contractor can’t fulfill their financial obligations, it’s one of the hardest things that can happen to a project,” explains Daniel Pereyra, the Atwell Construction Manager for who oversaw the project from 2022 to 2023. “The construction of the clubhouse was at a crossroads. But our team handled it really well. We’ve got amazing project management, and in a short time, we were able to pivot, secure another contractor that the client accepted, and deliver a final product that I’m really proud of.”
In August of 2023, Sun Communities formally introduced Creeks Crossing to Uhland. Thanks to the addition of Creeks Crossing, the rural city is now positioned to attract those who want proximity to larger urban areas while maintaining the comforts and affordability of a smaller town.
Collaboration and the positive impact of manufactured housing developments
Part of the success of Atwell’s project management includes facilitating consistent communication and interaction within its team, with Sun Communities, and with the City of Uhland. Atwell’s strong relationship with the city led to constructive feedback sessions, getting the local community behind the project, and offsite improvements that the city required such as the successful development of new roads.
All these factors resulted in Creeks Crossing feeling more like a community and not just another housing development. The combination of its design, amenities, and location is attracting more residential tenants to the city, setting it up to be a future hotspot for development.
With a housing deficiency of more than 3.8 million homes in the United States, home ownership is harder than ever. A 2023 report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies states that the supply of single-family homes for sale has been at historic lows since 2019, with lower-priced housing facing the greatest shortages. More homeowners than ever are cost burdened—19 million, or about 23% of all homeowners.
By trusting Atwell to apply its proficiency in engineering, design, construction, and consulting, this Sun Communities project is playing an active part in relieving some of these burdens. Additionally, Atwell is an advocate for serving the residential needs of various localities and demographics, and helps its clients achieve this with customized solutions and technical expertise.
Changing the perception of manufactured housing
Historically, manufactured housing communities have evoked a level of apprehension in local communities, due to the stigma of how lower-income housing—and its inhabitants—could affect their neighborhood. Locals fear drops in home values, spikes in crime, and general degradation of their community. Local municipalities tend to resist manufactured housing due to the belief that it will increase the cost of providing services such as utilities, schools, and police and fire protection.
However, Atwell VP William Anderson proposes that thoughtful design paired with proactive community management can result in manufactured housing that is intentionally, innovatively, and carefully integrated into the fabric of a community. It has the potential to be an affordable housing solution that brings reliable and abundant labor to the business community and enhances the socializing culture of an area.
Creeks Crossing shatters the stereotypical perceptions of manufactured communities with homes that feature modern designs and appliances, “third places” that provide family-friendly recreational and social opportunities, and a location that appeals to lovers of the quiet country life without isolating them from urban access.
Regardless of perception, there is one undeniable goal that Creeks Crossing and other manufactured housing developments like it achieve in every community they are in: they give people and their families the chance to have a place to call home.