In the ever-competitive real estate sector, new housing developments are boosting their marketability with recreational features.
"People expect these extras nowadays, so we try to provide them," says Donna Bowlin, leasing manager at Cape La Croix Apartments in Cape Girardeau. The complex, located at Bloomfield Road and Spring Avenue, boasts a swimming pool, playground, basketball court, sauna and fitness room. It is currently renovating for an updated recreation center, which will include new fitness equipment, computers and a pool table.
"It's a sign of the times. It's time to update before you fall behind," says Bowlin. Cape La Croix occasionally surveys residents to gauge their interests and what other amenities they would like to see at the complex.
Bill Cole, owner and broker at Realty Executives of Cape County, also sees this trend, especially in larger housing developments like Cape Girardeau's Walden Park subdivision. Features at Walden Park include a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, swimming pool with a large deck, a professional kitchen, Wi-Fi cafe, trails within and around the subdivision, and four ponds that will be stocked for fishing. As an "added benefit," the Cape Recreation Trail is nearly complete. The trail, ideal for hiking and biking, begins at Lexington Avenue and Route W, winds through Walden Park, and leads to the Department of Conservation grounds.
"I see an effort to put those amenities in the backyard," says Cole. "It's convenient to be able to find a gym right in your neighborhood, and a recreation area for kids and adults alike." He admits that while the fitness center isn't comparable to major gyms in the area, it does provide the means for a good cardio workout right in the neighborhood, which residents appreciate.
"I think ultimately it will be good for business," says Cole. "When people are choosing a place to live, they value these features that they're not going to get elsewhere."
Golf is the main attraction at Cape Girardeau's Dalhousie subdivision. Cord Dombrowski, managing member at Dalhousie, notes that the residential facility is ranked No. 51 nationwide by Golf Week magazine, and the golf club itself ranked No. 1 in Missouri by Golf Digest magazine. These recognitions, as well as major golf tournaments hosted at the club, bring national attention to Dalhousie as not only a travel destination, but a place to live. While Dalhousie does attract some homeowners from Cape Girardeau and surrounding areas, the regional market is much wider, drawing golfers and homeowners from as far as St. Louis, Chicago and Houston.
"We have the opportunity to sell on Cape Girardeau and the area and all it has to offer as far as medical, retail, university, culture and a golf course," says Dombrowski. "It's a nice place to live, and it's done quite well for us."
Dalhousie residents have access to the golf course, the clubhouse, social activities, and a nearby fishing facility, says Dombrowski. It's also a central location for residents who enjoy hunting, hiking, and exploring the Mississippi River and the Ozarks.
"Things are tough and we'd like to be in a better position, but we're still in a very, very good position," says Dombrowski. "We're still building and selling houses, and I think 2009 will be a good year for us."