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Thread: Amarillo Ecovillage

  1. #1
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    Amarillo Ecovillage

    $800 million EcoVillage planned



    By Karen Smith Welch
    karen.welch@amarillo.com
    Publication Date: 03/27/07

    A planned $600 million to $800 million community on Amarillo's western edge will harvest its own water from Texas Panhandle rains and generate its own renewable energy for homes and businesses.

    Global EcoVillage Inc. is seeking financial backers for Lovelock Village, a 630-acre community designed by Biosphere 2 architect Phil Hawes, now a Bushland resident.

    Several years ago, Hawes formed a friendship and alliance with another Bushland-based environmentalist and philanthropist, Mary Emeny, who secured the land for Lovelock Village 2 1/2 to 3 miles north of Interstate 40 on North Soncy Road.

    The village tract sits on the southern border of Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, 2301 N. Soncy, and 170 acres of it will remain undeveloped, as a conservation easement, Emeny said.

    "We can help with the land," Emeny said, "but we can't help with the capital. That's what's happening now."

    Hawes said Global EcoVillage - based at Oracle, Ariz., home of Biosphere 2 - is putting together a group of investors.

    "We like small investors," he said. "We would also like a large investor, but we are not interested at all in losing control of the design or the basic decision-making process."

    Lovelock Village would be built in phases during a period of six to seven years. Each phase would encompass about 32 dwellings, Hawes said.

    He estimated the company needs about $10 million for the initial year, with that figure increasing to about $120 million to $130 million each by the third and fourth years.

    Work could begin as soon as August or September, Hawes said.

    The company's goal is for Lovelock Village to become a model for ecologically sustainable communities throughout the United States, said Emeny, who joined Global EcoVillage's board of directors in January.

    "Somebody's got to bite the bullet and say, 'This is how we learn to live sustainably on this planet,' because our usual stuff is not working," Emeny said. "The normal American lifestyle is not sustainable.

    "The technology to live sustainably is known - the basic principals, for example, of how to make clean water out of sewage. It's a known technology being used in a lot of places. The technology's there for how to produce energy from the sun and wind. There are building materials that are nontoxic and totally green."

    Hawes said Lovelock Village won't be like his Biosphere 2, a 3.15-acre, research environment now open to tourists wanting to see its glass-domed ocean, savannah, rain forest and desert.

    "Biosphere is a scientific piece of equipment, a rather large one," he said. "This is supposed to be integrated with Amarillo. We're not trying to be an exclusive enclave out by ourselves.

    "This community is trying to aim at things like water, wastewater, solid waste, renewable energy, transportation - to solve those problems on a small scale."

    The Lovelock Village Web-site describes a proposed community of 16 neighborhoods with homes, restaurants, entertainment and commercial businesses, manufacturing, schools, parks and plazas.

    Residents would park on the village's fringes and use bicycles, horses or a community transportation system to travel to homes and businesses built with eco-friendly materials.

    "What we're really trying to do," Hawes said, "is show that it is possible to be sustainable and to continue to be sustainable even in a period of change and increasing drought."

    Hawes has had "very preliminary" discussions with city of Amarillo Planning Director Kelley Shaw because the village site sits within the city's five-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction, Shaw said. Texas cities maintain ETJs to control some aspects of subdivision development - such as minimum lot sizes, street widths and street layout for traffic flow - just outside their borders.

    Shaw called the ecovillage "an interesting concept. My planning side is always intrigued by different types of development, and sustainable development is kind of the buzzword these days. But the city employee side of me also is concerned about how a new development like that might affect the city of Amarillo. Not only is it in our ETJ, it's very close to the city."
    The city could be in a situation to annex the community someday, for example.

    "You want to have a decent development," he said. "You don't want to be annexing or taking on a problem."

    There also is the question of whether the village would want to incorporate itself as a municipality. Because it lies in the city's ETJ, it would need Amarillo City Commission approval to do so, Shaw said.


    Lovelock Village

    Lovelock Village Design Director Phil Hawes will discuss the proposed ecologically sustainable community planned for North Soncy Road.

    When: 7 p.m. today

    Where: Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, 2301 N. Soncy Road Lovelock Village unique features

    Eco-friendly construction materials

    Pedestrian and bike-oriented community

    Bio-diversity in "edible landscaping"

    An open-space commons of undeveloped nature land

    Energy from local generation of renewable energy

    A community transportation system eliminating the need for local cars

    Wastewater recycled into agricultural production

    Water to come from aquifer recharged from rainwater harvesting

    Local food production to serve for increased community sustainability




    http://www.amarillo.com/stories/0327..._7137769.shtml

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    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    I hope Stanley Marsh gets involved with this.

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    If I did my math correct, then each home would have to sell for about 3.5 million just to break even. With 32 homes built per year, for 6 to 7 years. The price tag seems a bit high for this to be a model of things to come.

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    As cool as it sounds, I see zero chance of this happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon
    I hope Stanley Marsh gets involved with this.
    Maybe he can put his funky signs throughout along w/ build a rainbow that is continuous over the complex. :roflmao2:

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    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rd time the charm
    If I did my math correct, then each home would have to sell for about 3.5 million just to break even. With 32 homes built per year, for 6 to 7 years. The price tag seems a bit high for this to be a model of things to come.
    The math seems correct, but I don't think it accounts for the miracle of compound interest. You're assuming that the entire $800 million gets paid off all at once with 32x7 houses. But they'll all have 30-year mortgages, and the first 10 years or so will see most of the house payments go to interest. That's offset in part, of course, by the interest the developers will need to pay to the "small investors" they're seeking (wanted: fools with money to invest in Panhandle Paradise!)

    But even at a tenth of the price, the stated goal of "financing incentives... with programs for... affordable housing" (from their website) is a bit out of reach. $350k may be "affordable" in some places, but I doubt Amarillo is one of them.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

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    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    I dont think the $3 million house math is accurate; it doesnt consider the non-residential components intended for the development:

    The Lovelock Village Web-site describes a proposed community of 16 neighborhoods with homes, restaurants, entertainment and commercial businesses, manufacturing, schools, parks and plazas.

    The dollars and cents are hazy, but a lot of the $600-800 million project seems to be inflated by include municipal as well as utility price tags:

    "The technology to live sustainably is known - the basic principals, for example, of how to make clean water out of sewage. It's a known technology being used in a lot of places. The technology's there for how to produce energy from the sun and wind. There are building materials that are nontoxic and totally green."

    If this experiment actually happens, I would be certain the cost to buy a house in one of the 16 neighborhoods would not be more than 20% of the cost to buy in a comparable Amarillo neighborhood. Since this would be a prototype development, investors would not expect to make a lot of money from it, they would, however, expect all the kinks to be ironed out so they can make TONS of money taking the idea to every population center in the country.

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    Demographics

    The demographics just aren't there yet for this kind of a deal on this large of a scale.

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    Maybe this thing will happen after all.

    EcoVillage breaks ground
    Mariposa project uses dirt blocks for construction


    The first concrete signs of development at Mariposa ecoVillage started stacking up Friday - well, not exactly concrete.

    Larry Williamson and Gary Hames, partners in EarthCo Building Systems, were cranking out 1-ton blocks of compressed caliche in 10-foot lengths. And with the help of volunteers and Mariposa project director Linda Lloyd, the walls of the sustainable development's hospitality center started going up from the foundation laid Thursday.

    More

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    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    I love this!

    Quote Originally Posted by mgd323
    Maybe the construction processes to create a structure responsive to Panhandle weather/environment using locally mined caliche will kick off a smarter way of building things.

    The thermal behavior of the blocks is one thing that attracted Lloyd to the building method.

    "It will stay between 62 degrees and 72 degrees inside a building without heating or air conditioning," she said.... The building benefits are similar to adobe
    I wonder how long the compressed caliche is expected to last.

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    Building camp at ecoVillage attracts attention worldwide

    By Kevin Welch
    kevin.welch@amarillo.com

    Planning continues to give way to action at Mariposa ecoVillage, including a natural building summer camp that is attracting international attention.

    "We've had inquiries from Spain," said Chris McClellan, who has organized a four-month summer camp of building and education. "It's so unique, I'm coming from Cleveland and bringing my family out. My wife is going to run a camp for kids of the people working there. It will give people a chance to get their hands muddy."

    McClellan is a publisher of books on building communities and on construction using natural materials. He also organizes events across the country similar to Mariposa's.

    Natural Systems Developers is developing Mariposa, intended to be a sustainable community of residences and businesses, on a 625-acre site owned by local environmentalist and philanthropist Mary Emeny.

    Mariposa is sprouting from a caliche pit next door to Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, another Emeny project. The development will only cover 310 acres disturbed by the caliche operations with undisturbed land being left in its natural state, according to Natural Systems CEO Linda Lloyd.

    The intention is for up to 400 homes to be built in the development, which is planned to encourage pedestrian movement among energy-efficient buildings.

    Article continued here

    Link to development website
    Last edited by mgd323; 18 March 2010 at 01:05 PM.

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