The Greater Fort Smith Association of Home Builders (GFSAHB) kicked off its Fall Parade of Homes Thursday night (Oct. 4) with the preview reception of the 2012 Showcase Home at Cisterna Villa in Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing development.
A crowd of close to 100 lined up at 8017 Cisterna Way to tour the 2,729-square foot house contracted by GRW Properties. The two-story patio home consists of features and amenities, such as an outdoor entertainment area with gas grill, three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a reading nook, a two-car garage, a media room and balcony.
Fort Smith-based Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp. (AOG) provides gas service to the house as it has for the last 26 years of annual Showcase Homes in the Fort Smith area. Fred Kirkwood, AOG Sr. vice-president of marketing and customer service, said his company "helps promote the energy efficient side (of homebuilding)."
"This house is definitely way above standards of a normal, standard house. We haven't estimated the cost, but compared to a standard house, you're probably looking at a 40% difference per month, and that's gas heating, water heating, and electric cooling combined," Kirkwood said.
The Showcase Home is one of 20 that will be on display from Saturday (Oct. 6) through Oct. 14 from noon to 6 p.m. Unlike the other 19 – located in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren – the Showcase Home will remain open through the following weekend, closing at the end of the day on Oct. 21.
"There's a little bit of everything," said GFSAHB president Rocky Walker. "Houses that are $98,400 up to $400,000, and all points in between. The benefit (of this price range) is that it's a house for everybody. There's not a price criteria to get in (to the Parade). Just a house completed, that looks nice, is clean, safe, meaning no destruction or debris laying around."
Each of the homes were also built by members of the GFSAHB. Members like Justin Green of GRW, who served as the supervising contractor on the 2012 Showcase Home.
"This is the second Showcase Home I’ve done. The first one was here in Cisterna (Villa) three years ago to create interest in our subdivision," Green said. "When we did it the first time, the concept of Cisterna — patio homes sort of closer together — was new for this area. People didn’t have an idea of how it was going to turn out, but they were able to get a feel for what this type of housing looks like."
Green continued: "The majority of what we have done in Cisterna (Villa) are custom jobs. People will check out our showcase and say, ‘We really like what you’ve done out here. We’d like to do something similar to this and modify it to our specific desires. We’ll draw up exactly what they want, and build it specifically for them."
The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce commemorated the 2012 Showcase Home event with a ribbon cutting ceremony, after which Kirkwood and Walker held a drawing for door prizes from Fort Smith area businesses.