Luxury dream homes tour will benefit homeless shelter

By Srianthi PereraThe Republic | azcentral.comFri Sep 20, 2013 10:22 AM This fall, a spotlight falls on two vastly different types of homes: Street-of-Dreams luxury homes and a house of refuge for the homeless. The luxury home tour called the Street of Dreams opens in Gilbert next month, benefiting Mesa-based House of Refuge Inc., which […]

By Srianthi PereraThe Republic | azcentral.comFri Sep 20, 2013 10:22 AM

This fall, a spotlight falls on two vastly different types of homes: Street-of-Dreams luxury homes and a house of refuge for the homeless.

The luxury home tour called the Street of Dreams opens in Gilbert next month, benefiting Mesa-based House of Refuge Inc., which is home to about 100 homeless adults and 150 homeless children every day.

The home tour, reflecting the latest trends in architecture, colors, interior finishes and technology, will be held from Saturday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Dec. 1, at Whitewing at Germann Estates, a new housing development in southeast Gilbert.

Nancy Marion, executive director of House of Refuge, said it is a great honor for the non-profit to be chosen as the beneficiary.

“We will be able to bring the spotlight onto House of Refuge and the homeless families we serve through our program,” she said. “In addition, we will be able to serve the public by bringing awareness to the difficulty of the homeless population and those emerging from domestic violence in our communities and neighborhoods.

“Because of the noted success of prior Street of Dreams luxury home tours, House of Refuge will be able to connect with the generous citizens of Gilbert as well as a larger section of Maricopa County and the state. It is an unbelievable opportunity,” she added.

At Whitewing at Germann Estates, five builders — Mark of Excellence Builders, Love Development and Construction, E & A Custom Homes, Rainey Homes and Sharp Western Development LLC — will showcase five distinctive custom-built houses. The homes, which are nearly ready, are priced from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Seattle-based Street of Dreams has offered tours around the country for 28 years. Since the first tour in Phoenix in 1987, it has brought its show to various Arizona cities. Gilbert’s tour was in the planning since 2008, but was postponed when real-estate values took a hit, said company President Dave Straughan.

“We had picked Gilbert because it was a growth area, and this project, Whitewing at Germann Estates, had all the elements of a Street of Dreams,” Straughan said.

“It was a secured community with a beautiful gate and infrastructure, it had lots available of adequate size to do a luxury home,” he added. “We had all the elements in place to do a Street of Dreams, but the market floored and stopped and dipped, and it wasn’t until a couple years ago that the developer said that we’re going to make it happen. He invested the money to get the houses built, and that’s why we are having the show there today.”

Straughan compared the tour with a home-and-garden show in a luxury venue: People don’t only come to see the houses, he said.

“The subdivision has additional lots for sale. People don’t just come out to see the houses. They come out to get ideas too, to look at how they can include their lifestyle, their homes, furniture and color ideas. It’s really a lifestyle event as well as a real-estate event,” he said.

“The advantage for Gilbert is that it becomes the focus of a marketing effort” that he said will bring between 40,000 and 50,000 people to the town.

Past Street of Dreams events were held in Phoenix, Scottsdale and the Superstition Mountains area in Pinal County, which drew 42,000 attendees.

House of Refuge anticipates using more than 1,600 volunteer hours to staff the six-week event.

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