It’s the hope of every builder to be a part of Central New York’s Parade of Homes, where they can show off their distinctive style to discerning buyers and designers.
But it’s also the hope of every municipality to be the home of the prestigious tour, meant to showcase not only construction techniques and interior design, but neighborhoods and local amenities.
The town of Clay has had the distinction of being host to the Parade of Homes four times since 2008, an honor not shared by any other locality in Onondaga County. This year’s event will take place at The Farmstead, located off Caughdenoy Road, from June 7 to 22.
The Parade of Homes attracts somewhere in the neighborhood of 22,000 people to the home sites each year. The event is generally held at the beginning of September every year and runs for two weeks; this year, the organizers, Home Builders and Remodelers of Central New York (HBRCNY), wanted a spring event. Throughout those two weeks, the HBRCNY hosts specialty nights like Ladies’ Night, Mom’s Night and Community Night, when the host community is highlighted.
So why Clay? Mary Thompson, the HBRCNY’s executive officer, said the town has had tremendous growth over the last several years despite the faltering economy.
“People are buying homes there,” Thompson said. “The way the market has been for the last few years, builders have not been doing a lot of spec houses. They tend to build more to a consumer. Clay has been a hot area for the last several years or so.”
The Farmstead was chosen largely because it would be ready for viewing in the late spring.
“In all honesty, these days, with the economy being slower, there have not been as many developments sitting there waiting for homes to go in,” Thompson said. “Farmstead was ready to go for a springtime show, which the builders were interested in.”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t advantages to the community around The Farmstead.
“It’s a very popular area,” Thompson said. “The school district is good. People like living there.”
The site selection is spearheaded by Landowners Group One Development, which allocates lots that can be used for the Parade. Then HBRCNY checks the number of building permits filed in the last year to determine the level of builder interest to assure that there’s a market in the area. In addition, builders must submit applications to be a part of the Parade. There are 10 to 12 open lots; if more than 12 builders apply, a random lottery is held.
And it’s not just builders that participate. Subcontractors numbering in the thousands, all vetted by the HBRCNY, from plumbers to masons to carpenters to landscapers also participate in the Parade.
That means that thousands of builders, contractors, homeowners and potential homeowners were clamoring to get into the town of Clay, learning not only about the featured neighborhoods, but the schools, businesses, taxes and more surrounding the neighborhoods.
And the neighborhoods the Parade featured in the town of Clay were very different. The Parade came to Country Meadows off Caughdenoy Road in 2008, Inverness Gardens off Taft Road in 2011 and Riverwalk in Brewerton in 2012. Country Meadows was an existing neighborhood; the Parade highlighted a newer portion of the tract.
The fact that the Parade has returned to Clay time and time again, according to Supervisor Damian Ulatowski, is a testament to the amenities the town provides for its residents.
“It just shows what we’ve been saying for a long time,” Ulatowski said. “This is a great place to live, work and raise a family. It’s close to major highways, close to shopping, great schools. Everything you need is here. And everyone is starting to recognize that.”
The Parade of Homes runs from June 7 to 22. Homes are open from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $12; coupons for $2 off can be obtained at hbrcny.com/?page=Menu/Events+/Parade+of+Homes+2014. Several of the homes on the site are still available for purchase.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.