Officials pleased with Homearama

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tina White of Interior Visions and Robert Ottofaro of Eight Lighthouse Delivery Service remove a piece of furniture that sold during Homearama Monday. The home showcase ended Sunday, and the event’s coordinators said they are pleased with how the show went.

After welcoming its final guests Sunday, the fall Homearama at the Riverfront ended, and event coordinators said they are thrilled with how the show went.

From the builders to city officials, the people who worked to get the show together for its two-week stay in Suffolk said they are happy with how things turned out.

“It’s exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Edwards, the vice president of the Hampton Roads division of East West Communities, the developer of the Riverfront. “We’re very pleased.”

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He said he was happy with the amount of people who came to see the show.

“They seemed to be excited to be there and getting a lot of ideas (for their homes),” Edwards said.

Similarly, Bill Halprin, the president of the Tidewater Builders Association, the group that puts on Homearama, said he was pleased with the turnout, which the organization estimates to be about 80,000 people over the two-week period.

“We think it went well,” he said. “The weather was wonderful, and I think people responded to that.”

In addition to good attendance, the show also saw several of the houses sell.

As of Tuesday, six of the houses on Shelter Cove Court had sold, and another was under a contingent contract.

“We knew the homes would eventually sell, but you don’t expect them to sell so quickly,” Edwards said. “It’s icing on the cake to see the sales success.”

The only homes that haven’t sold yet are House 5, the Coastal Cottage, and House 9, the King’s Cottage.

House 8 builder Les Ore said he sold his home, the Tribute to the City of Suffolk, just 10 minutes before the show opened on Oct. 15.

Ore said he thought the show had a great turnout, and he was pleased with the interest it generated for his business.

“I think the show was excellent,” he said. “I was there everyday, and I talked to a ton of people. It’s just incredible how many people came through.”

In addition to selling his Homearama house, Ore said, he also received a contract to build another home in a different location in the Riverfront as a result of the show.

But Ore wasn’t the only builder to get extra business as a result of the show.

Edwards said East West has seen “increased sales activity” as a result of the show.

“We’ve seen four other contracts written on other homes in the Riverfront,” he said.

The company also sold a home in its Founders Pointe community in Smithfield to Homearama guests, Edwards said.

“It’s icing on the cake to see the sales success,” he said.

Halprin said he was glad to see so many homes sell in the show.

“TBA is excited, and I think Suffolk should be excited,” he said.

Kevin Hughes, the director of economic development for Suffolk, said the city is delighted with how Homearama went.

“We were very pleased with the amount of traffic and the perception we were able to present (as a city),” he said.

Hughes said the city wanted to show Homearama visitors that Suffolk is “a warm, friendly place, open for business as well as a nice place to visit.”

During the show, the city had its own booth in the marketplace where employees could talk to guests about what Suffolk has to offer.

Hughes said it was a great opportunity to talk to a lot of people about the city.

“Everything came together very well,” he said. “It was great all around.”