You can go outside and play at the new 293-lot Fall Brook housing development that is underway on the north side of Star.
That’s the promise of developer Tim Eck, who has already built out the 8.15-acre open space before breaking ground on a single house.
People from neighboring subdivisions regularly use the playground and the paved path around a pond to enjoy the open space. Since September, the rest of the space bears well-groomed grass that awaits creation of three soccer fields.
Eck doesn’t mind the visitors for now, as long as they don’t tear up the grass. He took note of one 30ish guy with a dog settling onto a bench right by the gated dog relief station, cell phone to his ear.
“He could be running a multi-million-dollar company sitting here talking on the phone,” said Eck, owner of DB Development, which in recent years has primarily focused on 17 developments in Kuna. The region’s largest homebuilding company, CBH Homes, is building all the homes for those developments and for Fall Brook.
The soccer fields are at Munger Road, with the 72,000-square-foot pond heading off from the largest field along an access road.
When Eck bought the 93-acre property two years ago, the area of the pond was a bit lower than the rest of the property and not easily accessible by sewer lines. The city required open space for his project, so Eck put it on the land where it was most difficult to build houses.
“What are we going to do with this open space?” the Eck team wondered at the outset. “Let’s do soccer fields.”
The pond came along later as a gravel pit remained after digging out material to create the roads for Fall Brook. What to do with the hole? Eck decided to let the shallow water table fill it.
“I didn’t need this much more grass. Let’s build a pond,” he reasoned.
He’s toying with eventually adding fish. In July and August, Eck installed three fitness stations around the pond, each with three pieces of equipment.
“We have an outdoor-oriented lifestyle here (in the Treasure Valley),” Eck said. “We’re really trying to promote a community oriented to family and fitness. We adamantly want to promote that lifestyle. We want to get the kids outside. We want to get them healthy.”
Eck will create paved pathways through the neighborhood so people, especially children, don’t have to walk along the street. One of those walkways feeds right to the pond.
“I want folks to be able to have kids go out the door and not have to go down streets,” Eck said.
A lot of Eck’s vision for Fall Brook derives from his childhood in an age when kids went outside and engaged their imaginations in adventure.
“Kids came together and played on empty lots,” he reminisced. “They can do that here.”
Star Mayor Chad Bell sees the thought behind Eck’s ambitions.
“I think he’s done a beautiful job designing a housing community instead of just a subdivision,” Bell said. “The landscaping is above and behind what’s required. It gives us a little diversity in community choices.”
Eck believes Fall Brook will average out to more than two children per house – 600 kids. He believes Fallbrook’s kids themselves will keep the three soccer fields busy, but he might invite soccer clubs to use them and he’s toying with deeding the fields to the city.
One field will be regulation size for U19, U16 and U14 youth; a second field will be for U12 and U10; and the smallest field will be for U8 and U6 competition. The fields are staggered on different levels of the open space.
Star has 330 youth ages three to 14 involved in the city soccer recreational league with the older youth involved in Idaho Youth Soccer Association’s Outback League, said Ron Weston, sports coordinator in Star.
Eck’s daughter, Brittany, researched and learned that Middleton, Eagle and Star combined have 9,000 children enrolled in soccer clubs. Star’s soccer fields are full in spring and fall, said Star Zoning Administrator Cathy Ward.
CBH will build upper-end homes at Fall Brook
Site work at Fall Brook started in April with all roads and utilities in place.
Eck expects to record the development plat with the city early in 2018 and start construction on the first 50 homes in spring.
“If we do 50 a year, it will take six years,” Eck said. “It’s always sales-driven.”
The homes CBH Homes will build at Fall Brook come from its portfolio already in place in several Treasure Valley communities, including nearby Pavilion in Star. They include homes in the Monterey, Vallejo and Sundance series, said Holly Haener, CBH’s marketing director.
Haener characterizes the homes as “upper end” for the “move up buyer.” Home prices have not been set, but she expects them to range from the upper $200,000s to upper $300,000s.
The one- and two-story homes will range from 1,800 to 3,000 square feet, most with three-car garages with an RV garage option.
“The floor plans and finishes will be similar to what we offer in our Pavilion community (in Star),” she said.
Eck notes lot sizes will range from 7,000 to 12,000 square feet. Different size lots are set next to each other.
“We try to mix the lots,” Eck said.
Star keeps growing with large developments
Star remains the smallest incorporated city in Ada County with just 9,500 residents. You wouldn’t know it from entering the city on State Street, with the 587-home Village Center at Heron River on the south edge and several other developments in the works on north side of town on the way to Fall Brook.
With 293 lots, Fall Brook is only the fifth largest development in Star, said Cathy Ward, Star’s zoning administrator.
“They are platted,” Ward said. “None of them are completed.”
But hundreds of homes have been built in Star, where the population has almost doubled since 2010, when the U.S. Census counted 5,793 residents.
Star is essentially becoming the next Kuna, where the population has mushroomed from 5,300 to 19,700 since 2000. Eck and CBH have been adding 3,000 to 4,000 homes in 17 developments in Kuna. Kuna itself is becoming the next Meridian, with neighborhoods between the two cities already blurring at Amity Road.
A similar dynamic is in play in Star with its neighbor to the east.
“Star is frequently considered Eagle-lite,” Eck said. “There’s no industry here. It’s a bedroom community. It’s just quiet. We just firmly believe the market can support this.”