Recent years have been tough on Wichita’s homebuilders. So maybe it takes somebody with fresh ideas and a short memory to succeed in the business. In fact, Cory Shackelford is counting on it.
Shackelford put together a team of builders who are, like him, in their 30s to help turn a former wheat field on the southeast edge of Wichita into an upscale development called Cambria.
“I hand-selected these builders to be long-term partners,” Shackelford, who’s the project developer as well as a builder himself, said. “They’re talented and smart and know what they’re doing.”
Along with 35-year-old Shackelford, the group includes Shaun Isham, 36, of Isham Builders; Matt Peters, 30, of Peters Construction; and Miles Millspaugh, 31, of Tri-M Construction. Tim Marchand, 36, of Coldwell Bankers is the on-site real estate agent.
The home sites at Cambria average three quarters of an acre, providing owners plenty of private backyard space.
What they’re doing in Cambria seems to be gaining momentum. Shackelford acquired the property in 2007 and laid out 40 three-quarter acre lots. He broke ground on the first home in the spring of 2009. Today, five homes are sold or occupied and five more are available or under construction, with several more lots sold.
Homes in the development start in the high $300,000s, with most costing $400,000 to $700,000. For that kind of money, people expect a lot, and Cambria’s builders are trying to deliver it. All feature exteriors of natural stone and brick, spacious layouts, decks and walk-out basements. They’re designed to be efficient and exploit all the latest technology. After that, Shackelford said, “Every one is very unique. I think that’s part of the draw.”
Shackelford said he sensed a pent-up demand in Wichita for nicer new homes. He chose the Cambria property because it offered a rural setting with city services and utilities that’s just minutes from many attractions in east Wichita. The development sits off 143rd street between Pawnee and Harry.
As Shackelford pointed out some of the natural features of the landscape— including a creek and border of trees—two geese flew by and landed in one of several ponds on the property. “There’s not a lot of development around it,” he said.
Shackelford said he drew up the lots with an idea to providing privacy. “People say, ‘I want my backyard not to have somebody living in it,’” he said. Many lots run back to the creek or a hedgerow.