We're a real estate integrator that builds neighborhoods
at the intersection of
housing and loneliness.
As long as we can remember, the idea of "home" has represented what it means to experience a healthy and fulfilled life in America. Home represented stability, it represented long-term prosperity, and it linked people together in a neighborhood community. Home was the safe harbor in our lives, it was the anchor to family life, and it was a personalized place where we grew our families, hosted friends, and expressed our most core values.
However, today, we are facing a new reality where home, and homeownership is being challenged in the most fundamental ways. From a financial perspective it's more expensive than ever to build a home and less rewarding to own one. This financial strain is compounded by an emotional strain: loneliness.
From millennials to baby-boomers, today's tech-connected lifestyles create a social media facade that suggest perfect lives, but in reality, we are more lonely than before.
Too many Americans don’t have a place they think of as home — a 'thick' community in which people know and look out for one another.
Arthur C. Brooks, Nov. 23, 2018
At 3 Strands Neighborhoods we believe you can't solve the big challenge by just tackling any single issue, we believe you must address all of them. Therefore, our mission is focused on how we build, how we own and how we live together in community.
We lower the cost and increase sustainability by leveraging 3D printing & modular building systems.
We believe the core of the issue is that it costs too much to build a home; which translates to a high cost of living.
Therefore, we want to radically reduce the cost of home ownership. From building, to operating, to maintaining, we have a new way. While other modular and manufactured approaches have tried to address these issues for decades, this incremental progress has yet to deliver a viable solution.
The good news is that today there are technological advances that were previously unavailable that promise to dramatically drive down construction costs. We have partnered with startups, universities and architects to be on the cutting edge of rethinking design and conventional construction to increase sustainability and long-term durability.
The use of new technology opens doors that were previously closed as it creates the opportunity to address the larger issues of belonging. If neighborhoods can be popped up faster and people can plant roots together, the next question is, 'how can we design neighborhoods where we can be deliberate about creating community?'
We create a shared ownership model that benefits the neighborhood, not institutions.
Overland Partners and ICON are true collaborators as we work to create new models of community development.
Today, there are two basic approaches to pay for the place you live. You can either own or rent. We believe there is a viable 3rd option.
Owning your own house is often associated closely with the “American Dream”. It is touted as one of the best investments one can make, and for many people, this is true.
However, we appear to be entering an era where the traditional benefits credited to home ownership may not be materializing for as many people as we think. Overall, the perceived investment returns just haven’t delivered.
What isn’t as talked about are how many fees and expenses are involved in buying a home. From title search fees, recording fees, mortgage taxes, mortgage origination fees, closing costs fee, realtor fee, photocopies -- the list is outrageous.
Then after getting hammered with all of these transaction fees, many home buyers are required to pay PMI (Primary Mortgage Insurance). Beyond this, the early years of a 30-year mortgage allocates the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment to interest. This traditional structure provides little hope for a homeowner to be able to recognize any type of financial gain from the investment in their home for the first 5 to 7 years.
Renting provides a flexible and convenient place to live, but does little to build long term financial value. Renters are at the mercy of the landlord when it comes to rate increases.
At 3Strands Neighborhoods, we believe in a different approach. We are working on a model where Neighborhood Members can share in the financial benefits of debt pay-down and house appreciation while avoiding the fees and rigid structures of institutions. The model encourages an attitude of ownership and provides a clear path to long-term financial freedom.
3Strands Neighborhoods will promote belonging by building clusters of homes with shared spaces and programming to foster healthier relationships.
We promote belonging by building clusters of homes with shared spaces and programming to foster healthier relationships.
We have more people and affluence in our country than at any time in history, yet we are lonelier than ever before.
Traditional housing is built with a focus on convenience and self-sufficiency “inside” the four walls. In too many neighborhoods, we pull into the garage, close the door, and rarely look to our neighbors for deep and meaningful relationships. In a relatively small period of human history, we have gone from needing a tribe to survive, to bowling alone, and today, scrolling alone.
We believe that when people commit to live in intentional, relational and reconciled communities, they become more human, more alive and experience a better life.
The 3Strands Neighborhood model is designed for those who want to intentionally engage and know their neighbors. Through calculated design of each neighborhood and home, residents will enjoy shared spaces and community programming that will encourage natural interactions to foster relationships.
Why do we care?
“My family is an incredibly rooted bunch - my mom’s parents are farmers and my dad's parents owned the local newspaper. As you would imagine farmers can't move, the local newspaper doesn't leave. I grew up forced with the luxury that I was going to be known and I knew where I belonged.
However, I didn't always choose to live out of this belonged place. In my early 20's I experienced profound episodes of intense loneliness. Without fail the thing that has brought me out of periods of sustained loneliness is the experience of feeling I belong through healthy relationship with other people.
One of those friends was my business partner, and Co-Founder, Tracey Mann. Through the course of owning residential properties we were confronted with the reality that our residents were struggling. They had little economic or social margin in their lives and there were three common strands that always seemed to persist:
First: People struggled to afford to live where they wanted.
Second: The financial benefits of home ownership rarely materialized.
Third: They were lonely and often afraid.
We decided to iterate an experiment and 3 Strands Neighborhoods was born. Today we are focused on building neighborhoods that can serve teachers, nurses and police officers with an aspiration to create neighborhoods that can serve people at any place on the socioeconomic ladder.”
"It feels like I won the lottery when I was born into a family farming operation in western Kansas in the middle of the greatest country with the strongest economy in the history of the world.
As the fifth generation to grow up in my house, which my great great grandfather ordered from a Montgomery Ward catalogue in the early 1900’s, I grew up with a strong sense of place and belonging on our family farm south of Quinter, Kansas. Quinter (pop. 800) had a strong sense of community where everyone knew each other, worked to get along, and rallied behind the Quinter Bulldogs every Friday night. At college I was blessed to meet some tremendous friends who challenged me in my faith and future dreams. After college, I moved to Washington, D.C. for two years and was in a community where people knew, loved and accepted me. That all changed when I got married and decided to move to Kansas City. My wife, Audrey, and I moved to a city where neither had ever lived and started a job in summer of 2002. What followed was two of the hardest and loneliest years of my life.
We did not have any friends, lived in an apartment complex where we didn’t have relationships with our neighbors or anyone else. Audrey would go to the same check-out line at the grocery store hoping to get the same cashier so at least someone would be able to identify her if she ever went missing. No friends and no relationships.
At this point in my story, my college friends were spread out across the country and we all had similar experiences of loneliness and a desire for deeper, long-term relationships. We all made a decision that some might view as strange. Everyone moved to the same neighborhood in Kansas City. Today, that neighborhood totals 11 houses, 21 adults and 26 kids, and a bunch of fish, cats, dogs and other little creatures.
While working at Zimmer Real Estate, I met Gary O’Dell. We wanted to grow our friendship. We started buying real estate and purchased our first apartment complex together in Topeka at the end of 2012. We then purchased other properties together and struggled to make the economics work as we sought to serve our tenants and those living in our communities. We quickly learned that providing safe, reliable and affordable housing is not simple.
I met Toby Rush, our Co-Founder and Chairman, at K-State. The best man at my wedding, and the friend who moved across the street from me, exited a technology company he founded and we resurrected a dream we had in college about being in business together to grow our friendship. He was interested in investing in real estate, I introduced him to Gary, and we decided to purchase multi-family properties together.
Together we have learned:
- We are fighting an uphill battle with affordability.
There are problems with affordable housing that won’t be solved just by bringing the price down.
From local to global, this is a big, real and worthwhile problem to solve.
3 Strands means a lot to us. And the more we look at these challenges, the more we realize no single strand solves the problem. We must create a solution that weaves multiple ideas together to truly make a lasting and durable impact.”
Director of Operations
With such innovative technology, the Vulcan II printer from ICON can fundamentally change the way we think about designing and building communities.