Highland Homes finds success with La Cantera suite, potential for other locations around Texas

Highland Homes is doubling down on the choice to have a brick-and-mortar retail location in San Antonio.

The homebuilder, whose roots are in the Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas, operates a storefront called the Suite at La Cantera at the open-air mall on San Antonio’s Northwest Side.

That’s a strange choice for a homebuilder, especially when employed mainly as a marketing strategy, since it isn’t outfitted for closing home deals. Melissa Miketinac, marketing concierge at Highland’s La Cantera suite said it might be the only one of its kind in the country.

But the choice seems to have panned out for Highland. The five-year lease it signed with La Cantera included an 18-month out, which expired in 2021, but the builder is still going strong. In fact, a Highland spokesperson told the Business Journal in an email that it intends to renew the lease when the current contract expires.

“The suite paid for itself very quickly with new home sales and the overall return on investment has far exceeded our expectations. Our suite positions us to be a convenient resource for realtors, and the popularity of The Shops at La Cantera has allowed us to introduce Highland Homes to many local residents. Building those relationships is the heart of how we grow the Highland brand, and we consider them to be invaluable,” Highland told the Business Journal.

“In our first year, we teed up enough interest and appointments out to our communities that we ended up selling 36 houses. Last year, we sold 58,” Miketinac said.

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In fact, the experience has led the homebuilder to be open to other potential locations around Texas that could suit a similar retail location. “We are delighted how the suite is performing in San Antonio and are open to adapting the concept to our other three markets. The geographies and market conditions of greater San Antonio have made the suite uniquely perfect at The Shops at La Cantera, but we acknowledge the idea could work elsewhere in an equally great location,” Highland said.

Marketing the suite is split almost 50-50 between potential homebuyers and real estate agents, according to Miketinac.

“Realtors will come here specifically knowing they have a buyer who is looking for homes with certain parameters,” she said. The suite is outfitted with two large touch-screen displays that feature all of Highland’s communities in the San Antonio area that agents can use to filter out homes that don’t fit the bill. “Especially during the pandemic and when gas prices went up, you don’t want to drive all over town with your clients. It’s a waste of time and money.”

The homebuilder recently struck a deal for home lots with Veramendi, a master-planned community in New Braunfels. It plans to close about 400 homes this year — similar to last year’s numbers.

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