Building Places for People with Meristem Communities
Changes are coming to a property on Harlem Road in Richmond, TX. Founding Partners of Meristem Communities, a Houston-based real estate development firm that emphasizes creating places for people, Scott Snodgrass and Clayton Garrett sit down with Em and Aim this week to talk about Indigo, their community project that combines housing and business development in Fort Bend county. Coming to a neighborhood near you in 2024, Scott and Clayton give listeners a heads up on what to expect and why to choose Indigo!
[00:00] Podcast begins – Building Places for People with Meristem Communities
[03:59] From edible landscapes to livable communities
[17:14] Managing the struggles of Harvey & COVID
[28:32] Understanding complications & expecting criticisms
[42:18] Building safer developments & stronger communities
[58:00] Impacting affordable housing beyond Fort Bend county
[1:08:32] An on-site, in-depth look at the Indigo community
When did that switch flip between farming and developing a community?
Ambitious plans for farming and agriculture fell through for Scott and Clayton when Hurricane Harvey and pressure from the county and the city created a perfect storm of stress and discontent. As disheartening as it was to run into these obstacles, the struggle to adapt created a new opportunity for Scott and Clayton to engage with the community that cared about Harvest Green and wanted to see something productive and proactive done with the space that will now be the Indigo community.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve lived in master planned communities almost my entire life, and until several years ago, I couldn’t have told you what that meant. I think that the reality is a lot of people still don’t know what that is and where they’re living.” – Scott Snodgrass
What are some of the struggles of building these smaller, more affordable homes?
Although Indigo is designed with people in mind, Scott and Clayton have found that they’ve still received pushback from other developers, contractors, and members of the community that don’t quite see the vision. Real estate has been focused for a long time on increasing pricing and maximizing space, without considering the people who live in these homes or communities. Scott and Clayton believe that Indigo’s smaller homes and increased walkability will be revolutionary for the Fort Bend area.
There’s another interesting wrinkle in the conversation you have with people where they ask, ‘Oh, who would want an 800 square foot cottage?’ Well, a lot of people would. We really struggle with square footage because they don’t mean anything to actual buyers, it’s status.” – Clayton Garrett
How do you want people who live in the Indigo community to feel and interact with the space around them?
Beyond the basic amenities of a master planned neighborhood, Scott and Clayton want the people who live in Indigo to feel like they live in a thriving community. There’s a local farm, a nearby pasture, a bustling commons area, and an emphasis on walkable spaces, including more space for sidewalks than for cars. Families living in Indigo won’t need to drive 15 or 20 minutes just to get out of the suburbs for a cocktail or to buy dinner at the local grocer.
“So, my expectation is people will be able to leave their house and walk down to the Indigo Commons, which is our commercial retail center, this sort of heartbeat of our community so people can leave their house and engage in what’s happening on the street.” – Clayton Garrett
How do development patterns change our communities?
Many of us fear the worst for our communities and worry greatly about finding a safe, affordable place to live without sacrificing the simple pleasures we love, like coffee shops and gathering places. Indigo is designed to be community-driven and people-focused without sacrifice. Scott and Clayton believe that creating Indigo can have a revolutionary ripple-effect in communities throughout Texas, hopefully inspiring more purposeful space usage and safer environments.
“The narrative that we want to tell at Meristem is the work that we do, whatever scale it is, we’re creating places for people. Not for cars, not for corporations, not for capital, which are the three things that really seem to drive development patterns in Houston.” – Scott Snodgrass
Get in touch with Scott Snodgrass on LinkedIn
Get in touch with Clayton Garrett on LinkedIn
Learn more about Meristem Communities