Traditions Building & Development Group
Traditions Building and Development Group evolves while remaining committed to its founding ideals.
By Jim Harris
Traditions Building and Development Group has made several significant changes during its 40 years of existence. Although it has evolved its services and adjusted to changing markets and demographics, there are several core elements to its business that have remained intact since it was founded in 1978.
“I think we have great founding principles and a sense of character that has always been a part of the company and I think we’ve tried to carry that with us,” Founder and President Tom Humes says.
Traditions Group’s success can be attributed to a very simple philosophy — a commitment to building lasting value in land, property, the community, in business and quality of life in the region. That philosophy is reflected in every Traditions neighborhood.
The company has also long understood the importance of location and building homes in walkable communities that are centrally located to parks and recreation, shopping, business centers, schools and major highways.
“Over the years, we’ve developed a unique ability to blend the most creative and innovative neighborhood lifestyle developments with the best design concepts and ideas in homebuilding and bring those together to create great places and spaces for people to live,” he adds.
Knowing the Market
Humes got his start right out of college by rehabbing homes in the Clifton area near the University of Cincinnati. “We financed our first construction loan with a Bank Americard credit card because we had absolutely no cash to invest at the time,” Humes recalls. This was a humble beginning for a company that would ultimately become a leading residential land developer and homebuilder in Greater Cincinnati.
In the late 80’s, Humes expanded from rehabbing and new home construction to begin developing master-planned communities targeted at the emerging baby boomer population. “We understood what the baby boomer generation was looking for early on,” he says, noting the company conducted an extensive marketing study shortly after its founding. “We were born of that generation and driven by a true focus on demographics and psychographics, or what the marketplace wants and what the marketplace needs,” Humes says.
“We recognized there was an opportunity that was evolving in a large way for us to focus on the aging baby boomer, or empty nester, as well as young professionals,” he adds. “We focus on creating smaller home sites in our developments that create a great sense of community and connectivity that appeals to the physical and emotional needs of the empty nester and professional buyer.”
The company has created more than 35 communities, and has developed over 4,000 acres and 4,500 home sites in some of Cincinnati’s most sought after locations. Well-known as a leader in their industry, Traditions Group has been recognized with over 250 awards for community planning and design, architecture and interior design, sales and marketing. Several communities have been named “Community of the Year” by the Homebuilders Association of Greater Cincinnati. Traditions Group’s homes range in cost from the high $200,000s to over $1 million, with an average selling price of around $630,000.
One of the company’s largest master-planned communities was the Wetherington Golf and Country Club community in Cincinnati’s northeastern suburb of West Chester. The development, which Traditions started in the early 1990s, includes 650 homes on 450 acres consisting of homes on large estate home sites designed to appeal to move-up family buyers. Traditions’ final phase of the development, Harbour Town Village, consists of 106 Courtyard Homes situated on smaller sites geared to empty nesters, says Doug Hinger, president of Traditions Building Group, the company’s building arm.
The community is a great example of how Traditions has continued to respond to the marketplace and the baby boom generation, many of whom are now looking to downsize their homes. Although homes may be smaller in square footage, the interiors are designed to maximize space, are ultra-high-style with upscale finishes and architectural details and generous outdoor spaces. Harbour Town is ideally located across from the all-new Liberty Center lifestyle retail and entertainment complex.
“The combination of high-quality locations and walkable neighborhoods transcend time,” Hinger adds. “We have found a way to make those elements attractive to a wider clientele.”
All Traditions clients can expect a high level of personalized customer service from the company. For two of the last three years, Avid Ratings, the nation’s leading evaluator of homebuilder performance, named Traditions Building Group the No. 1 small custom homebuilder in the country for outstanding customer experience.
“We’re very proud of that – everybody here is aligned to provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction,” Hinger says. “We have a very detailed program that communicates with buyers every step of the way. We don’t want any drama in the homebuilding process; we want it to be predictable and an enjoyable experience.”
In the past five years, Traditions shifted from its original model of developing communities for third-party builders to designing projects for which it is the exclusive builder. “Instead of developing land and selling it to 30 different builders, we design, plan and build all of our communities now,” Humes says.
The company’s comprehensive approach combines community planning and development with homebuilding to create branded, master-planned communities in Greater Cincinnati in both suburban and urban locations. While Traditions’ approach to homebuilding incorporates some elements of production building, it is able to customize elements of its homes to owners’ needs and reflect their personal styles.
Traditions’ ongoing projects include The Vintage Club of Montgomery in Cincinnati’s northeastern corridor. The community includes 105 upscale single-family homes, most of which are built. Work is underway on the project’s next phase, a unique village-style concept which will ultimately include 100 luxury condominium residences and 50,000-square-feet of office and retail buildings.
The company in the next few years expects to complete work at The Retreat at Summit Park, located on a 26 acres in Blue Ash, Ohio. The 85-home community is within walking distance of a new 130-acre world-class regional park and is minutes away from shopping, entertainment and businesses, Hinger notes.
In addition to building traditional home communities, the company in the past few years has diversified its portfolio with four urban infill projects in Cincinnati, known collectively as The City Series. One of these projects, Sanctuary Court, is located in the historic East Walnut Hills neighborhood in the city near its Downtown and Uptown districts. The development includes nine homes with modern architecture in a garden court setting. All nine homes sold out, Hinger adds, indicating a demand for upscale urban living.
The company’s urban infill projects continue a tradition of urban building that it began in 2006 with The Village at Stetson Square, a mixed-use community comprised of 75 upscale condominium residences, 205 luxury apartments, office and retail near the University of Cincinnati and the city’s medical district. The project served as a catalyst for further development within the Uptown area.
The Best is Yet to Come
Humes attributes much of the company’s past and present success to its staff. “We’ve always been blessed to have good people,” he says, noting many of the company’s employees have been there for at least 15 years, and some employees have been there more than 30 years or more.
“We have a special team of highly experienced, high-quality people at every level of our company that come together to synergistically create the wonderful communities and homes we offer to the market,” he adds.
The Traditions team remains committed to developing and building communities that impact the excitement and growth of the entire Greater Cincinnati community.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in these past 40 years. We also believe Cincinnati’s best years are yet to come and Traditions is perfectly positioned to help make it happen – one house and one community at a time,” Humes declares.