Tradition Told Its Community Needs Lower Priced Homes

After studying the Tradition master planned community this week, a group of acclaimed architects came to this realization. If the project is going to be good for the environment, and good for the economy, it better focus on affordablity. Members of the Urban Land Institute believe Tradition needs more $150,000 homes, and fewer $350,000 residences.

They came to that conclusion after a week of touring the community, interviewing residents, and analyzing data. "Tradition is a viable product," Urban Land Institute panel chairman Dan Van Epp said. But his organization believes the master planned community's core foundation has a few cracks. And according to the chairman, those cracks could prevent Tradition from enhancing the environment, and becoming a financial success. "We think that an aspect of sustainability has to do with having a very diverse population within the community over time," he said.

In other words, Tradition needs to build and sell more houses that more people can afford.

Joe Canizaro is Tradition's creator. "What they've convinced me to do is maybe to integrate the workforce housing within the village," he said.

Canizaro invited the Urban Land Institute to study his development this week and recommend how it could be improved. Adding workforce housing to the village area of his project is now going to become one of his priorities. "This gives us an opportunity to sort of relook at what we're doing and come out in a stronger and a more sustainable kind of way," he said.

The Urban Land Institute findings urged Tradition developers to tighten up their master plan, so when more of the community comes out of the ground, it isn't spread out. The architects also felt a smaller retail village should be built around a lake, rather than a large shopping area with a lot of empty stores. The environment, and walkability will remain two hallmarks of Tradition Village.

Land institute architects believe combining those elements with more modestly prices homes will give it a leg up on the competition. And that's what Canizaro is after. "I'm going to call our group of architects, planners, engineers, my staff together and develop a strategic plan around their findings," he said.

The Tradition neighborhood is already home to St. Patrick's High School. Soon, William Carey University will relocate to the Highway 67 community. So will a medical facility run by Biloxi Regional Medical Center.