Attendance has been strong for the Metro Omaha Builders Association 2019 Street of Dreams home tour that opened Sept. 7 at Bridgeport in Gretna.

"Weekend traffic has been especially heavy, and we've had lots of support from the Gretna community," says MOBA Executive Director Jaylene Eilenstine. 

The tour, which runs through Sunday, features five fully decorated and landscaped luxury homes from four custom builders: Landmark Performance Homes, Lifetime Structures Luxury Homes, Shamrock Builders and Sierra Homes.

Prices range from $636,000 to $875,000. All but one of the homes, ranging in architectural style from lodge-like to mid-century modern, are for sale. 

“Street of Dreams is well-suited for anyone looking to build a new home or remodel or redesign an existing home,” Eilenstine says.

The public will have the opportunity to learn more about the Street of Dreams homes at a Meet the Builder event from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"Even if you don't have a Street of Dreams budget, this is a great opportunity to talk with the builders about possibilities in your price point," Eilenstine says.

Highlights of the Street of Dreams tour — based on feedback from tour-goers — include one house for two generations from Shamrock Builders, a smart home technology hub incorporated by Sierra Homes, and a second-level veranda with fireplace from Lifetime Structures. 

The latest in lighting and appliances also have drawn raves, along with innovative design and sustainable products and materials, Eilenstine says.

“A new home is probably the best, largest investment in most families’ lives,” says Gene Graves of Graves Development Resources, host of the tour. For that reason, Street of Dreams is designed to draw a cross-section of attendees.

“It does not cater to just high-end individuals by any means," Graves says. "It is mostly for people to get ideas, to stimulate their imaginations. That is important in all price ranges in new homes.”

Graves is the reason the luxury home showcase got its start 34 years ago, according to Eilenstine.

Graves brought back the idea from a trip to Portland, Oregon, in 1982. He was president of MOBA at the time and pitched the builder showcase to his board.

When some members expressed apprehension, Graves took two busloads of Omaha builders to Des Moines for its Street of Dreams. The experience convinced the Omaha group that if MOBA were to showcase the best homes on the market, people would flock to see them.

Applewood Heights, northeast of 108th and Harrison Streets in Omaha, became the site of the first MOBA Street of Dreams in 1985.

Among Bridgeport's amenities are an elementary and a middle school within walking distance, and a soon-to-be-built high school and community pool.

For more information on the tour, visit moba.com.

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A new home is built out of lumber, bricks, mortar and other construction materials.

But where a home builder sees costs and timelines, a homeowner sees opportunity.

“We sometimes lose sight that this is an incredible part of the American dream,” said Omaha developer Gene Graves, owner of Graves Development Resources.

Graves is the developer that is hosting this year’s Street of Dreams, presented by the Metro Omaha Builders Association. He’s also the reason the show, now in its 34th year, first came to Omaha.

“A new home is probably the best, largest investment in most families’ lives,” Graves said. “We wanted to give special emphasis to new homes and what the state-of-the-art could do when you had a high-priced luxury home.”

In 1982, Graves found himself in Portland, Oregon, at a similar event. He was president of MOBA at the time, and he came home eager to have his board approve an Omaha showcase.

Initially, though, other builders on the MOBA board were apprehensive. It would be another decade before the launch of HGTV.

So, to prove the concept, Graves loaded a couple of buses with Omaha builders, including his fellow MOBA board members, and set out for a show in Des Moines. They soon realized that if they showed the best homes in the market, people would flock to the event.

The first Omaha Street of Dreams was held in 1985 at Applewood Heights, a neighborhood northeast of 108th and Harrison Streets. The show has traveled across the associations’ three-county area since then, and this year it returns to Sarpy County for another GDR development.

The 2019 Street of Dreams will be at Bridgeport, close to 180th Street and Cornhusker Road in Gretna. It features five luxury homes that were built, designed, staged and landscaped with the latest innovative products.

“This event is well suited for anyone looking to build, remodel or redesign their existing home. It’s also suited for families searching for the newest home amenities,” said MOBA executive director Jaylene Eilenstine.

Graves said the show, which runs Sept. 7-22, draws a cross-section of people.

“It does not cater to just high-end individuals by any means,” Graves said. “It is mostly for people to get ideas – to stimulate their imaginations. That is important in all price ranges in new homes.”

The Street of Dreams features homes from Landmark Performance Homes, Lifetime Structures Luxury Homes, Shamrock Builders and Sierra Homes. Amenities on the tour include a guest suite with private entrance, large working pantries, a glassed-in exercise room, a spa-like master bath and a covered deck with see-through fireplace.

Matt Kronaizl, president of Sierra Homes, said smart speakers from Google and Amazon are being fully integrated into homes, controlling appliances, blinds, lights and thermostats.Relator Cathy Blackman said the Shamrock Builders home features three ovens: a convection oven, a fast-cooking and an extra oven in the pantry for baking or preparing largeholiday meals.

The public, along with a panel of industry judges, will have the opportunity to vote for the Best of the Street of Dreams awards.

When touring the homes, Graves encourages people tolook at both the architecture and how the spaces could fit their lifestyles. Room configurations, interior design and overall appeal are all factors to consider, Graves said.

“They’ll see how rooms can function as different spaces than they might be used to,” Graves said. “They’re not going to see the homes like these anywhere else.”

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