At first glance, the upscale development with the exotic sounding name appears to be just like all the other upscale developments with exotic sounding names.
Heaven knows, there are plenty of them here in the mountains along the Wasatch Back, where ski-in, ski-out access is all the rage and homes cost as much as LeBron James’s salary.
Does anyone else offer circadian rhythm lighting?
Does anyone else offer halotherapy?
Does anyone else offer advanced air purification and water filtration?
It is the not immodest boast of the 115 residences of the soon-to-be-built Velvære community development that they will be the healthiest homes in America.
You think it’s clean living outside, wait’ll you step inside.
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Chad Magleby is a second generation Utah homebuilder. He’s been in the brick-and-mortar business ever since his father, Paul, started Magleby Construction in the 1970s.
But right now he isn’t talking brick and mortar. He’s talking wellness.
“We’re trying to revolutionize what it means to be well. Our intentional and deliberate focus is on incorporating and integrating wellness into our community,” he says as he shows off the foundations that were poured just this morning — the first in the Magleby development located at the base of the now-under-construction ski resort that sits adjacent to Deer Valley Resort.
The ski area — projected to be twice as large as Deer Valley if all goes as planned — has not been named. For the moment, people are calling it Mayflower, for the nearest exit off of U.S. 40.
The new housing development, however, has been named.
“It’s pronounced ‘Vell-Vair,’” says Chad, who explains that Velvære is a Norwegian word that translates to “A state of well-being where nature and surroundings are intrinsically linked to being whole.”
Air, water and light are what Chad calls “the big three pillars” of a healthy environment. To that end, Velvære houses will feature top-end purified air and water filtration systems designed to block virtually all toxins and pollutants, while the lighting systems will feature circadian rhythm lights that dim and brighten as if you were outside under the sun.
“What happens is we put ourselves in these manmade boxes that have the same light temperature coming out of lightbulbs all day,” says Chad, “As a result, we condition our bodies to not know how to go to sleep largely because of the light that’s been introduced into our homes. Ketra is a product (we use) that has a smart computer program built into the backside, so the lights inside your home change with the color temperature of the light outside.”
Beyond homes with the best natural light, cleanest air and purest water technology can produce, the Velvære community will include a stand-alone wellness center featuring an array of health-inducing things, from traditional saunas and steam rooms to halotherapy (sniffing salt) to hyperbaric chambers (breathing in pure oxygen) to IV therapy (getting nutrients without eating) to cryotherapy, which involves plunging into a chamber full of liquid nitrogen at minus 220 degrees for three minutes (great for circulation and the skin — providing you survive).
That’s in addition to the skiing and hiking, biking and jogging trails right outside your door.
“Think of it as a country club for wellness,” says Chad. “I will tell you the technology is out there to help us try to grow younger instead of grow older.”
Chad has been thinking about building these kinds of healthy homes ever since he was 31 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a situation he attributes, at least in part, to an unhealthy diet.
“Oh man, I had a horrible lifestyle,” he confesses. “I love sugar, it was bowls of ice cream and candy corn as much as I could eat. Halloween was definitely my favorite holiday. I like to tell people I earned my diabetes fair and square.”
Becoming suddenly health conscious at a young age affected his outlook on homebuilding. As he worked alongside his father and eventually took over the family business, he identified more and more ways to build healthier houses.
Then, when the opportunity came to purchase 60 acres at the base of a new ski resort overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir, he realized he’d found “this great sandbox where we could incubate our ideas and pull them together.”
The undertaking is not inexpensive. The houses will range in size from 2,000 square feet to 8,500 square feet and cost between $4 million and $16 million.
Chad knows they’re breaking new ground.
“Holistic wellness integrated into a residential community does not exist anywhere in the United States of America,” he says. “There are destination resorts you can spend a week or two at and get your wellness treatments, and then you go home to your unwell home and your unwell community.”
Chad’s dream is that Velvære will start a trend and open the door to more affordable communities focused on holistic well-being.
“A lot of people I know that have everything money can buy, still the one thing they value the most is their health,” he says. “The material things, they checked that box and it was fun for a minute, but those material things don’t give them quality of life. When you develop a sickness or chronic illness there’s no amount of money people don’t try to spend to get healthy.”