Shamed developer withdraws floor plans ‘honoring’ Tubman, Frank

Publish Date: January 17, 2024

Written by Marian McPherson

- Originally published at Inman News - Marian McPherson

Albuquerque-based homebuilder Abrazo Homes drew the ire of social media users over the weekend for their floor plans named after Harriet Tubman and Anne Frank. The builder has edited the descriptions to remove historical facts about the women’s lives.

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A rough-and-tumble real estate market has forced real estate professionals to do whatever they can to cut through the noise, whether it’s posting personality-packed Instagram Reels, riffing on pop culture to create unforgetting listing videos, or hosting events to create a personal connection with the community.

However, there’s a thin line between creative genius and poor taste — as evidenced by X (formerly known as Twitter) users thrashing Albuquerque-based homebuilder Abrazo Homes for naming a floor plan after abolitionist and Black American icon Harriet Tubman.

“Just like Harriet Tubman, the icon of American courage and freedom, this home stands out amongst the crowd,” the now-deleted listing description read. “The ready-to-be-built Harriett floor plan with its distinctive elevation features an ‘entertainers’ kitchen with a bar top between the kitchen and the great room.”

“The owners’ suite features a spacious walk-in closet, and the optional vaulted ceilings in the great room can make it live larger than it is,” it continued. “Discover why this plan was the winner of the ‘Buyer’s Choice Award’ in the Parade of Homes.”

The Abrazo Homes now-deleted listing | Credit: Wayback Machine

The post gained traction on the X platform on Jan. 15 when @lisasaurstomp posted a link to Abrazo Homes’ Zillow listing for the quaint 1,556 square-foot Rio Rancho, New Mexico home. “I guarantee that you are not prepared for the description of this house,” the post read.

What ensued was a deluge of more than 500 responses that ranged from amusement — “I don’t know how, but I want to sue you for posting this” — to anger — “On [Martin Luther King, Jr.] Day!?”

The post caught the eye of The Washington Post tech journalist Taylor Lorenz, who found two other Abrazo Home listings named after famed Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor and German-born Jewish girl Anne Frank, whose diary about living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam was turned into a gripping memoir two years after she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“In her diary, Anne Frank discussed her view of the seasonally changing tree,” another now-deleted listing description on Abrazo’s site read. “In honor of her, we have designed our Anne plan to maximize the view, we feel would be suitable for Anne herself.”

“What the [expletive],” a user said in response to Lorenz’s video highlighting the floor plans named after Taylor and Frank.

The New York Times contacted Abrazo Homes on Tuesday about the listings. Abrazo Homes co-founder Brian McCarthy told the NYT the company named its floor plans after influential women to “acknowledge their place in history.”

“We recognize that the language used in the plan description is insufficient and understand how it might come across as insensitive and lacking awareness,” McCarthy told the publication in a written statement. “It’s unfortunate that this oversight has diminished our sincere efforts to pay homage to some of the most remarkable women in history.”

The Anne, Harriet and Taylor floorplans are still on Abrazo’s site, alongside plans named after Marilyn Monroe, Amelia Earhart, Selena Quintanilla, Frida Kahlo and several other famous women. However, the descriptions have been edited to simply mention the women’s names.

The company also has a collection of floor plans named after beer, including the IPA, the Pilsner and the Stout, and another collection of homes named after iconic places in Central and South America, such as Tulum and La Paz.

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