By Lindsay Penticuff
October 24, 2016
City Focus Features

Community Focus: Serenbe
Neighbors and nature intermingle in this south-of-Atlanta locale

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Concerned that urban sprawl would disrupt a beautiful rural area approximately 35 minutes southwest of Atlanta, Steve and Marie Nygren established the agrarian community Serenbe 11 years ago.

Located in Chattahoochee Hills, a city that is home to nearly 3,000 people in the last undeveloped area of Fulton County, Serenbe is full of fresh food, fresh air and focused on well-being. The neighborhood is set among acres of preserved forests and meadows with miles of nature trails that connect homes and restaurants with arts and businesses.

Steve and Marie Nygren discovered the property while on a weekend outing to introduce their children to the Georgia countryside in 1991. “Serenbe is all about common sense ways to develop places for us to live and how we can interrelate with nature and each other in a meaningful way,” says Steve.serenbe-dining

The couple recognized the importance of nature and was increasingly concerned with how to protect the beautiful countryside. Thus, Serenbe was created as a model to demonstrate that preserving 70 percent of greenspace interlaced with agriculture, housing and retail are not only economically viable but the future of community wellbeing. The first house was built in Serenbe in 2005, and today the community is home to more than 450 residents.

“We set out with the intention to truly create a place that is authentic, a place that is living, a place that is breathing, a place that honors nature, a place that honors people, a place that honors art and beauty,” adds Garnie Nygren, Steve’s daughter and Serenbe’s director of operations, “and doing that all holistically, where you can meet people where they are, people who are moving here ... opting to want a better life for themselves and their families.”

Each of Serenbe’s hamlets — Selborne, Mado and Grange — has a complementary commercial center focused on the elements of a well-lived life: arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment and health for wellbeing; and a future fourth neighborhood will focus on education for awareness.

Fresh food is another of Serenbe’s natural assets, with a 25-acre organic farm, seasonal Saturday Farmer’s Market, thriving community support agriculture program and edible landscaping, including blueberry bushes along paths and sidewalks.

Year-round cultural events include outdoor theater at the Serenbe Playhouse, culinary workshops and festivals, music events, films and lectures, boutique shopping, art galleries, a spa and trail riding, plus a robust Artist in Residence program featuring dinners and talks.

Serenbe has won numerous awards, including the Urban Land Institute’s Inaugural Sustainability Award, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s “Development of Excellence” and EarthCraft named Serenbe the “Development of the Year.”

“I’m amazed because we started this just to protect our own backyard,” Steve Nygren says. “To my surprise, Serenbe is already becoming a national and international model in community development.”

Serenbe is all about common sense ways to develop places for us to live and how we can interrelate with nature and each other in a meaningful way,” - Steve Nygren

Lights, Camera, Investment

Behind California and New York, Georgia is the No. 3 filming location in the United States, and when film crews scout out long-term accommodations for cast and crew, Serenbe stands out for its setting and selection.

Serenbe also partners with Atlanta-based interior design firms to offer full furnishing of any investment property for rentals. Starting at approximately $15,000, two bedrooms can be furnished to become a second-home hideaway or rental property, including linens, decor and flatware.

The management side can be turnkey as well. The Inn at Serenbe’s Rental Program offers exclusive advantages to owners looking to rent out their property. Advantages of this include a housekeeping and maintenance team, online reservations system and full-time conference services focused on increasing year-round executive occupancy via corporate and group business at Serenbe.

Living Well at All Ages

With the development of Serenbe’s newest neighborhood, Mado, the community will be able to further expand cultural and wellness offerings to include something for everyone: a destination hotel and spa, a resort-style pool, a fitness center, yoga and Pilates studio and up to seven more restaurants. There will also be commercial opportunities, such as a juice bar and tea house, medical offices and early childhood education and care, including an elementary school campus.

European-style plazas will flow seamlessly into the natural, preserved woods. Mixed-use lofts and live-work units will include stores and retail experiences that act as vibrant icons within the community. Eastern and Western medical offices and services will provide business opportunities for start-ups and mid-size firms.

With a rising need for wellness-focused facilities that cater to older adults, Mado is also creating a pocket neighborhood of 16 cottages that are designed for adults 55 and older. These cottages integrate progressive and thoughtful design features into every home, including front doors leading to a medicinal garden with outdoor rooms. Owners will also have access to a professionally managed, fully-furnished Garden Club House, complete with gourmet kitchen, expansive living and dining rooms and two guest suites for visitors.

To learn more about the community, visit serenbe.com, and then make an appointment with Serenbe Real Estate to walk the lots and explore multiple housing options from primary and secondary to investment options.

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