By Ken Abramczyk
Retirees move to metro Atlanta to escape the chilly winters of the Northeast and Midwest, while job transferees and new hires relocate to the area fueled by optimism for a fresh start. These home buyers look for unique and creative lifestyles to fit their evolving needs, which often include a desire for both leisurely experiences and workplace options at their doorsteps. Fortunately, Atlanta’s booming economy has spurred a new urbanism with imaginative live-work-play community designs in mixed-use developments throughout the area. Marked by environmentally friendly and creative layouts, these communities offer convenience, beauty and walkability so that residents can live healthy lives in dream homes with everything they could want within reach.
Located in Alpharetta off of GA 400, this 86-acre community features more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, a 12-screen movie theater, outstanding dining options, a conference center and hotel, office space, luxury single-family residences and well-appointed apartment homes. North American Properties, Avalon’s developer, introduced a new formula for mixed-use developments by meshing an urban environment with a traditional suburban community, all while responding to demand in today’s experience economy, according to Nina DeCristofano, marketing manager at Avalon.
Avalon is a “mecca of shopping and dining centered on the value of community,” DeCristofano says. “Residents can take advantage of Avalon’s strategic location and incredible mix of amenities, experiencing the best of what the destination has to offer.” For those who want to live in Avalon, the development offers two luxury apartment home options that provide access to Avalon’s time-saving concierge services; Haven features one- and two-bedroom floor plans and is recognized for its rich interior finishes, while Veranda’s one- and two-bedroom plans are designed around modern luxury. Additionally, Avalon Homes by Monte Hewett is an exclusive onsite courtyard neighborhood featuring 25 single-family homes and more than 75 courtyard-attached residences.
The development also boasts 108,000 square feet of modern loft office space located over the retail space in the heart of the community, along with 474,000 square feet in two separate buildings, each featuring a fitness center and private terrace. And companies that choose Avalon as a home base have access to gigabit technology that offers Internet speeds 100 times faster than normal.
Additionally, more than 200 annual events throughout the year attract residents and visitors alike to Avalon, including fashion shows, children’s playtimes, charity events, weekly yoga and live music. As DeCristofano notes, “Avalon’s mix of residential, office and retail uses compound to form a ripple effect that positively impacts not only the property, but also surrounding developments and home value.”
The Battery Atlanta
You wouldn’t think that a sports and entertainment complex would give you the opportunity to live on site, but The Battery Atlanta does. Home of Truist Park and the Atlanta Braves, the complex is an entertainment mecca, and residents have the opportunity to be in the center of it all.
“The Battery has earned the reputation of a one-stop-shop, where guests can discover the best entertainment 365 days a year,” says Lauren Abernethy, senior director of marketing for The Battery Atlanta. Anyone who wants to live near the hubbub can rent an apartment at Cortland at the Battery Atlanta. The apartment complex is home to 531 one-, two- and three-bedroom units with access to a resort-style pool and sundeck, an indoor/outdoor resident lounge with an outdoor fireplace, an array of social events and ticket discounts to Braves games. What’s more, The Battery showcases 74 acres of entertainment located at the prime freeway intersection of I-75 and I-285, making it possible to enjoy events both at home, thanks to such venues as The Coca-Cola Roxy and Silverspot Cinema, and in locations around metro Atlanta. For instance, this fall, the Xfinity Friday night Fall Movie Series will run from October 29 through December 10; the outdoor movie series features family-favorite classics.
For those who want to work close to home, The Battery Atlanta offers exceptional opportunities. With 800,000 square feet of office space, a number of companies have taken advantage of the development’s excellent location, as well as its multi-terabit capacity. Some of the tenants include Comcast’s southeast regional headquarters, Regus SPACES, Southern Lighting, Dickey Broadcasting, Papa John’s, TKE North American’s headquarters and DCO Commercial Flooring. Looking for a new position in metro Atlanta has never been so easy, courtesy of The Battery.
This 135-acre, trail-oriented community redefines how Forsyth County residents can live, work, dine, connect with nature and support the local community, according to Phil Mays, principal at RocaPoint Partners and developer of HALCYON. The community offers a mix of shopping, dining and recreation options, as well as single-family and multi-family residences, all centered around the Village Green. Once additional single-family homes are completed, HALCYON will offer nearly 700 new homes and apartments. Monte Hewitt Homes already has developed 31 townhomes and 31 single-family homes on the retail village side of the development. Empire Homes is constructing 42 single-family detached homes and 101 townhomes across Ronald Reagan Boulevard. Two luxury apartment communities were completed in 2020 with 460 total units, including a 160-unit active adult community.
Independent businesses and first-to-market national retailers, restaurants and service providers thrive with more than 30 concepts, including a wine-and-craft shop, a contemporary Pilates and dance cardio studio and a high fashion pet boutique. In addition, as of May 2021, HALCYON features a total of 20 different dining options. Furthermore, the community’s retail component spans 260,000 square feet. For companies looking for options on the north side of town outside the Perimeter, HALCYON’S office space offers flexibility in floor plans and modern clean interiors; Building 1100, a four-story, 60,000-square-foot space, is expected to be completed in late 2020.
Mays says, “From its inception, Halcyon was consistently recognized as the most anticipated development project in Forsyth County and northern metro Atlanta.” And in 2020, the burgeoning development was recognized as a finalist for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards.
Serenbe, a 1,400-acre community, was built around the concept of biophilia, in which humans tend to be drawn to nature in a sustainable community. With dense clusters of residential, live-work and commercial units in three hamlet neighborhoods, as well as two more in the works, each area focuses on an element of a “well-lived” life, including arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment, health for wellbeing and education for awareness. And Serenbe plans to build 1,400 more homes or units.
“Homes vary in style and architecture, although most require a front porch pulled closely to the sidewalk to foster walkability and community,” says Stevie Seay, Serenbe’s public relations manager and podcast producer. “We offer single-family homes, estate homes, townhouses, live-work units, apartments, larger farmette lots and even smaller style homes under 900 square feet.” Built around a certified organic farm, the streets feature edible and medicinal landscaping throughout the community. Serenbe preserves 70 percent of the land for agriculture and recreation, and 15 miles of walking trails through preserved forestland and sidewalks connect these commercial and residential areas.
More than 30 businesses have opened in Serenbe. Traditional amenities include tennis courts, a dog park, basketball courts, lakes, trails and wellness offerings. Most commonly, Serenbe residents are looking for a greater sense of community and connection to nature. “Most residents find themselves at Serenbe because they sense a greater purpose in life,” Seay says. “They want to move to a place that fosters community, wellbeing, home and a healthier place for all.”
Once known as Pinewood Forest, this 1,000-acre community was rebranded as Trilith when London-based Pinewood Studio sold their interest in the studio, located across Veterans Parkway, to a local ownership group. And demand for this live-create-play development and its lifestyle is overwhelming, according to Rob Parker, president of the Town at Trilith. The community has sold 200 homes, with plans in place for a total of 750 residences; home options feature micro homes, cottages, townhomes, villages and custom homes.
Trilith is committed to environmental sustainability, Parker says, making the community’s geothermal homes an “essential green play.” He continues, “Using the earth to heat and cool our homes by using 40 to 70 percent less energy speaks to our target audience of young, emerging creatives from all over the world.” Without mechanical units, the community is quiet and peaceful, he adds. “We have sold every home and rented every apartment we have completed. People have responded to the beautiful design, the walkability, the restaurants and retail and the clear sense of authentic community.”
On either side of an eight-acre Central Park are 18 pocket parks for small gatherings, all part of the town’s commitment to keeping 51 percent of its land as green space. Residents and their families can splash and swim in a resort-style swimming pool, walk 15 miles of trails or play on tennis courts, a basketball court and multiple playgrounds. Additionally, with 270,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, including experiential retail shops, fitness and wellness facilities and restaurants, residents have plenty of options to relax, browse and shop. Parker concludes, “The change created a new opportunity to launch a brand new community that would bring together the studio operations with the town, creating one 1,000-acre mixed-use project.”
On the Horizon
Metro Atlanta’s current mixed-use communities are only the beginning for the local market. Additional highly anticipated developments are weaving their way through master plan updates and permit processes and will be available for residents and visitors in the near future. Some of those developments include:
Located at The Gulch in Downtown Atlanta near Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this $5 billion project is expected to transform parking lots and former railyards into an experiential mixed-use development. It is expected to house commercial and residential uses by 2024. Centennial Yards South, the first phase of the project, includes loft-style apartments at 125 Ted Turner Drive, and office space and retail at 99 Ted Turner Drive. The two buildings will be connected by The Canyon, a pedestrian bridge, where a brewery is expected to open in December. Centennial Yards Co. recently unveiled renderings of ground-floor retail, restaurants and bars and hired Foster + Partners, a London-based architectural firm, to assist with the project’s recently updated master plan. More than one million square feet of the project is currently in the design phase.
Expected to open in 2022, this nine-acre development located in the heart of the Midtown Arts District consists of a 26-story, 612,000-square-foot office tower; an 18-floor, 355-unit residential building; 32,000 square feet of retail and a 12-story, 230-key Kimpton hotel. The office tower will be home to Invesco’s national headquarters. Restaurants and specialty shops are expected to add to the live-work-play experience on Arts Center Way, tucked between the office tower, apartment building and hotel.
Located at Perimeter Center Parkway and Hammond Drive in Dunwoody, this $2 billion development will include in its first phase 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 40,000 square feet of new loft office space, 222,000 square feet of existing office space and approximately 600 luxury rental apartments, all connected by a public park. The project’s master plan includes further retail opportunities and residential buildings to complete the main avenue, along with hotels and office components. The projected date for the completion of the development is still being decided.