Avalon sees residential sales climb

Still building new homes, apartments

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – When the 86-acre Avalon development opened in October 2014, it touted itself as the next hot place to be in the north metro Atlanta area. Certainly, from a retail perspective that holds true – dozens of top-tier stores have populated the streets of the property, offering the “experiential” lifestyle Avalon’s developers, North American Properties, had hoped.

A key part of that experience is not simply the many visitors walking the streets of Avalon. Rather, it is the residents who live on-site.

Hundreds of apartments stack above the shops in a mixed-use fashion, and single-family detached and attached homes are being built on the periphery. These residents are the ones who will have to live on the property, walking between shops on a daily basis.

Approaching six months since Avalon opened, how is the residential side doing?

The answer: progressing.

The single largest hurdle to populating the residential side of the development is that the homes are still being built.

Kelly Kingsfield, with Monte Hewitt Homes, the single-family home builder, said the site will ultimately have 101 residences for sale, 24 of which are traditional “detached” homes and 77 are “attached” – typically known as townhomes.

Each home will have its own private space, with some including courtyards of up to 3,300 square feet – that’s large enough to fit a swimming pool.

Currently, there are 15 attached units complete. Of these, six are sold. A further three are under contract, but not yet complete.

The first single-family home is being built now with two more expected to break ground shortly.

The homes fetch between $579,000 to more than $2 million. No homes have been sold yet in the $500s, however. Kingsfield said all the sales so far are above the $700s.

The square footage ranges from 2,400 square feet to 6,700 square feet.

“The interest is going as we expected,” Kingsfield said. The model home has had continual foot-traffic, she said, with more than 1,000 people viewing the home some weekends.

“That’s not a problem a lot of homebuilders have had for a while,” she said.

With a total of just over 100 units expected, Kingsfield said it will take years to fully build out.

Beyond single-family homes, apartments are what people first think of when asked about “mixed-use.” In Avalon, this component is called “Haven.” There are 250 to be built in Phase 1, with about 200 completed to date. Just over half are one-bedroom apartments, with the rest being two-bedroom. The one-bedroom apartments begin in price in the $1,500s per month, with two bedrooms going in the $2,300s. The premier two-bedroom apartments can fetch more than $5,000 a month.

Richard Munger, partner and vice president of development for North American Properties, said he expects the remainder of the apartments to be complete within 60 days.

All of the apartments are rentals. About 33 percent have been rented so far.

“There has been a tremendous amount of interest,” Munger said. “We are right where thought we would be.”

He said he expects more residents to move in once warmer weather sets in – the winter can slow the moving process.

Still, Avalon had what Munger called “considerable” interest from potential residents. The first tenants moved in within two weeks of the property opening.

These families range in age from the 20s to 87, with the average age in the mid- to upper-40s, he said, which is exactly what Avalon had hoped.

“We are looking at professionals, empty-nesters and retirees,” Munger said.

One of those residents is Kevin Myers, who lives in Haven. He rents a two-bed, two-bath apartment on the fourth floor near the iconic fire pit of Avalon.

“I absolutely love it,” he said.

He and his wife, Tammy, are both in their 50s and were living in East Cobb when they became empty-nesters.

“We decided we wanted to do something different,” Myers said. “We didn’t want a large house.”

While they were initially skeptical about Avalon, the couple warmed to it as they saw it develop. They finally decided to commit. Myers said there is no looking back.

“Now we don’t have to worry about driving everywhere we need to,” he said. “We don’t need two cars anymore. Everything is right here at our fingertips.”

Kingsfield said this is the biggest draw of the residences.

“Where else can you walk out your front door and in your front yard is a Whole Foods and some of the most exclusive shopping available?” she asked. “This is a unique destination. Avalon is a destination that sets us apart from everywhere else.”

03-25-15


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