ANYONE THE LEAST BIT FAMILIAR WITH ATLANTA knows how hot the housing market is and how bad the traffic is. It's no surprise then that builders are revitalizing some in-town areas that had fallen on hard times because they offer home buyers the one thing they can't get in the 'burbs—a fast commute to downtown or the airport.
That was the impetus for the development of Providence, a TND (traditional neighborhood development) in Mableton, Ga., which is just 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta and 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. The location, a wide enough product mix to attract a broad base of buyers, and a first-class group of amenities, make Providence one of only two Atlanta projects to make this year's list of America's best-selling communities.
“It's a transitional area; we are on the leading edge of that transition,” says Terry Russell, CEO of Atlanta-based John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, the developer and builder of Providence. “You're reclaiming an older, skipped-over, depressed area. It's a bit of a gamble, but it is one with high rewards and lots of potential. We have bought another large tract down the street for another 450 homes. We have a lot of confidence in the area.”
The pedestrian-friendly gated community features plenty of open space, a large creek, and an abundance of walking trails. The product mix includes single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and “city homes” above retail space.
“That makes it unique,” Russell says. “It's so many different product types to appeal to a wide variety of buyers, buyers who might be single, newly married, families, and some of the move-down market as well. It's [sort of like] a multi-generational neighborhood. That's not true of all our locations.”
A clubhouse is designed for year-round use and includes a pool and tennis courts, a large fitness center, a kitchen, and meeting and function space.
“It has everything you can put in a clubhouse,” Russell says. “You can read the newspaper and have coffee on Sunday mornings and have large events in it. It's quite an exciting piece for the neighborhood.”
The entire Providence project features Craftsman-style architecture, which John Wieland first used in Charleston, S.C., and subsequently migrated into all its markets.
“It's a niche look,” Russell says. “It doesn't appeal to everyone, but it's very striking for the people who like it.”
Market: Atlanta; Project: Providence, Mableton, Ga.; Sales started: April 2002; Sales through March 2004: 122; Total units planned: 594; 196 single-family, 278 town-houses, 105 condominiums, 15 city homes; Unit size: 2,200 to 3,500-plus square feet (single-family); 1,525 to 2,370 square feet (town-houses); Price: $279,900 to $389,900 (single-family); $189,900 to $254,900 (townhouses);Builder/ Developer/Architect: John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Atlanta; Architect (clubhouse, gatehouse): Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, Memphis, Tenn.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.