If you ask Casey Hill, president of Pulte Homes' northern Georgia division, what makes a place worthy of a Del Webb community, he says, first and foremost, “it's organic demand.” There must be enough people to support it. Second, it has to be a spot within the overall market to which the locals are migrating. And if you can throw in an influx of seniors who want to be near their kids and grandkids, then you've got the makings for a “fantastic opportunity.”
Of course, that means nothing if you can't find the right piece of ground. And in the case of 1,728-acre Sun City Peachtree and 600-acre Village at Deaton Creek, Hill says he “got very, very lucky” in latching on to a site with some serious acreage; close to the metro Atlanta area's entertainment, dining, and medical facilities; and physically appealing. “Without the right topography, you are not giving active adults everything they are looking for,” says the Pulte executive. “Nature is very, very important to active adults, and it can't be added later on.”
Whereas most builders salivate over entitled land, Hill says when it comes to the Del Webb brand, raw land is a must—and lots of it. “We think it is important to start with a blank canvas,” Hill explains. “It's difficult to find an already-approved parcel that meets all the needs and desires of active adults. A Sun City is not like a traditional neighborhood. It must be designed with active adults in mind.”
Indeed, “largely because it's a Del Webb community,” Sun City Peachtree is the largest master planned community ever approved in Spalding County. “One of the things that makes my job a lot easier is our great brand name and reputation, and that carries over to zoning authorities,” Hill says.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.