In this category I will go over different New Urbanism projects, many of which I have personally visited. The first project I would like to talk about is Serenbe (www.serenbe.com). This is a large mixed use project in South Fulton County. It was started by Marie and Steve Nygren. This property was originally purchased by them as a rural getaway from Atlanta. In short, as they saw Metro-Atlanta marching further out, they helped form a 40,000 acre alliance called the Chattahoochee Hill Country. This alliance, now a city in South Fulton, created a set of development codes based upon New Urbanism.
Serenbe was the first development to start after the Chattahoochee Hill Country was formed. The development has a town center in the middle of the property that mimics historic downtown areas. The residential is clustered around this town center and a large portion of the property is conserved as open space. As I said, I have been to this project numerous times and it is very well built and most that go there think it is wonderful project. However, I would like you to visit their website and decide if this type of development should be mandated. If you look at the businesses that are located in the town center, they are mostly artists, art galleries, spas and the like. These are businesses that thrive in an environment like this. I would contend also that many of their customers come from other marketing avenues such as past clientele, the internet, etc. One business I visited is closed until March. How many of you have the luxury of closing your business until March? If you notice, there are no businesses that provide any type of services that you use in your daily life. Therefore those that live in this community cannot walk to the store to get what they need, they will have to drive somewhere else to get what they need.
The prices are also upper tier in Serenbe. A quick search of homes in the community produce a range of $299,000 for a 2 bedroom 2 bath to $1,000,000 for a 5 bedroom 5 bath.
Again I would like to emphasize that I think Serenbe is an excellent development and a great choice. I applaud the Nygren’s for this quality development. My question for the reader – should these projects be mandated?