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A community that feels like home

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We hear a lot about the needs and concerns of the baby-boomer generation and senior citizens in general. Whatever senior age group you’re in, vis-à-vis, 50s, 60s, 70s, etc., your plans for the future might be significantly different from those of your past.

Traditionally, when we get married and plan to start a family, we look for a home with a piece of property and we begin paying a mortgage, ad valorem taxes, insurance and, perhaps, lawn and pool maintenance. Once the children are grown and out on their own we may begin to view the costs of home ownership differently.

After all, the extra bedrooms are just taking up space; that extended family room seems larger than necessary; and the pool is seldom used anymore. Nevertheless, if you enjoy the memories of the town where you raised your kids, some of whom may still reside in the area, you’re loath to move out of a community that feels like home.

One the other side of the equation, suppose you’re a member of that young adult age group, often referred to as millennials, and you’re looking for a place to live as you begin saving for a home. Most people, at one time or another, have lived in an apartment.

Hence, each individuals’ experiences, good or bad, will probably influence their opinions for the foreseeable future. If you lived in a substandard multi-family dwelling in an urban area, you might get some negative vibes when you hear the word, “apartment.”

Conversely, if you have spent some time in a modern, upscale, and comfortable suite of rooms with enough amenities to satisfy your aesthetic needs, apartment living may be a pleasant part of your reverie.

Recently, I met with David Watson, Managing Principal at Direct Development (DD), and Steve Bancroft, Senior Managing Director at Trammell Crow Residential (TCR). Together, these two premium developers are proposing to build Alexan Highland Court, described as a resort style development, on about 32 acres of property which runs from Long Prairie Road, and College Parkway, southwest to Rippy Road.The $90 million project would consist of about 700 apartments for rent, 45 town homes for sale and another 22 town homes for rent.

Inasmuch as TCR is a specialty apartment builder, the company would build the 700 units, while Direct Development would be responsible for the rest of the construction. Speaking of responsibility, Trammel Crow Residential would be hiring a management company to assure that standards of excellence are maintained. Renters would pay their monthly fees, ranging from $1,350 to about $1,800, to Trammel Crow Residential, the ultimate owners of the property. Incidentally, the most recent local project built by Direct Development is the modish Tom Thumb supermarket across from Bridlewood.

The town homes, which are projected to be from just over a thousand square feet up to 2,500 square feet, will have a price range from $350,000 to $425,000. About 3 acres will be committed to a park and neighborhood pavilion. Moreover, there will be a “special amenity area” and a “green space” running through the center of the property.

As for retail, it’s pretty much a case of “build it (the customer base), and they will come.” Given the amount of retail growth in town during the last few years, growth that continues to proliferate, it seems fairly evident that much of it was built in anticipation of residential expansion.

Just look at all the new dining establishments that have popped up in the last year or so. You no longer have to leave town to have a splendid lunch or dinner experience; your tax dollars stay here where it does you the most good. Furthermore, the latest additions to our dining pleasure are rather chic, befitting the charm and elegance of our little burg.

As for that fearsome word, “apartments,” if they’re constructed with state-of-the-art floor plans and eye-appealing creative designs, they also can be an attractive addition to any community. Keep in mind, Trammell Crow isn’t exactly a builder of tenements. They have a nationwide reputation for being the ultimate in high-quality residential properties. Undoubtedly, some residents, especially those who moved here decades ago, would prefer to keep the rustic atmosphere provided by large landowners who invested in properties even before this town had a name.

When my wife and I moved here 25 years ago we were like the “little house on the prairie.” Yet, we never felt that there should be a fence around the town to keep other families from enjoying the bucolic ambiance we had discovered. Nonetheless, there was a period of time in which growth was stifled by a political group that gripped this town with an iron fist. Perhaps they were right for their time, but, times change and so do towns.

The current Town Council has been proactive in their pursuit of quality growth. Just look around the area and you’ll see new commercial enterprises that add substantially to the already high standards this town is known for. Lakeside and the River Walk, with all the amenities included in those huge complexes, are moving rapidly toward completion, providing us with more scenic, recreational and residential options to choose from.

The rise of the medical community with Presbyterian Hospital as the centerpiece would not have been possible without the vision of former Council members who embraced the reality of municipal expansion. We continue to be one of the most desirable places to live in the state, if not the country. If recent past is truly prologue, town leaders are not likely to deviate from the course of necessary, but prudent development.

 

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