For years, builders and developers have offered a range of amenities that offer buyers more than just a home; they’re also apt to find a swimming pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, fitness center and other features that enhance the neighborhood. But just which amenities wind up where is more a function of practicality, not marketing.
Amenities are “truly measured on the ‘scale/scope’ of the community,” said Irene Hall, vice president of sales and marketing for FrontDoor Communities, builders of Traditions in Cumming. “Traditions is considered ‘lifestyle-centered’ with a series of pocket parks, connectivity to the Greenway and the larger clubhouse (to include a small fitness center and general event space), a pool and a few tennis courts. This is a master-planned community that will have more than 350 homes at completion, so it warrants this scale. And this becomes a primary selling feature.”
At FrontDoor’s Shadowbrook Crossing in Snellville, 124 home sites can support a pool, cabana and play area that matches the demands of young families, said Hall. “So this size of community and target demographic really warrants some type of amenity that engages this buyer group.”
But there’s one amenity today’s buyers rank at the top of their shopping lists, said Brent Landry, vice president of operations for the PulteGroup. And not surprisingly, it’s the result of traffic.
“The ultimate amenity is location,” he said. “Even though that may seem clichéd, what we’ve seen over the last few years is the re-emergence of locations closer to Atlanta. Inside the Perimeter and every exit where you can be closer has become more desirable. Location is always in the rule of real estate, but the last cycle has really calibrated how important it is.”
That’s a diversion from past trends that were heavy on country-club style communities. “Now, many folks we’re seeing have a desire to just be closer to schools, to work, to places of worship,” said Landry. “Consumers are trading off the mega-amenities for location.”
The pool is still a powerful draw, Landry admits, but it doesn’t need to be in the confines of the development anymore.
“You might have tennis courts in a nearby park and multiple fitness facilities, including a pool, nearby,” he said. “It’s as good as having a community fitness center — maybe better, since it’s never as good as the professional outfits. So if you can serve lifestyle needs with location, the need to build those amenities lessens.”
That approach has worked at FrontDoor’s Goulding, a 40-home property in the heart of Roswell. “The amenity is the walkable access to downtown Roswell and the greenspace within the community,” said Hall. “We are offering a large pocket park with meeting spaces to gather with neighbors but it’s really more about the location, convenience and local flavor.”
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