Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Reimagining Suburbia: The Avalon Brings a Unique Live-Work-Play Experience to the Suburbs of Atlanta

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Reimagining Suburbia: The Avalon Brings a Unique Live-Work-Play Experience to the Suburbs of Atlanta

Article excerpt

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The demand for dynamic live-work-play communities remains high among everyone from Millennial to Baby Boomers. Answering this demand is the Avalon, a mixed-use development, in Alpharetta, Ga.

Located just outside Atlanta, phase one of the Avalon was complete on October 31, 2014, with phase two scheduled for completion at the end of this year. The development spans 86 acres, complete with more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, a state-of-the-art movie theater, Class-A office space, single-family residences and luxury rental homes. Phase 2 will bring additional office, retail and residential space, and phase 3 (scheduled to begin next year) will include a full-service hotel and convention center.

One of the goals for the development was to create a walkable, urban experience in a suburban setting. Today, this ambitious and inventive development has made significant impact on how residents and visitors live, work and play in the Atlanta suburbs.

CREATING SOMETHING DIFFERENT

For years, the site of the Avalon sat vacant, partially complete and abandoned. When North American Properties took over the property, the company worked with the city of Alpharetta to develop something that would help build and improve the community at large, while simultaneously enhancing business and residential interests.

"There was no real gathering space in this community--and there was a real need for one," said Matt Simon, Senior General Manager of the Avalon. "There are many tech firms in the area and an above average net worth in this community. A development like this had the potential to draw a lot of people."

One of the keys to bringing the vision to life focused heavily on creating a strategic tenant mix. "We spent a lot of time curating the tenant mix to make sure we were providing an unexpected quality of retail in this community," said Simon.

And these efforts paid off. Seventy-one retailers, 250 apartments, 101 townhouses and 105,000 square feet of Class-A office space have come together to create this dynamic town within a town.

A NEW WAY OF LIFE

The Avalon is home to 800 residents who reside in luxury condominiums (with rents starting in the high $1,500s) and single-family townhouses (with costs ranging from $749,000 to $1.5 million).

"We charge above average rents, but tenants understand they will receive above average service from us," said Simon. "They understand that they are valued."

The homes were strategically designed to avoid common mixed-use problems, like heating and cooling issues. "The residences were built with smart centers, which means no restaurant vents are going into another tenants' HVAC system or into anyone's home," Simon said. "This design sets you up for a more successful mixed-use development. Although what we did is new and unique, 1 think it will become the norm among other developments like this going forward."

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WORKING IN STYLE

The Avalon also offers 750,000 square feet of Class-A office space. The modern office spaces often attract creative companies, such as architecture and interior design firms. Despite above average rents, employers are eager to bring their businesses to the Avalon.

One of the biggest draws for corporate clients is the opportunity to recruit and maintain top talent by touting the opportunity for a work-life balance right on the property. "People spend a minimum of eight hours per day at work; their workplace becomes part of their lifestyle," said Simon. …

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