Just when it looked like two of metro Atlanta’s most lauded New Urbanist communities were doomed to fates of unrealized greatness, a hero swooped in to get the job done. The guy in the proverbial cape and tights happens to be one of the area’s most famed home builders, John Wieland. His company is now the official builder for Woodstock Downtown and Vickery, and it looks like they’ve found a winning formula for both of these charming developments that were started by Hedgewood Properties.
Let’s look at Vickery. This Forsyth County neighborhood was off to a great start during the boom years (pre-2007). Architects and planners made it a field trip destination, and the design awards were piling up. Unfortunately, the faltering economy didn’t skip over Vickery. The major features such as the pool, parks and the village center were completed, but a large portion of the north side of the neighborhood was left fallow.
Enter John Wieland Homes, who has so far been able to weather the housing doldrums relatively well. Their website is showing only single family homes planned for the rest of the neighborhood, and for the most part they adhere to Vickery’s neo-traditional style, although a few of the renderings appear similar to Wieland’s more typical offerings. Prices have come back down to more realistic levels. Whereby $299,900 might have gotten you a large condo in the development pre-recession, the same amount now puts you in a four bedroom single family home. During the Hedgewood era the upper limit reached into the $1,000,000s, but Wieland’s most expensive current offering comes in at $479,000.
The story is similar in nearby Cherokee County, where Woodstock Downtown garnered international attention a few years ago for its seamless insertion in Woodstock’s historic core. The mixed-use portion was built, as were the pools and a few parks. About 1/3 of the residential area was completed with a beautiful mix of houses and townhomes before the bottom fell out, leaving a large part of this vibrant downtown looking downright depressing.
John Wieland Homes is now in the process of filling in the empty lots in the southern section, but unlike at Vickery they’re also including townhomes. Again, the pricing is much more realistic this time around. You can now expect to pay $219,00 for a 3 bedroom townhome, which is a steal given that similar product started in the $300s not too long ago. And prices are topping out at $369,000 instead of the previous $600s.
Although we’re not out of the ditch yet, it’s a breath of fresh air to see these great communities edging towards completion. The detailing might not be as sharp as it was with Hedgewood, but the lower price points provide greater opportunity for more buyers to experience the joys of a walkable lifestyle.