Monte Hewett unveils Avalon’s residential plan

Lew Oliver-designed homes create Old World living spaces



ALPHARETTA, Ga. – More than 100 people showed up May 15 to preview the multi-use project Avalon’s residential designs by builder Monte Hewett and architectural designer Lew Oliver.

The most common reaction was, “Wow.”

The houses are to complement Avalon’s high-end shopping mecca and Class A office buildings. The retail section now has a Sept. 1 groundbreaking target date, with Hewett’s homes to follow in the first quarter of 2014.

Although there seemed to be plenty of interested buyers, Hewett said it is still too early to price them. Some may go for seven figures with the majority in the high six figures.

Roswell-based Lew Oliver was on hand to talk about the pedestrian-friendly community planned for the west side of the Avalon project. It has “village” homes styled after village cottages for the true downsizer at around 2,400 square feet. He also has terrace homes – a British term for townhomes because townhome has become a real estate pejorative, Oliver says.

The terrace homes, like all of the homes, will have private garden areas that will be a part of the living space.

“So where townhomes offer a view of the parking lot or the street, these terrace homes will have a view of garden space and greenery,” he said. “But the biggest difference is these will be one level.”

Courtyard homes, as the name implies, will have the largest courtyard space. Four of the homes will feature towers, reminiscent of Italian villas with living space on the roof. These latter homes will be “statement residences” for millionaires looking to make a statement, Oliver said. The tower homes will be the largest at 4,500 square feet.

But the European design, with a walkability that is always a feature of Oliver’s work, creates a unified community that in his words, “will sing in unison.”

“The primary outdoors space in the community will be the courtyards. Thus, they will be secure and private, with the character of Old New Orleans,” Oliver said. “This is about extending living to the outdoors.”

In all, there will be 101 homes in nine choices of living styles in the single-family component of Avalon. Some will feature office/studios for the stay-at-home business person or artist.

In terms of a pedestrian-friendly community, it will be similar to new developments in Florida’s Rosemary Beach and Alice Beach.

“The community is not designed around automobile use. Cars will be on only a few streets,” Oliver said.

Hewett agreed.

“What we are doing is creating a lifestyle. The best feature is the outdoor courtyard,” he said. “We are not creating something to look different. We are creating something because people want to live differently.”

More than a few homebuyers came to the preview and were smitten. Chris Howe of Roswell said she and her husband are looking closely at the project. Asked what she liked best, she said the combination of Hewett and Oliver.

“Any collaboration of Monte and Lew, I was all about looking at it. We are looking to downsize and are looking at a lot of properties, but we are certainly interested,” she said.

Carla and Hal White of Alpharetta are another couple who liked what they saw.

“It’s unlike anything in the area,” Carla White said.

Hal White said it was a unique community with obvious high quality, and its walkability was a plus.

Hewett said he liked this project because it was “a clean slate.” Communities like Piedmont and Chastain have their amenities already in place with their parks. But Avalon can create what it wants to have.

His target audience is those looking to downsize from their 10,000-square-foot “palaces” now that the kids are gone and also the younger residents attracted by the amenities and the nightlife Avalon will bring.

As for price lines, Hewett said he just could not put a figure on it now. But the bait is on the hook, and with only 101 homes to offer in what is marketed as the most unique setting in the Southeast, he should begin to reel in buyers soon.

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