Master-planned communities create high-amenity neighborhoods for Triangle residents

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You’ve heard of suburbia — five to 10 years ago, the suburbs were perhaps known for cookie-cutter predictability and being a little mundane. However, as cities grow denser and younger generations begin settling down and starting families, the suburbs have seen a resurgence in popularity.

In the process of accommodating new demographics, the suburban landscape has started to shift.

Master-planned neighborhoods represent the drive towards a “live, work, play” lifestyle where you can have it all without straying too far from your front door.

In the Triangle, there are several master-planned communities in the works, but perhaps one of the most impressive is Wendell’s Wendell Falls. The thoughtfully planned community, created by national developer Newland, is located just 15 miles away from the heart of Raleigh – a short distance for commuters.

Aside from work and select entertainment, residents may not feel the need to drive into the city — from shopping and dining, to recreation and exploration, Wendell Falls will have it all.

Residents and guests can stop into the Farmhouse Cafe and grab a cup of coffee and a warm breakfast. Additionally, there are more than 10 miles of trails around the neighborhood to walk or jog, and even a saltwater pool. The Grove is a park that offers an idyllic place to have a picnic, complete with a hammock garden, terraced seating with a stage and outdoor workout equipment.

And for those who want to get to know their neighbors a little better, there’s a full slate of community events to check out year-round, from live music to themed 5Ks. Treelight Square, the retail amenity area, will ultimately have a grocery store, shops and restaurant space.

Although there’s already plenty to do around the neighborhood, the growth hasn’t stopped there. This year, a charter school broke ground, WakeMed bought land for medical services and Publix announced that Wendell Falls will debut its first location in eastern Wake County.

What’s driving this resurgence in the suburbs, reflected in high-amenity neighborhoods like Wendell Falls? While there are many factors that contribute to suburbia’s growing popularity, generational preferences certainly have something to do with it, according to Chester Allen, an executive vice president at commercial real estate firm CBRE|Raleigh.

“I think, not just from a millennial standpoint, but people in general are getting more accustomed to heavily amenitized living situations,” Allen said. “That shift is now starting when people leave student housing and move into young professional lives, rather than into young family lives.”

Allen has a point. Take a look at things like student housing and apartment complexes — both living arrangements geared toward young people — and you’ll find that amenities are the norm.

Lounges, convenience stores, pools, outdoor grills and patios, for young people, these types of perks have always been around. Now, as they begin moving out of the city and look for more space, their priority is neighborhoods that don’t force them to compromise the amenities they’ve become accustomed to.

“People can move to these places knowing that they’re going to be in a safe environment, with good schools for their kids. They’ve got room to run around and it’s an open environment,” said Matt Larson, a senior vice president at CBRE|Raleigh. “Residents can get to work every day in a convenient fashion. Then on top of that, in the evenings, there’s a place where you can grab a bite to eat with your kids or watch a ball game with your friends. It’s checking off all of the boxes.”

Tanya Matzen, vice president of operations at Newland Raleigh Division, added, “Families at all stages are choosing Wendell Falls because the community offers a quality of life that is unmatched in the area.  From the parks and trails to amenities and convenience of nearby shopping and dining, our residents have everything they need close by, while still having easy access to downtown Raleigh. Even better, with the variety of builders and home designs offered, it’s easy for families to find a home that meets their needs, yet still reflects their personal style.”

Neighborhoods like this don’t just pop up out of the blue, however, there must be a population and demand nearby to support it. That’s why the Raleigh area is such an ideal location.

“I think that the Triangle’s a pretty diverse population now, and it’s become an appealing destination for people from other areas. Affordability of housing is a big component,” Larson said. “The market also has great health care and school systems.”

“Not everybody wants to live in and around downtown Raleigh or downtown Durham,” Larson continued. “Some people would rather have a newer home, a bigger yard, planned amenity and service areas, and newer schools. These neighborhoods offer a different kind of dynamic.”

Another major driving force behind the migration to master-planned communities in the suburbs stems from higher costs of living in the city. In downtown Raleigh, the average sales price of a home is around $425,000, according to Redfin. Those looking to rent to alleviate the cost should take into account that the average cost of rent per month in downtown Raleigh has increased by 5 percent since just last year, with the total sitting just under $1,500.

For many people — but perhaps especially young families — a home in the suburbs can not only improve the affordability problem, but also provide more room to spread out.

“I don’t think you’d see these big master-planned communities getting built in places that don’t have some market appeal on a larger scale.,” Larson said. “I do think it’s a good indicator that it’s a healthy area, a nice place to live and it’s appealing to a wide range of people.”

As the Triangle continues to grow, Larson and Allen anticipate more of these highly amenitized neighborhoods will likely continue to pop up.

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire