Community Amenities: Creativity Takes Precedence
Friday, August 5th, 2022
St. Bourke, an Atlanta-based asset management and property development company, thinks about amenities differently post pandemic. Amenities are no longer a “luxury” feature of higher priced communities; amenities now a necessary component when designing and constructing a successful community.
“Residents want to live, work and play in their own communities with a strong emphasis on fun and connectivity to the outdoors,” St. Bourke President Ben Simpson said. “St. Bourke focuses on tailoring amenities to the community’s target market and focusing on what creates the best activities for that demographic, whether they are active adults or young families.”
Creative amenity packages often start by using what is already available and exploring connections with adjacent or nearby established amenities, such as adding a walking trail connection to an existing park. What is near a community is often as important as what is within the community itself.
Partnering with municipal parks that are near or adjacent to communities often provides the best amenities. St. Bourke is currently designing a 1,000+ lot development in Gwinnett County that is contiguous to the award-winning Little Mulberry Park. The project’s master plan incorporates and extends the park’s walking, biking, and equestrian trails throughout the site, essentially making the park an extensive of the project’s already-robust proposed amenity package.
Another consideration is the cost to maintain expansive amenities. For example, community pools are far more expensive to build and maintain for homeowners’ associations than trails and parks. Often a community might be just as happy with a splash pad versus a junior Olympic pool.
“The traditional pool and clubhouse with four tennis courts is no longer the standard amenity package,” Simpson said. “Instead, we are incorporating pickleball courts, splash pads, event lawns, outdoor gathering areas, flexible sports fields, and communal spaces.”
Of course, there are exceptions! Many build-to-rent (BTR) communities have more extensive amenity packages as compared to for-sale communities in most cases, and most active adult communities focus on social activities and lifestyle that are often centered around a clubhouse and a pool.
St. Bourke re-envisioned amenities at the Georgian Acres to create Little Fox Lake and a sense of place. Located in Gainesville, Georgia (Hall County), St. Bourke saw potential of a long-forgotten lake, transforming the lake and surrounding woodlands into a usable amenity for the growing community.
A lake management expert was brought in to improve the clarity and quality of the water, certifying the lake as “swim safe.” A custom floating swim dock and kayak racks were added with a walking trail that connects the lake to the original amenity, which includes scenic views and can be accessed from multiple trailheads in the community.
At Tyler, Home on the Lake in New Bern, North Carolina, St. Bourke worked with nature to create an immersive experience. Nestled between the Neuse and Trent Rivers, experiencing nature is a priority for Tyler residents. The community is located between the Neuse and Trent Rivers and boasts more than ½ mile of river frontage. In addition to developing miles of paved walking trails throughout the community, St. Bourke transformed the community’s 60-acre interior lake (once largely decorative) into a usable amenity featuring a fishing pier and kayak launch. Given the size of the community (400+ homes at completion), St. Bourke also oversaw the design and construction of a pool and cabana amenity just inside the community’s redesigned entrance.
St. Bourke is an asset management and property development company primarily focused on residential communities and commercial assets. Offering a full suite of placemaking services ranging from acquisition through detailed design and development to ongoing management, St. Bourke has helped a variety of both private and institutional clients achieve their project goals. Founded in 2015, St. Bourke creates thriving communities and drives significant value for its clients, partners and community stakeholders. Active in 20 U.S markets with 90 active residential projects, St. Bourke manages more than 12,000 acres and 25,000 lots. As placemakers, St. Bourke makes places from the ground up. For more information call 678-853-2530 or visit www.StBourke.com.