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Real estate: New neighborhoods keep focus on 'neighbors'

March 23, 2019

Real estate: New neighborhoods keep focus on 'neighbors'

Bill Lewis, Special to Nashville Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK — TENNESSEE

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Jordan Thomas wanted to connect with his neighbors in person, not just on social media. Debbie Bragg was looking for opportunities to make new friends. They believe their new neighborhoods will help them succeed. 

“It’s promoted that sense of community,” said Thomas, who owns a 1,600-square-foot cottage in Woodland Grove, a new infill pocket neighborhood of 16 homes off Gallatin Road on Chester Avenue in East Nashville.

Homes with small yards are clustered around a larger common green space where residents can gather. Everyone parks at the rear of the neighborhood.

“You’re going to run into a neighbor,” said Thomas, who looks forward to warm-weather gatherings on the common area.

“In spring, it’s a space designed for there to be picnics,” he said.

Bragg is downsizing from a house surrounded by an acre and a half of land to a villa in Durham Farms, a master-planned community in Hendersonville. David Weekley Homes is building 34 one-level villas, which are built in pairs with the garage between them. They range from 1,734 to 1,923 square feet and are on 40-foot home sites.

“I feel like it’s an open community” where neighbors can get to know one another, said Bragg, who hopes to move in this spring.

She loves her home and neighbors in White House in northern Sumner County but is tired of maintaining a large lawn. Durham Farms will free her from that.

'Front-porch friendly vibe'

The neighborhood is designed to encourage friendships, said community manager Lacey Edwards.

“Neighborly connections and the front-porch friendly vibe of our community are the top unique qualities that make up the personality of Durham Farms,” said Edwards. 

Durham Farms is designed around the goal of encouraging residents to spend time outdoors. Many homes have front porches where neighbors can visit. The neighborhood has sidewalks and trails. The Farmhouse has a fitness facility and community spaces as well as a pool.

The community will have a total of 1,100 homes on 472 acres along Drakes Creek Road.

“We want to see kids running about the neighborhood, parents and friends visiting with each other on their front porches, young couples on the trails, older couples walking their dogs, all of the elements that make for a healthy growing up experience and comfortable small-town lifestyle,” said Suzanne Maddalon, vice president for Freehold Communities, the company that developed Durham Farms.

'The way neighborhoods used to be'

Karlie Kee, Bragg’s Realtor, sees traditional neighborhoods becoming more popular.

“It’s that sense of community, the way neighborhoods used to be,” said Kee, broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Lakeside Realtors in Hendersonville.

“They still bring cakes and cookies when you move in” at Durham Farms, she said.

Bragg is looking forward to outings, special events like summer concerts and opportunities to join a book club or other group, all curated by a full-time lifestyle director.

“I’m expecting to enjoy it all. Events, fireworks, movie nights, cooking classes. I’m going to be interested in going to different things,” she said.

Designed for active lifestyles

Growing numbers of home buyers place a premium on being in an active community, said Michelle Patterson, a Realtor with Re/Max Choice Properties in Hendersonville.

“One of the first questions is about walkability scores. They want to come into an active community where they can meet people. I’m seeing people come out of their houses and take advantage of green spaces,” she said.

Today’s active communities are designed to “pull people out of their homes,” said Todd Reynolds, vice president for Goodall Homes, one of the region’s larger home builders.

Th company is building in several active communities, including Durham Farms and Millstone in Hendersonville and StoneBridge in Lebanon. All three neighborhoods have professional lifestyle directors.

The idea, said Reynolds is to “put down your phone and go see the neighbors.”

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