Prime Location Keys Success of Georgia Senior Apartments

HearthSide Towne Lake, a new senior living community north of Atlanta, is generating strong interest from active, independent older adults.

Atlanta—HearthSide Towne Lake, a new senior living community north of Atlanta, is generating strong interest from active, independent older adults. The $15.3 million rental community from NorSouth Development Company, slated to open next month, is more than 50 percent pre-leased, company officials report.

One of the primary reasons for the robust pre-leasing activity has been the location of HearthSide Towne Lake in the Cherokee County town of Woodstock, Ga. “We’ve been developing, building, owning and managing senior living communities in the Atlanta area for 10 years now, and the selection of this location was based on what we have learned,” Atlanta-based NorSouth vice president of development Brendan Barr tells MHN.

“We’ve found one the biggest influencers of success with senior living communities has been the adult child influence,” he says. “Our residents migrate to be close to their adult children, and consequently their grandchildren. When we look for opportunities, we steer toward that demographic.”
HearthSide Towne Lake is part of the very large master-planned Madison Pointe at Towne Lake mixed-use development. Single-family homes in the development are attracting many young families, Barr says. “Many times, the older people moving to our senior living communities are from out of state, and chances are they are moving to be close to their kids,” he adds. “We tend to look for suburban areas that fit that model. Also contributing to success is the city of Woodstock itself. [City officials have] been great to work with, and recognized the need and desire to have this type of housing in their community.”

Older adults renting at HearthSide Towne Lake will be able to take advantage of a pedestrian-friendly location boasting walkable distances to the adjacent Northside Hospital Cherokee Medical Office, as well as to a major pharmacy, stores and restaurants, Barr says. In addition, Cherokee County offers a county-run transportation system that will be available to shepherd residents to shopping destinations, medical appointments and the redeveloped Woodstock downtown district, among the most historic and charming town centers in Georgia.

The development is situated a short drive from north Georgia’s mountains, lakes and rivers, and the city of Atlanta is just minutes away by car.

While the location of HearthSide Towne Lake proved a selling point, the site of the development itself presented a challenge. In the middle of last decade, an entirely different kind of development had been planned for the site, Barr says.

“The former developer had master planned it for townhouses, and had installed all the infrastructure for townhomes. With the market crashing, that no longer was a viable use. We utilized as much of the in-place infrastructure, such as utilities, roads and streetlights, as we could. But some of it had to be removed. The scale and size of our buildings are a lot different from those of townhomes.”

HearthSide Towne Lake is being built to EarthCraft multifamily standards. “We’re a developer as well as an owner, so building energy-efficient communities is a focus of ours,” Barr says. “The rainwater harvest system collects and repurposes all rooftop rainwater, which is then used in the irrigation of our drought-tolerant landscaping, which actually minimizes the need for water.”

The fact that it is the first of its kind for the area has meant that HearthSide Towne Lake is filling a significant need, Barr says. “That has translated into the successful pre-leasing activity we’ve seen,” he adds. “We’re going to start moving people in before the end of the year.”