Do you read the blog New Urban Roswell by Michael Hadden? You should.
I disagree with Michael… a lot. But I respect his opinion and find his writing to be well thought out and researched.
I regret not commenting on this Avalon article from Michael when it was written way back in November. Let’s take the occasion of Avalon’s ground breaking (scheduled for next week) to bring it up.
Perhaps the least talked about part of Avalon is what will be known as Avalon Gardens. This will take up the western portion of the development, closest to Westside and Old Milton Parkways. In a nutshell, this is where the single family homes and townhomes will live. Yes, I said single family homes.
Michael has published many of the drawings and maps for this phase of the development in his article. It will be a beautiful place to live with stunning architecture.
What I like best is that it isn’t filled with stacked housing. It isn’t crammed to the gills with condos on top of condos or apartments everywhere like you see at Windward Mill or Peridot.
Certainly there is a demand for walkable communities. However it isn’t necessary for that to translate to extreme density. Avalon Gardens beautifully demonstrates this! You can create desirable, walkable communities and still offer single family homes and townhomes.
This model would work perfectly in downtown Alpharetta. Rather than stacking vertical boxes of residential over downtown, why not encourage housing like Avalon Gardens to be built along the periphery? It would still be very walkable and a desirable place to live. It would also hold back density, which is the real enemy here.
Unfortunately I think stacked residential over retail is already a done deal in downtown Alpharetta. It’s also not likely to get talked about before this year’s municipal elections in November. That’s disappointing because I think Alpharetta really thirsts for developments that are more like Avalon Gardens.
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