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Sophisticated Empty-Nester Communities Offer a Fresh Take on Long-Term Planning

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Olde Wieuca Mill in Buckhead

One of the most significant upsides to all the new development in Atlanta over the past two decades is the number of niche communities now designed to meet the needs of very specific markets. Lateral moves are not uncommon inside the Perimeter, sometimes to new homes five miles down the street.

One of the most interesting niche markets to develop over the past 10 to 15 years is a type of empty-nester community designed for the 50-something set, who are generally still working and qualify as executive-home buyers. They are looking to unload the family home largely because they’re tired of having to keep up with the yard. But they don’t necessarily want a dramatically smaller place.

What they do want are homes where they can potentially live out most of their retirements. They are sophisticated buyers, who actively plan for their futures and are willing to think through their long-term needs. So they look for subtle details like main-level master suites, level lots, open floor plans and not-so-subtle ones sometimes, like elevators.

A community designed with this buyer in mind is Olde Wieuca Mill in Buckhead, where many of the homes were custom-built 10 years ago. The homes span 3,800 to 4,400 square feet and were originally priced in the low to high $800,000s. A recent listing was priced at over $1 million.

“They are all different. No two houses are exactly alike,” said Janice Elacqua, who worked as a builder’s assistant on the project with Venture Properties LLC. “The homes even have different exteriors; some materials we use are rock, cedar shake, stucco, and brick. So there is a very large variety even though it’s a small development.”

Features commonly found within the homes include hardwood flooring, pillars, granite kitchen counters, painted or stained cabinets, recessed lighting, walk-in kitchen pantries, crown molding and built-in shelving. Ceilings span the spectrum: coffered, elevated, vaulted, barreled, and beamed.

“Some homes look very New Orleans; some have a New England flavor. And one has a southwestern flair to it, with a courtyard,” said Elacqua. “We did a lot with courtyards because they are smaller lots. We were concerned about creating private areas for the homeowners.”

The community has proven popular with empty-nesters, who want to maintain their standard of living, while minimizing the labor of homeownership. 

“They are geared towards empty-nesters who are coming out of very large homes and are looking for a very nice customized home with a lot of detail, but on a smaller lot and on a smaller scale,” said Elacqua.

Getting there:

From downtown, take I-85 north to Ga. 400 to I-285 west to Roswell Road. Take Roswell Road south to Buckhead. Just over three miles away, at the traffic light, turn left on Wieuca. The community is ½ mile away, on the right.

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