By Kirsten Ricci
Beyond changes you make to your home, the area that surrounds it has the greatest impact on the value. In my business, location of a home is one of the most important factors in a buyer’s mind. Of course the schools are a huge factor but so are things like walkability, surrounding neighborhoods and infrastructure. Current and future development is also a big factor and there are a couple of great examples of these dynamics at play in Roswell.
One is the new mixed-use development on Canton Street called Vickers Historic Roswell. It sits right across the street from an old corner grocery store and the contrast is striking. In many ways it represents the yin and yang of local politics and development. The project was controversial from the beginning but after lawsuits and protests it nears completion and ushers in a new era for the neighborhood.
The historic area of Roswell has a steep history, which is why development is tough. There are families who have lived there for generations. Having spoken to some of these people I can say without reservation that controversy has always been here with regards to development. Some of the most ardent folks standing against development now, ironically, live in neighborhoods that the previous generation did not want here. Homes built in the sixties and seventies in some cases took the place of farmland, which represented huge density increases at the time.
Beyond the aesthetics, new development impacts home values. The neighborhoods in and around the historic area of Roswell have increased in value as demand for this area is at an all time high. There are numerous examples where homes have doubled in price from 2007.
Here we are in the early 21st century and a new wave is hitting us. Mixed-use. It’s what the next generation demands and with it comes a whole new way of looking at development and the effect it has on our real estate prices.
As our suburbs move forward there are numerous developments all around us that are either planned or will be soon. In Cobb County many in the development community are already planning a “corridor” to bridge the gap between the new Braves stadium and East Cobb. But, generally speaking, the neighborhoods in East Cobb are well protected from overly aggressive development by politicians. In Alpharetta, the whole Avalon project is continuing to expand and there is still room for growth in and around that area due to the multiple highway exits. In Roswell it is not so easy.
Another example of contrast demonstrating how development affects home pricing is on the east side of Roswell where now sits an empty Super Target. It seems like it just opened and now it’s empty. The surrounding real estate is far behind that on the west side where more innovative development has taken place. Many neighborhoods in east Roswell are just now reaching the levels prior to 2007. The price increases and general growth in value are strikingly different in east and west Roswell.
The development on the east side is “old school” strip mall type stuff. The empty Super Target was doomed from the start. Sitting just north of it is the easily accessible North Point Mall/Avalon corridor. Right now Target, which owns the location, has it listed in the range of $8 million. To be clear, that is just the Target store, not the whole strip. According to my sources Target is looking to get out…and quick. What does that mean? More bad development…envision a new dollar store there.
Here’s why. Roswell has a poor reputation with developers who simply don’t want to engage in ugly political battles. Why invest millions where people are going to turn you into a force of evil. What’s left? Cheap, easy, non-innovative development and homes that sit next to poorly developed retail stagnate in value.
On the other hand, a new development in west Roswell, begins construction in 2018 on the corner of Sun Valley Drive and Alpharetta Highway, it will replace an old strip mall. This new, mixed-use project, will house apartments and retail but only time will tell if this is a new beginning of positive development or just an outlier. It’ll be interesting to parallel the two properties over the next decade. Want to guess which neighboring homes increase in value the most?
In the end, all of these themes just keep repeating. No one likes change, that’s a given, but it is also inevitable. Simply put, development will happen and it can be either good or bad but its coming and history backs that up.
A new generation is here and they want something different just like the people who moved here 40 years ago. Those dreams, however, are no different. They want safe streets, good schools and a strong sense of community. To be sure, it’ll look different from what we’re used to, but just like the cul-de-sac developments of the sixties and seventies their day will come too and there will be more change. You can count on it.
Kirsten Ricci is a Roswell resident and a Berkshire Hathaway Agent who specializes in residential real estate in the north metro Atlanta area. She can be reached at 678-472-3832, firstname.lastname@example.org.