Jul. 01, 2003
Much homework went into villas
Matthews developer surveyed market, studied demographics
When a Raleigh developer acquired 35 acres in Matthews for its first residential project in this area, it wanted to make sure it built the right product for the market — very sure.
So before the first shovel of dirt was turned at Bella Sera Villas, a 166-unit townhome project on Matthews Township Parkway, DeWitt Real Estate Services put the area around Sycamore Commons shopping center under a microscope.
Marketing experts combined a demographic analysis with surveys of the needs and desires of the area’s most likely buyers.
And what did they find after compiling the facts and figures?
The ideal customer will be between 45 and 70 years old, either retired or earning an average of $72,000 annually, and most likely married with no children in the household.
Bella Sera Villas’ brick-and-stone townhomes, selling for a base price range of $189,900 to $220,000, are single-story, something 79 percent of prospective customers listed as a preference.
And the two- and three-bedroom units feature glass-enclosed sunrooms, two-car attached garages and no yard maintenance — another preferred feature.
Exterior maintenance and landscaping care are provided.
The developer’s master plan for the project includes a putting green, two lakes, a stream, a clubhouse, a pool, walking trails, fountains and streets with brick-paved roundabouts to slow traffic.
Construction is under way on the 3,100-square-foot clubhouse and several model units, due to open by Aug. 19.
The first phase includes 34 units, 14 of which are sold, said Terrence Llewellyn of Llewellyn Development LLC, a development consultant for the project.
The townhomes, ranging from 1,522 to 1,990 square feet, feature bathrooms with ceramic tile floors and marble vanity tops. Also included: privacy walls between each unit and attic storage space with pull-down stairs.
Llewellyn believes the project, valued at about $37 million, is on target for the area around Sycamore Commons, where 24 percent of the people are ages 45 to 64 and 43 percent of the homes were built between 1970 and 1988.
Developers typically find that empty nesters prefer to stay in their neighborhoods, close to friends, churches and familiar stores, if they can downsize into suitable housing.
The townhomes also appear to be in the right price range to appeal to nearby residents, Llewellyn said. Bella Sera’s demographic surveys pegged the median income within a 3-mile radius at $76,657.
For-sale offices are under way next door to the project, and a 2.5-acre tract near the entrance off Matthews Township Parkway is earmarked for retail services.
DeWitt Real Estate Services, an 11-year-old company headed by Todd Saieed, does mixed-use, office, retail and residential development in the Carolinas.
Saieed Construction Systems, of which Todd Saieed also is president, is the general contractor for Bella Sera. Cline Design is the architect.
DeWitt Real Estate Services has developed projects similar to Bella Sera in the Research Triangle, Asheville and Wilmington.