As you’re driving north down the Gene Snyder, just as you pass Christian Academy before you hit the Shelbyville Road exit, you’ll see massive cranes at work at what once was the home of the Different Strokes Golf Club.
When the first 10 units open in August, that property in far eastern Jefferson County will begin to become the home of a community of young professionals seeking, as Columbus-based residential developer Lifestyle Communities sees it, “The Good Life.”
Idlewild at 600 English Station Rd. – named after the original name of the Belle of Louisville – will be the third Lifestyle Community development in Kentucky, after projects in Georgetown and Lexington.
Construction crews broke ground in November of 2012 on Phase One: a complex of 27 buildings that will house 360 one- and-two-bedroom apartments.
Phase One, on 25 .47 acres, is scheduled to be completed in July of 2014 and represents a $30 million to $40 million dollar investment.
If all goes well, LC will break ground on Phase Two of Idlewild before Phase One is fully complete, likely in Spring of 2014.
Phase Two – which ups the total number of units to 650 – is planned on a 17.51 acre parcel of land that is still held by Different Strokes Golf Club and abuts Christian Academy land.
The community will have a pool; an Om Fitness center with a gym, classes and an indoor-outdoor sports area; a spa with a possible attached nail and hair salon; and regulation volleyball courts.
The good news for Phase One residents is that these amenities are being built for 650, not 360 residents – so residents will have lots of elbow room in the pool for a couple of years.
Idlewild, like all LC properties, will be pet-friendly and feature pet-related activities and activity areas. Community pets can also be enrolled in the “LC Pets” program which gets them (ergo, you) discounts and freebies at area businesses.
Idlewild will have its own on-site bar and grill called the Goat that will be open until 2 a.m. nightly and will likely deliver to the community and have online ordering. This is the third Goat on a LC property. The Goat will be open to the public and will serve lunch and dinner.
During summer months, there will be 100 deck chairs around the pool that will have poolside food and beverage service.
Sound like a resort? That’s the point, says Derek Wilson, Lifestyle Communities’ Columbus-based construction project manager for Idlewild.
“It’s resort-style living,” Wilson says.
An “experience director” will be one of the 7 to 10 full-time employees of Idlewild (not including restaurant, bar and salon staff). His or her job will be to fill the activity schedule with movie nights, barbecues, trivia contests, ski trips, tailgating parties and happy hours.
A cursory survey of the resident activity photos on the Lifestyle Communities website reveals beer or alcohol in more than half.
All young professionals. All beautiful. Of course.
Indeed one of the refrains you see over and over in the Lifestyles Communities marketing material is, “It’s not where you live but how you live.”
Recreation is such a critical component to the Lifestyles Communities… well, lifestyle that since 2005 the company has been the sponsor of one of Columbus, Ohio’s leading indoor-outdoor music venues, the Lifestyles Community Pavilion. Lifestyles Communities residents get first crack at tickets, early information on upcoming shows and exclusive pre-parties before shows.
From the LC Pavilion webpage:
Consistently voted Columbus’ top live music venue, Lifestyle Communities Pavilion hosts some of the biggest names in music each year across a variety of genres. Lifestyle Communities has sponsored the venue since 2005 in order to bring to life the experience of living at one of our apartment, house, or condo communities – the good life. With housing, as with entertainment, the experience and who you share it with are everything.
Upcoming shows at the LC Pavilion include: The Postal Service, Grizzly Bear, The National, Peter Frampton, Social Distortion, Fitz and the Tantrums and Ani DiFranco.
It’s a diverse lineup, leaning a bit toward the “hipster,” and that’s right in line with considerations that the company makes when choosing a location, according to Wilson. He said some of the factors that went into choosing this English Station location were that you could get downtown easily and that it was in close proximity to areas of Middletown and Hurstborne Lane with a lot of “hipster” activity.
Wilson says that the target demographic for LC living is single, fairly-newly graduated from college or grad school, 25-to-35 years old. “They’re young people with good jobs,” says Wilson. “They’re managers at Ford or Humana or another national or international headquarter downtown.”
It’s important, he says, to locate LCs close to schools and large manufacturers. The Georgetown location, for example, is not far from University of Kentucky and is very close to the new Toyota plant.
“We look for big booming markets,” says Shannon Walker, marketing manager for Idlewild. “A growth in the percentage of young professionals. Because we’re very unique to apartment complexes. What we offer is very unique. And Louisville is a booming market.”
Wilson says that the company has high hopes for Idlewild and that the Lexington properties are two of the better producers. Villages at Hamburg Farms in Lexington is a mix of apartments and condos, prices start at $855 for a one-bedroom rental or $146,000 for a two-bedroom condo (still under construction).
The Georgetown property is called The Mill at Georgetown; it is solely apartments that start at $776.
There is typically a 95-98 percent occupancy rate at LC properties, says Wilson.
The company currently manages 16 communities in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky with a total of more than 7,500 apartment, condo, and single family homes. Idlewild is the first of several communities LC plans to build in the Louisville area.
Wilson said it wouldn’t surprise him if they were looking at downtown. Walker says that they likely haven’t started yet. Currently, there are two “urban” communities in downtown Columbus housed in two seven-story high rises.
In communities (not Idlewild) that have both apartments and condos or houses, you can bank some of the rent on your apartment to use later for a down payment on a condo or house. There are Realtors on staff to help residents find the right LC property to purchase or to even help them purchase a non-LC home when the resident feels as though his or her time is done in her community.
CEO Michael DeAscentis II started Lifestyle Communities with his father in Columbus in 1996, just a few years after he graduated from college. The company has seen its highs and lows, a low most notably in 2008 when it laid off 30 percent of its staff. But the business is back on the upswing. Last year DeAcentis was named Columbus CEO of the year for a small business. His father still serves as chairman of the board for the company.
Are young professionals willing to leave behind Bardstown Road, NuLu and Frankfort Ave. for Middletown and Hurstbourne?
Is a pool, a spa, volleyball courts, a like-lifestyled community and an on-site bar enough?
Is this a Melrose Place for the Millennials – minus the murders, kidnappings and gossipy backstabbing?