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NC Development to Allow Residents to Live Like Martha

Thu May 11, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Gwenyth Laird Pernie



Superpowers in home decor (Martha Stewart), home building (KB Home) and development (Wakefield Development Company) have combined their expertise to build and design the KB Home Twin Lakes: Homes Created With Martha Stewart, located in Cary, NC.

According to Randy E. Smith, land development manager of the Wakefield Development Company, this is a very tight project.

“What makes this project unique, however is the relationship between KB, Wakefield and Martha Stewart — all companies with their own strengths,” Smith said.

The partnership began in October 2005, and on March 9, 2006, Stewart and Bruce Karatz, chairman and CEO of KB Home, unveiled eight completed model homes at the Twin Lakes location.

The homes at Twin Lakes are modeled after Stewart’s three residences in New York and Maine: a Craftsman-style home called Skylands, a Colonial called Katonah and a country estate named Lily Pond.

“In addition Stewart choose the building fixtures, as well as the homes exterior and landscaping packages,” said Dave Pellowitz, director of KB Home Twin Lakes.

Fowler Contracting is responsible for executing the site development, including grading, excavation, utilities, road development and drainage.

A Triassic Challenge

“Twin Lakes is located in the Triassic Basin,” Smith explained. “The Triassic Basin is made of freshwater deposits that washed down from adjacent uplands over the past 10,000 years. Over time, these deposits have hardened to a rock like density. Because normal excavation equipment may not be able to dig through this material and blasting is very expensive, borings and geological tests were performed to better understand how to approach the development.”

So far, approximately 103,000 cu. yds (79,000 cu m) of Triassic material has been blasted to prepare the site for construction.

Material for the streets and building pads was brought in from borrow sites, while unsuitable on-site soil was used to form landscape berms.

“In addition, so far roughly 880,650 cu. yds. of dirt has been excavated,” Smith said. “We are halfway complete with the excavation and should be finished in about 12 months.”

The tract was originally woods and farmland. Two small homes were demolished.

“Site preparation will also include the installation of seven miles of storm pipe, nine miles of sewer pipe and 12 miles of waterline,” Smith added.

The Twin Lakes Development

Situated within the Twin Lakes development is a residential and a commercial section, separated by two lakes. Currently there are 650 lots with a possibility of 1,000 lots when the development is complete. This will include 200 townhomes.

According to Smith, the development will have approximately 12 mi. of paved roads, 22 mi. of sidewalk and 25 mi. of curb.

“Included in the road construction of the project was the extension of Airport Boulevard through the Twin Lakes development,” Smith said. “Cary officials and the DOT [Department of Transportation] have been directly involved in coordinating this portion of the project.”

According to Pellowitz, in an effort to ensure the environmental integrity of the project, topsoil excavated during the site development was distributed throughout the community and the trees that were cleared were used as mulch throughout the community.

“In addition to environmental reasons, KB and Wakefield will plant back thousands of trees in order to create the landscape Martha insisted upon if her name was put on it — not an easy task to accomplish,” Smith said.

According to Smith, Twin Lakes is located within a conservation corridor with blueline streams that are recognized on U.S. Geological Survey maps.

“Cary is an eco-friendly municipality with strict development restrictions,” Smith said. “It has been a challenge to develop this project keeping Cary’s greenway trails, stream buffers and park friendly requirements in mind and our goal to protect the 14-acre lakefront corridor, wetlands and streams.”

Locals Excited

According to Susan Moran, APR, public information officer of the town of Cary, it is excited to be the first community in the world to host a Martha Stewart development.

“When the partnership was announced last year, Cary immediately began receiving calls from as far away as Alaska,” Moran said. “Martha Stewart is a good fit for Cary. Like Martha Stewart, Cary residents appreciate quality, attractiveness and attention to detail.”

According to Smith, Wakefield has donated in excess of 30 acres, valued at more than $2.5 million, within the community for future parks and greenways.

Sales Successful

“Demand is very high for the lots,” Pellowitz said. “During the grand opening, demand far exceeded the available lots for that first phase. We have already started offering the next phases and we expect to continue to see high demand.

“It is highly likely that based on the success of the Martha Stewart homes other ’name brand’ communities may arise,” Pellowitz added. “Possibly setting a trend for designer developments.”

According to Pellowitz, collaborating with Stewart and her associates has been a unique experience for KB Home.

“Martha Stewart is involved in all elements of the building process, from the floor plan designs to the exterior products,” said Pellowitz. “All work and designs are approved by Stewart, and if called for modified — requiring a tremendous amount of coordination between KB builders and Martha Stewart and associates and often multiple changes in the building process from one day to the next.

“This was a challenge for KB because we typically work independently; however, it was well worth it because the result of the collaboration is a first-rate, high quality product.” CEG