“North American Properties is all about creating experiential developments,” says Liz Gillespie, Partner and VP of Marketing. “We toured the best of the best in experiential mixed-use properties around the country and selected the elements and amenities that make each special and successful and incorporated them into the Avalon experience.” A new play area was at the top of the list. Located in Alpharetta, GA, Avalon opened on October 30, 2014 and includes 350,000 square feet of retail space, 250 luxury rental residences, 108,000 square feet of lofts over office space, 101 single-family homes and 14 restaurants. On opening day, Avalon was 98% leased.
The development, whose motto is “The Timeless Art of Living Well,” includes many amenities to serve affluent, young families.
“This market was grossly underserved,” explains Gillespie. “In the past 10 to 12 years, there was a shift in demographics and population. The area’s average household income doubled and the population tripled.”
Gillespie says, as part of North American Properties’ desire to best serve this growing, changing community, they recognized that they needed to find ways to entertain young children.
“We definitely saw a need for spaces where young families could gather and shop,” she says, explaining that the development includes a family lounge with family restrooms, a mother’s nursing lounge with changing stations and a place to regroup away from the bustling activity around Avalon.
“Then, we decided to take it a step further and incorporated an indoor/outdoor soft play area as part of the family lounge,” says Gillespie.
For this amenity, North American chose PLAYTIME, LLC.
“PLAYTIME is known for being innovative and creative,” says Gillespie. “They create the best play areas around.”
In keeping with the development’s core values (three of which are: 1) to have a strong focus on kids and families, 2) to create community, and 3) to inspire health and wellness), the developer sought a theme that would be unique to Avalon and would motivate kids to exercise.
After much consideration, it was decided that the play area would pay homage to the four, 40-year-old oak trees on the development site and also honor Avalon’s staff, many of whom are often called “squirrels” because they are so busy and playful.
Thus, a squirrelly indoor/outdoor play area was born! The custom soft play area includes squirrels in various forms of healthy activity, from stretching to lifting weights (which look like acorns), and climbing a tree.
On nice days, four elegant garage doors open to the outdoor portion of the play area, doubling the play space and allowing kids to romp outside, all without parents losing sight of their children.
The space is so successful at inspiring healthy play that it was sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“This beautiful play area is yet another manifestation of our core values,” says Gillespie. “It’s another reason that the Avalon experience is so special.”