Townley Center almost done, developer Anderson looks forward to projects in Georgetown, Midway

Posted by on July 24, 2015

Townley Center, the 54-acre complex of retail, services, restaurants and homes on Leestown Road, is almost all built out.
The Staybridge Suites at 125 Louie Place is one of the final pieces to be developed. Staybridge is expected to open later in the spring, according to Anderson Communities.
The wrapping-up at the Townley development marks the end of more than a decade of construction at the former farm where developer Dennis Anderson has honed his ideas about mixing homes and businesses with what he calls "sprinkled" zone changes — changes for chunks at a time rather than on one vast parcel, which he calls a "piling" zone change.
Anderson said the sprinkled zones allow him to build a mixed-use community. That's important, he said, because it gives people who live in Townley Park, the area's home and apartment area, the option to walk rather than drive to restaurants and services in their community.
Townley Park has 50 single-family homes, 59 townhomes and 300 apartments, Anderson said. Downtown is about five minutes away via Leestown Road.
Anderson said the development is a good fit for newlyweds and empty nesters who like a maintenance-free lifestyle, including landscaping and mowing.
Space for one more sit-down restaurant is available, Anderson said. He'd like to see a restaurant there with a strong set of breakfast offerings, such as a First Watch or Panera Bread.
One more fast-food spot is available and probably will be a chicken or fish restaurant, Anderson said.
Anderson's company, which employs 95, developed Townley Center. He also developed such retail and office developments as Pasadena Plaza (near Nicholasville Road) and Sand Lake (off Richmond Road and Man o' War Boulevard) as well as housing developments including McConnell's Trace (off Leestown Road).
Anderson, 62, began his career as a pharmacist and moved into real estate after he began investing in homes with $12,000 he had saved. Dennis Anderson Real Estate later became Anderson Communities because Anderson liked the idea of constructing mixed-use developments with an emphasis on walkable spaces.
"I always liked the real estate business, but I never thought I'd ever leave pharmacy," he said.
Townley was inspired by "new-traditional" developments including Celebration, Fla., Anderson said. To illustrate how, he draws a pyramid on his conference room table and starts writing words in segments building up to the top: clean, safe, well-maintained, pride, esteem.
"We wanted this community to look different," he said.
Residents needed a "wow" factor from living in Townley: "They went to college and got their education. They want a place that when people come, they say, 'You've done well.'"
Anderson said the key is balancing private space with public space. Residents want to interact with their neighbors via front porches and walking trails, but they also want to control how much.
"Social interaction, that's the epitome of a better community," he said. " ... People out on the street, that's a safety thing to do."
Townley Park won then-Mayor Jim Newberry's "community of the year" award, a Lexington homebuilders' project of the year, a Kentucky Homebuilders design award and a Bluegrass Tomorrow Vision Award.
Businesses at Townley include Applebee's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Walgreens, Shell, Urgent Treatment Center, Firehouse Subs, Vinaigrette, Orange Leaf Yogurt, Zaxby's, McDonald's, Snap Fitness and AT&T.
Anderson Communities also has an office there as well as a separate new-home store near Vinaigrette and Orange Leaf.
Anderson's upcoming project, Amerson Orchard in Georgetown, is going to be much bigger than Townley — 385 acres versus 54 acres.
"We've got the same kind of downtown feel" there, Anderson said — with businesses out front, homes in the back, with walkable streets linking the two. The new development is also close to Scott County's new Lemons Mill Elementary School, which opened in 2013.
In Fayette County, more than 300 homes will be added to McConnell's Trace on Leestown Road, he said.
Anderson's Midway Station development at the interstate interchange will be 185 acres and will be called Vineyards, Anderson said. Work will start there in the fall.
Anderson said that while infill is in vogue now in Lexington, his interest is primarily in building new
communities.
"We do a little infill, but I can't run my business doing infill," he said.

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