The growing village of Providence, just west of Alabama, was almost just a collection of apartment blocks. Half a million dollars had been spent on planning and design, contracts with the master builders were ready to be signed, and the dirt was ready to be turned. And then, on the eve of kick off, developer David Slyman woke in the middle of the night and decided to do an about-face.
Hampstead, a small new community in Montgomery, was planned - and presumably financed - at a time when sales of 150 homes a year could be expected. It began however during the GFC and since then they've sold 70 lots - plus a few commercial properties, but more on that later.
A lot of us seem to like Rosemary Beach and I'm no exception. I'm not sure how much of this might be to do with the fact that we were hosted by town architects Ron Domin and Doug Bock on our first night there, and toured around by Doug (video coming soon) on our second visit because there's unquestionably something that's added to the experience of a place by the people you meet.
After the lead up on Alys, that it was the culmination of a twenty year journey towards personal privacy along this beachside strip that runs from Seaside to Rosemary Beach, I was prepared to be wowed. However, the reality was more exclusive magazine than a place I'd be comfortable to call home.
'm always interested, on a tour like this, to see what the experts take away. And, while Mike's unquestionably passionate about Seaside, I do wonder what these other assorted developers really think. I sat down at dinner to find out.
If your ideas about Seaside - the coastal town on the Florida Coast made famous by movie and magazine - have been informed by either The Truman Show or Eastern Airlines mag, then that's probably a pity, as it's definitely a place with a lot of subtle nuances that may take several days or visits to be apparent.
There aren't many contemporary homes in Seaside, but that's not because they aren't allowed to be there. What's interesting is that while the architectural code does allow for different expression, it hasn't, by and large, occurred.
I'm having a quiet laugh to myself and I just needed to share it. A few blog posts ago I wrote about my eerie experience walking around Dallas - or attempting to - shortly after reading the first half of Speck's book, Walkable City.