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Feb/March 2006

Real Estate
The Bustling 'Burbs
by Amanda K. Brown

From the ever-expanding sea of SUVs and station wagons jamming the major roadways leading out of Atlanta's nucleus every afternoon, it is obvious that more and more people are settling in the outlying regions of the metro area. It is no wonder, then, that six metro-Atlanta counties are ranked in the U.S. Census Bureau's list of the 100 fastest-growing counties in the country, including Henry, Forsyth, Paulding, Douglas, Cherokee and Gwinnett Counties.

While these areas may lack the convenience of city living, fresh air, more acreage and country club-like amenities are all factors that make "outside the perimeter" very appealing. Here are just a few examples of Atlanta's "bustling 'burbs" and the hot developments keeping them busy.


Before the completion of Interstate 75 in 1969, Henry County was primarily a sparsely populated, rural farming area. However, with the new thoroughfare came fresh attention from city dwellers looking, perhaps, for a few more acres to stretch out upon or a quieter setting in which to raise their children that was still close to the downtown Atlanta area. Whatever the reason, Henry County is the 14th fastest-growing county in the country, with a population of more than 160,000, and is the county with the fourth-highest rate of growth in the number of housing units.

Henry County also draws in crowds with its recreational options, including the Atlanta Motor Speedway and a number of excellent golf courses and the country club communities that surround them. One such community, Heron Bay Golf and Country Club (770-957-5633,, was the best-selling new home community in the county in 2004, and was recently awarded the Communit y of the Year Gold Award by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. With the addition of five new neighborhoods in 2005, this master-planned development can now accommodate around 500 homeowners, with more neighborhoods on the horizon.

Wooded home sites, the golf course, a large aquatics center, nature preserves, lakes, parks, tennis courts, sidewalks and a nature trail system accent Heron Bay's landscape, and housing options include everything from garden homes on smaller lots to traditional single-family homes on and off the golf course, to custom lakeside homes on more spacious lots, with prices ranging anywhere from $170,000 to more than $2 million


Located approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County has been named by the American Business Chronicle as a county with the one of the greatest growth potentials in the country, perhaps due in part to the increasing rate of business growth and its abundance of undeveloped land. Cherokee ranks as the 54th fastest-growing county in the nation with a population hovering around the 175,000 mark. The cities of Canton and Woodstock are both in the top 15 fastest-growing cities in the country with a population over 10,000.

Bridgemill golf course.
Once a part of a larger mass of northeast Georgia that served as stomping grounds for the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee County was formed after settlers pushed out the Native American population in search for instant riches during the Georgia Gold Rush. These days, potential homeowners are rushing into Cherokee for all of its affordable home options, including BridgeMill (770-345-1888,, a 2,700-home master-planned golf and family club community on 1,700 acres along Lake Allatoona in Canton.

One of metro Atlanta's best-selling new home communities, BridgeMill offers a collection of homes that range in price from the $160,000s to more than $1 million, and also includes custom estate homes and single-level condominiums. The community features some impressive amenities with which to accommodate the thousands of BridgeMill residents, including a 50-acre athletic club, complete with the largest private swimming pool in the South, 25 lighted tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, restaurant, a massive fitness center, playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts, jogging paths and playgrounds. The development has also influenced the growth along Sixes Road, which is now dotted with restaurants, shops and more that service the BridgeMill residents.

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