Luxury Active-Adult Community

Cresswind at Lake Lanier clubhouse at night

The term “live, work, play” describes the lifestyle many active adults are seeking these days, especially when they hit the magic age of 55 and can move to upscale, age-restricted communities designed just for them.

From working professionals to retirees, baby boomers escape to these hamlets to get the best of what their money can buy: elegant, low-maintenance homes in resort-like neighborhoods away from the noise and congestion of the city and suburbs.

Active adult developments have been on the horizon since 1960, when Del Webb opened Sun City in Phoenix. Today there are hundreds of such communities across the country inhabited by more than 1.2 million households with people over 60.

One of the newest neighborhoods in Georgia is Cresswind at Lake Lanier. Developed by Kolter Signature Homes, Cresswind is a luxury gated community of ranch-style houses priced from $190,000 to more than $500,000.

Cresswind, says Bob Rademacher, vice president of the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company, is the blueprint for active adult living for people “55 and better, not 55 and older.”

“Over 10,000 people turn 55 per day,” he notes. “They are the most affluent people in the history of the world. While they have seen their savings go down, they still have equity in existing property, so they are the most versatile, viable consumer on the market today.”

After surveying more than 2,500 people about the amenities they want in a home to complement their youthful lifestyles, Kolter incorporated those priorities into their architectural designs. Cresswind homes, which range in size from 1,350 square-feet to 3,000 square-feet, feature:
•    Single stories with options to add a basement or storage room above the garage:
•    Open floor plans from the kitchen to the main living area;
•    Large master suites;
•    Easy access from the garage to the kitchen;
•    Bathrooms with spacious walk-in showers that have benches instead of tubs; and
•    Universal design elements that include 36-inch-wide doorways and zero-step entries.



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The community has full access to Lake Lanier as well as a private marina with 60 slips. Ninety-five percent of the lots have wooded views that do not back up to other homes.

Houses at Cresswind require little to no exterior maintenance. That’s because residents pay $249 in monthly homeowner’s dues that cover such things as landscaping, grass cutting, tree pruning, fertilization, 
trash removal, 24-hour security, enhanced cable TV and maintenance of common areas.

Cresswind’s resort-like amenities feature tennis courts, walking trails, indoor and outdoor pools, an amphitheater with an outdoor movie screen and 214 acres of preserved green space where residents can play pickleball, bocce or horseshoes.

One of the favorite hot spots at Cresswind is the three-story, 40,000 square-foot clubhouse. On Fridays, Rademacher says, it’s not uncommon to find more than 100 residents and guests in the rooftop bar for social hour or gathered around one of four 60-inch flat-screen TVs. The clubhouse also has pool, poker and card-game tables.

When residents aren’t socializing, they can take fitness, nutrition or cooking classes at the clubhouse, work out in the gym or go out into the local Gainesville community to mentor, volunteer and share their professional expertise with new business owners.

“It gives residents a chance to pass information to a new generation. These are the things that make you live a longer, better life,” Rademacher says. “By the end of the year, this will be known as the premiere active adult community in the state of Georgia.”

For more information about Cresswind, visit or call (888) 476-3017.

Fun Facts

• An age-restricted active adult community means 80 percent of the homeowners must be at least 55, the age when housing can legally be designed specifically to serve them.
• An age-targeted community just markets to buyers 55 and “better,” but there are no age restrictions for residents.
• Active adult developments are not retirement communities; many of the residents work full- or part-time. The demand for home offices is high because many tech-savvy baby boomers work from home.
Residents must be able to live independently. The communities are designed for people to age in place, but they do not offer assistance with daily living activities such as meals and 
personal care.
The average income for 55+ households was more than $80,000 in 2009.
• People who purchase homes in active adult communities look at an average of 12 houses before they buy.
In 2009, the median price of a new, age-qualified active adult home was $300,000 , compared to $320,000 in 2005.

Source: The 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

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