Imagine an old school, family style neighborhood — the kind with winding lanes and towering trees, where kids can roam free and every amenity is within walking distance.
Perhaps it seems too good to be true, but it’s exactly what the developers and builders of the Oakmont neighborhood are trying to bring to Gainesville.
“This is a very exciting community,” said David Haas, chief development officer of ICI Homes. “It’s just a terrific piece of property with undulating, rolling hills, with historic oak trees that provide a lot of character. I’ve worked on it for over nine years now, and we’ve tried to make it into a really special place, and I think that we’ve done that.”
Oakmont is designed to foster relationships among its inhabitants, with plenty of bike lanes, park benches and other activities for the whole family to enjoy. To that end, Haas said the development is currently in the final stages of providing a “world-class, resort-style amenity center” that will include a fitness center, pools, event fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, a volleyball court and an amphitheater.
“It’s going to be a special, special place,” he added.
Tommy Waters, of Tommy Waters Custom Homes Inc. in Gainesville, said the amenity center makes Oakmont one of the most special developments he has been a part of.
“I don’t think Gainesville has a development like Oakmont,” he said. “The amenity center is going to be spectacular from everything I know about it. It’s going to be a super place to live — far better than anything Gainesville has ever had.”
Waters, who has built three houses in Oakmont and has two more in the drafting stage, is one of a carefully selected group of builders on the project.
“We had over 20 builders who wanted to be a part of Oakmont, but we didn’t want that many,” Haas said. “We selected the best of the best. The builders we selected have impeccable reputations. They build quality homes.”
Todd Louis, vice president of Tommy Williams Homes, said, “Oakmont represents the best of what is happening in Gainesville. With the exciting growth of the community, we see a different type of economic growth — primarily well-paying, clean, high-tech industries bringing highly educated and forward-thinking individuals and families to Gainesville. Oakmont fits this model with high-end, modern amenities — the likes of which Gainesville has yet to see — in a neighborhood that is designed to foster a sense of community, which is exactly what living in Gainesville brings.
“Oakmont fits this model with high-end, modern amenities — the likes of which Gainesville has yet to see — in a neighborhood that is designed to foster a sense of community, which is exactly what living in Gainesville brings.” – Todd Louis, vice president of Tommy Williams Homes
Situated along Southwest 24th Avenue, Oakmont provides residents with prime access to everything Gainesville has to offer. It is less than 15 minutes from the University of Florida, ten minutes from Interstate 75, and close to major shopping, parks and recreational areas.
“We feel like this is simply where people want to live,” Louis said. “It is halfway between the Tioga Town Center and Haile Village and Market Square, so you have the most desirable school zoning, plus local restaurants, shopping, a Starbucks, a farmer’s market, and Gainesville Health and Fitness, all within a mile or two.”
Barry Bullard, president of Barry Bullard Homes, echoed Louis’ sentiments.
“It’s located in the right school zones (and) the right geographical area for work,” he said. “The location was superior to anything else we had an opportunity to buy, and we liked the concept of the amenity center, which is a big draw for the development.”
Moji Babazadeh, president of ICI Homes’ mid-Florida division, added, “Oakmont is simply a lifestyle community. The amenity center that is due to start very soon will make this a family friendly community. Oakmont is designed with different lot and home sizes for people with different budgets. Oakmont also has been designed for any size family, from single to small and large family to retirees.”
The idea of a lifestyle community was one of the main factors that attracted Arthur Rutenberg Homes.
“It’s going to attract people that want a lifestyle, not just a neighborhood,” Brenda Banks, vice president of sales and marketing for Barry Rutenberg and Associates said. “Gainesville’s been hungry and thirsty for a community like Oakmont. It offers a lot to the residents because of the facilities that will be here. It really caters to families (and) to retirees. It covers a large audience.”
Ultimately, it all comes back to families. Like Banks, Haas said the goal of Oakmont is to create a perfect atmosphere for families to thrive.
“We’re attracting young families with young children,” he said. “These families have made friendships, and I think that’s what we’re going to be able to create there. The amenity center is going to be a gathering place for these families. We’re going to do some special events there that are going to draw people out of their house(s) into the community, and they’re going to get to know each other. It can become a unique little micro-city, if you will.
“We’re going to create a real sense of community here.”