Senoia Idea House hits 12,000 visitors and counting
The Southern Living magazine 2010 Idea House opened on the Gin Property in Senoia less than three months ago. But the four-story 5,000 square-foot luxury brownstone that is part of the Historic Senoia Project has already seen nearly 12,000 visitors come through its doors since the June 12 opening. Open until mid-December, the house is expected to easily top the 25,000-30,000 visitors anticipated by Southern Living.
Historic Senoia Project developers Scott Tigchelaar and Paul Lombardi sitting Tuesday afternoon near the fireplace on the second floor at the residence said the sheer number of people visiting the brownstone and the city in the past 10 weeks has been amazing.
The visitor count Tuesday afternoon totaled 11,283, with that number expected to exceed 12,000 before the end of the week, Tigchelaar said.
Regardless the huge numbers of visitors so far, Lombardi said the hot summer temperatures might have kept others from viewing the unique home. Tigchelaar agreed, adding that they had received word that a number of groups are making plans to visit Senoia once the weather cools.
For Southern Living, the choice of its first brownstone as an Idea House was a good match with Senoia. One of five, four-story luxury brownstones in the new 75 residential unit project, the Idea House features a courtyard, plunge pool and grilling pavilion. As with each of the other four brownstones, it will be outfitted with a rooftop terrace and an elevator. The remaining brownstones will average approximately 3,700 square feet.
“With the growing attention on small town life and family-oriented, walkable communities, we set our sights on finding a historic town under revitalization,” Southern Living Homes Group Director Kristen Payne said in a recent visit to Senoia. “This town is blending the best of today with the nostalgia of yesterday. It’s why we chose this location to tell our story with this year’s Idea House.”
One of the interesting facets of the attraction of the Idea House is that many visitors are returning for multiple visits, and bringing their friends, Lombardi said.
The Idea House has quickly become such a hit that the calls are also coming in to Southern Living magazine, Tigchelaar said.
“Southern Living has never gotten calls from people raving about an Idea House. But they’re doing it about this one. They are also calling because of the volunteers at the house and because the people coming here get to see the whole town,” Tigchelaar explained.
The raving about the on-site volunteers providing tours of the home were in reference to Susan Osborne, Susan Armogost and a group representing the local American Cancer Society chapter, the eventual beneficiary of the proceeds from the tours.
The tour proceeds will be donated to the Fayette/Coweta chapter of the American Cancer Society through the Cattle Baron’s Ball fundraiser. The money raised will stay in area communities, helping supplement residents’ cancer-related expenses.
Tigchelaar and Lombardi said a large part of the success of the Idea House is also due to Suzanne Helfman and the Senoia Downtown Development Authority.
From the beginning, Helfman and the DDA have held weekly meetings and made sure that signage, both in and outside the city, was in place for Idea House visitors.
Idea houses are usually open for three or four months, Lombardi said. But he and Tigchelaar from the beginning had an alternative idea, that of having the house open until mid-December so that the city’s businesses could benefit from the thousands of visitors.
That idea seems to be paying off, according to Founder’s Restaurant owner Todd Baggerly whose business on Main Street opened in February.
“It’s had an incredible impact on our business,” Baggerly said Tuesday of the impact of the Idea House. “I think business would have good without it, but we’re definitely doing great with it.”
Visitors to Senoia closer to the Christmas holiday season are likely to get an unexpected treat. The DDA is in process of arranging for the Clydesdales to return to the city again this year. Helfman said that though the date has not been determined, she expected the famous horses to be in town sometime in November or December. A part of Senoia’s holiday activities for the past few years, the Clydesdales easily draw a crowd of 2,000-3,000 people.
The Southern Living 2010 Idea House is located on the Gin Property, just across the railroad tracks immediately south of downtown businesses. The Idea House is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The cost of admission is $10 for adults and no charge for children under age 12.