FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – FrontDoor Communities broke ground Sept. 18 on its 158-acre south Forsyth County venture, where the company will develop its first Georgia project – a $178 million community called Traditions with 420 homes.

FrontDoor is a comparatively new development company, but it was started by two partners who are ex-executives with John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods – Partner/Chief Executive Officer Terry Russell and Partner/President Mike Langella, who have a combined experience of nearly 60 years in the real estate development business.

FrontDoor has previously built large residential communities in Mount Pleasant and Charleston, S.C., and in Orlando and Naples, Fla.

The largest land acquisition for a residential community in metro Atlanta in seven years, Traditions will be a gated community at Ga. 9 and Castleberry Road comprised of 420 homes priced in the $300,000s to $500,000s range.

“A lot of developments say they are ‘a community fit for today’s active lifestyle.’ The reason this one really means it is because we have 13 parks in the plan. Some are more passive and some more active, but there is plenty of unique gathering spaces where you throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball,” Russell said.

“If that is not enough, the property will have access to Fowler Park and the Big Creek Greenway with its walking and bicycling trails,” he said. “We are going to put sidewalks right down to both of those parks. That will make a big difference in how you live in the community.”

FrontDoor is a design-centric company, by which Russell means he continues the success he had at Wieland Homes with careful attention to how the neighborhood not only fits in and of itself, but in the Forsyth community as a whole.

“We’re not going to be building big boxes,” he said. “We’ll be building homes with a little more aesthetic appeal and more attention to the historical architecture and what we believe will be a better streetscape.”

Traditions Marketing Director Michael Phillips said FrontDoor develops its communities with an architectural eye to regional standards. It’s part of FrontDoor’s “Go Local” approach that matches the style of the homes to the area.

“In other words, we don’t use the same plan in six states,” Phillips said. “In Florida, we built Mediterranean-style homes; in Charleston, it was Low Country. The Traditions will feature Craftsman-style homes. We reference the past with an eye to the future.”

Phillips said that also means local craftsmen for those all-important finishings – local glassblowers to make the doorknobs and local metal workers to make the door knockers.

“Wherever possible, we like to use local artisans, materials and architecture so that the community will be a fit to its surroundings,” he said.

Wakefield Beasley and Associates will be the architects on the project. The builders will be the Providence Group.

Asked why FrontDoor chose this South Forsyth property for their first metro project, Phillips was quick to give an answer.

“Location,” he said. “I know that is the stock answer in real estate. But it’s true. Traditions is only 1.7 miles from Ga. 400 and convenient to McFarland Road. It is the closest in project in South Forsyth to city conveniences, and the property has simply fantastic topography.

“The superb shopping and entertainment complex, the Collection, is convenient to the property as well,” he said.

An adjacent parcel will be developed into a 184,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping center anchored by a grocery store.

Russell said his company made the right choice for Traditions.

“Forsyth County is one of the most sought-after and fastest-growing residential submarkets in the area,” Russell said. “We couldn’t have chosen a more ideal location for our entry into the metro Atlanta market.”

by Hatcher Hurd

This article originally appeared in


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