In Commons: Burnet saves best for last


ADDRESS: 137 Burnet Street

ASKING: $ 370,000

BUILDING: 2,200 fin. sq. ft, 750 unfin.

LAND: 0.3 acres


NEIGHBORHOOD: Burnet Commons

CURB APPEAL: 7 of 10

LISTED BY: Julie Gee, Keller Williams Realty, 220-2200, 981-1212

The tidy little neighborhood called Burnet Commons that seemed to spring into existence almost overnight last year is about to turn a new corner.

The last of 35 detached houses built by Southern Development just south of Elliott Avenue and east of Ridge Street are being finished now; no empty lots remain and only a few addresses await completion. Whether the rapid rise in selling prices that accompanied the initial offerings will continue as resales begin remains to be seen, but there's little question that developers hit on a formula here that was especially appealing to prospective homeowners.

The agent marketing this unit reports that from the first moment the places were on the market, the development experienced $5,000 increases every three weeks. The $370,000 asking price for this unit is at the top– most of the others sold in the mid- to upper-$200,000s– but then this house has a number of features that make it look just a little bit different from the other cookie-cutter models lined up around the common center ellipse.

Since this one is being sold as completed rather than "to be built" from a plan, the builders splurged, with granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and a bidet and extra-deep tub in the master bath upstairs– which also has double sinks and a separate and equally roomy shower. The master bedroom, with a balcony looking north toward the ellipse and the Downtown Mall, has more oak flooring to match what's downstairs instead of the light carpet used in the other two bedrooms.

Downstairs there's an extra family room that anyone familiar with the "A for Avon" "B for Burnet" and "C for Charlotte" floor plans used throughout the development would recognize as a variation. The lot is also twice the size of the others.

This "almost-Charlotte" house plan has in common with its other squeaky-clean and high-tech counterparts a one-car garage, a second-floor laundry room, installed Cat-5 computer network cables, wiring for speakers in the ceilings of the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom, and white Rubbermaid closet shelving organizers. (The walk-in master closet in this one presumes a couture wardrobe, being almost large enough to run in!)

Central vacuum systems and gas-log fireplaces were optional on all units, but both have been installed here. New owners get to be creative with the floored third-story attic, however, which offers natural lighting from a couple of windows and finished walk-up stairs, but which– while fully wired for lights, heat, and air conditioning– remains otherwise unfinished.

Sitting on almost a third of an acre at the southern edge of the development, this three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house has a back yard patio with views up and down Lankford Avenue, which connects on one end with the old residential stretch of Ridge Street and at the other with South First Street.

The much older, smaller homes along Lankford make up a considerably more established neighborhood, suggesting that new residents at 137 could as easily borrow a cup of sugar from that direction as from fellow members of their homeowners association out front.

The agent notes that ideas have surfaced for– once warmer weather returns– a community event in the ellipse for Burnet Commons residents, members of Region Ten's Blue Ridge House (a day facility located at 100 Burnet Street), and the congregation of the Rev. Alvin Edwards' Mt. Zion Baptist Church, recently relocated from downtown to the corner of Lankford and South First.

Given the need for any effort that unites neighbors and neighborhoods– especially new ones plopped into the center of old ones– that could strike some people as an uncommonly good idea.