Senoia Idea House hits 12,000 visitors and counting

Pictured are Idea House tour guides Susan Osborne and Susan Armogost, with the Fayette-Coweta chapter of the American Cancer Society.  Photo/Ben Nelms.

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.

inkslinger
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No Plunge Pool

I just checked.

atlantapeach
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I was there in July and don't

I was there in July and don't remember a plunge pool. Did they add one after that?

inkslinger
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Clydesdales, Southern Living House, Holidays and The Avenue

Kudos to Senoia and the DDA and Southern Living and others for the success of this project.

I said it last spring and I'll say it again. PTC Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Avenue and the members of the Hospitality and Restaurant establishments are losing a HUGE opportunity if they don't get together to promote and advertise to some of this very lucrative market driving right down Hwy 74 to get to/from Senoia.

Mr. Lombardi and Tigchelaar are absolutely right, the weather will cool and watch the traffic increase in Sept. and Oct. Then, the decorations and shopping for the holidays in Nov. and Dec. will bring newbies and some returnees.

Come see the Southern Living House, spend a day in Senoia in the shops and checking out the home tour. Drop your husbands off on the way in PTC so they can play golf at any of the Canongate courses. Or go for a run or rent bikes to ride on the paths. Spend the night at The Dolce or Wyndham or Hilton or Sleep Inn or Holiday Inn, go out to dinner at any of the fine restaurants in PTC, have brunch Sunday morning and then a few hours shopping at The Avenue or 54 West or Tuesday Morning before returning home.

These women visitors are mostly day trippers and would love to make a weekend out of it, if given reasons to stay longer. Give them package options and coupons and discounts and maps and golf carts so they can enjoy themselves here. The new tunnel under 74 at Paschall is open, you can FINALLY get from the hotels and golf courses to the restaurants and stores easily again!

15 weeks to go

18,000 more House visitors

2 to 4 per vehicle=4500 to 9000 vehicles coming from all directions JUST to see this House.

70-80% of those vehicles will come right thru PTC on Hwy 74 JUST to see this House.

That's 3,100 to 7,200 vehicles coming thru PTC up/down Hwy 74 JUST to see this House

Over 15 weeks left, that's anywhere from 200 to 500 vehicles coming thru here per week JUST to see this House.

How can we NOT give them reason to stop and enjoy what we have here?

AtHomeGym
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Southern Living Brownstone In Senoia

Yes, Senoia & Southern Living have done a good job at promoting this unusual building. Hate to rain on the parade, but I visited and think it is an out-of-place monstrosity. OK, so they're gonna build 4 more. Still won't fit in with the Senoia architectural ambience and lifestyle in my view. And in today's housing mkt, who's gonna fork up the price of those things?Insofar as the Foundry's manager believing it has helped business, maybe he should look internally for problems. Last time I was there at Lunchtime, waitress advertised a special of Fried Catfish, with fresh Butterbeans. Catfish was good but the peas I got were a mixture of at least two varieties of field peas, none of which was Butterbeans--and they were underdone at that. Now underdone peas just ain't Southern cookin'. That was my second unsatisfactory visit to the Foundry.

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