When HomeArama opened at The Palisades back in 2005, the neighborhood was so new that the entrance road asphalt was still warm and the mortar in the entry monument was still wet.
When the annual new-home showcase begins its second stint at The Palisades in October, visitors will see amenities that were only blueprints back then. “You saw the renderings – now you can see the real thing,” said Jim Medall, president of Palisades developer Rhein Interests.
The soccer fields and clubhouse are in place in The Palisades, off N.C. 49 above Lake Wylie, he said, and the new Episcopal School is open. The HomeArama site is in The Ranch, a gated equestrian neighborhood inside the 1,500-acre development, and there's a huge new commercial horse barn that will be available to any horse lovers.
“Galloping trails” ramble through The Ranch, the way 18 holes of green space might twist through a golf course community.
Lots are 1 acre and average $340,000. Each lot will accommodate a two-horse stall. Medall said he expects some horse lovers to buy two or three lots to create larger estates.
He expects homes to range from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet – and the three HomeArama houses, the first in the neighborhood, are on the imposing end of that range.
Lots of other changes are in store for HomeArama this year, too.
It was moved to the fall from its traditional summer run. Dates this year are Oct. 4-Oct. 26.
Charlotte's builders decided to schedule their Parade of Homes in the spring, during what's traditionally a busy buying season, and move the 24th annual HomeArama to the fall so it wouldn't compete with the parade.
“It takes longer to build and decorate homes of this magnitude,” said Mark Baldwin, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Charlotte.
The builders have tweaked the hours and added more special events. Gates will open at 10 a.m. but close at 7 p.m., an hour earlier. Visitors on the site then will be able to continue touring the homes until 8 p.m.
HomeArama will be closed on Mondays, which is new this year. Also new will be a special “women's night out,” although details haven't been set. On chef's day, area chefs will prepare dishes in the home's kitchens, and the interior designers will answer visitors' questions on Fridays.
Tickets will be $15, with discount tickets available at Harris Teeter stores. Parking will be available on the site.
And the featured homes?
Well, one 7,000-square-foot house is joined by a 2,000-square-foot guest house – and its builder says all three properties will dazzle visitors.
“Ours is a classy estate, the ultimate entertainment home,” said Chris Jasinski, an owner of Jordan James Builders. “I've been very impressed with the other two houses, as well. There's a lot going on in all three.”
The Jordan James house, inspired by a Hamptons estate, features an exterior of stone and stucco. The interior designer is Andrea Robinson. It's priced at $2.5 million.
The other showhouses are by Persis-Nova Construction, with interior by Michelle Buchheit; and Anderson Custom Homes, with interior by Jaime Kent.
To reach the Palisades, take N.C. 49 south from I-485 and turn left on Grand Palisades Parkway.