Take the Scenic Route Home to Founders Pointe
By Sara Steil, as appeared in the Tidewater Builder’s Association’s Homearama Plan Book
A short drive down Sugar Hill Road may seem like any other in Isle of Wight County. But one mile in sits a community of custom homes nestled into quiet lanes and private cul-de-sacs tucked among an inviting marsh, creek and wooded landscape. Thatâ€™s just the beginning of life at East West Communitiesâ€™ Founders Pointe, a waterfront community near Smithfield, Virginia and the site of the Tidewater Builders Associationsâ€™s 2010 Homerama.
True to form, the development company that is known for building environmentally sensitive communities and resorts in two states is doing just that in Isle of Wight County. â€œFounders Pointe was such a unique property,â€ said Branch Lawson, president of Hampton Roads Division of East West Communities, which is developing Founders Pointe. â€œIt is such a beautiful setting. We felt that it really called for a community with great architectural integrity, character and complementary lifestyleâ€
With quality custom homes from the $400s to about $1 million, Founders Pointe overlooks the Batten Bay with breathtaking views that invite outdoor activities. (The newest phase of Founders Pointe is shown below, bordering Batten Bay with distant views across the James River.)
About the Developer
In 1973, East West Communities purchased land near Richmond to build communities that combined a vacation lifestyle with everyday living. Its first two communities received special awards, including â€œBest Planned Community in Americaâ€ by Getter Homes & Gardens magazine and the National Association of Home Builders, and â€œBest Planned Community in Americanâ€ by the Urban Land Institute.
Since then, East West has developed 35 communities in Richmond, Hampton Roads, and Florida. (East West is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary in Hampton Roads and 40th overall in Virginia. For more on their anniversary click here)
A Move to Hampton Roads
With the success of the Richmond communities, East West began developing in Hampton Roads in 1988 with Smithfieldâ€™s Gatling Pointe, named â€œCommunity of the Yearâ€ three times by the Peninsula Housing and Builders Association.
From there, East West developed The Riverfront at Harbour View, which hosted two of Tidewater Builders Associationâ€™s most successful Homeramas in 2001 and 2011, and received numerous accolades and awards including the TBA Stanley Award for â€œCommunity of the Yearâ€ in 2003 and 2005. In 2008, The Riverfront was named as the first and only community in TBAâ€™s Community Hall of Fame.
Soon after, East West opened Eagle Harbor and then Founders Pointe in 2004, both in Isle of Wight County. Both also have received multiple â€œCommunity of the Yearâ€ awards from the Peninsula Housing and Builders Association.
Location, Location, Location
Founders Pointe is centrally located between the Peninsula and Norfolk near historic Smithfield in Isle of Wight County. The neighborhood offers a quiet retreat from everyday living, yet offers conveniences of neighboring cities.
â€œItâ€™s not just a great place to live and play,â€ said Lawson, â€œbut the area is a great place to work. There are numerous employers within 15 minutes of Founders Pointe. For many people in the Hampton Roads market, itâ€™s an excellent location given their employment circumstances. Weâ€™re one minute from Route 17. When you turn one way you are minutes from the Peninsula. If you turn the other way, youâ€™re minutes from Northern Suffolk, Portsmouth, downtown Norfolk, and points east of thereâ€.
Despite an economic downturn, Founders Pointe has managed to consistently sell homes, which Lawson also attributes to its affordability and area amenities.
â€œThe schools are excellent in Isle of Wight Countyâ€, said Lawson. â€œAnd the real estate tax rates are among the lowest in Hampton Roadsâ€.
With the nicely removed location, residents can enjoy breathtaking views from the nature trails or from the 844-foot observation pier that has two decks, one halfway down the pier, and the other at the pierâ€™s end. â€œThere is also a significant amount of walking paths for a community of this sizeâ€, said Lawson.
Founders Pointe also boasts a $2 million Residentâ€™s Club that features a coastal cottage-style clubhouse and a 4,000 Square Foot resort-style pool with a 112-foot waterslide. â€œThe clubhouse and the pool, again for a community of 319 homes, is extraordinary and people love itâ€, said Lawson. â€œItâ€™s a great feature of the community.â€
Adjacent to the clubhouse sits a sand volleyball court, picnic area with an outdoor grill, playground and walking and jogging trails.
Additionally, each neighborhood has or will have cul-de-sac islands. Plans are for 319 homes in Founders Pointe, and 175 familites have already chosen to live there.
â€œWeâ€™ve got residents from all across the spectrum living hereâ€¦from young familites to empty nesters to retirees. The community lends itself to programs and attractions and has facilities that are attractive to all of the different age groupsâ€.
Currently, Founders Pointe hosts 10 custom home builders who provide an array of innovative homes designs featuring a variety of distinctive architectural styles.
â€œFortunately, our builders are very much at the cutting edge of the green building industryâ€, said Lawson. â€œthe green features are part of what they do and what they have been doing for years. Not only do we expect it of them, but it is expected of them by their customers and they expect it of themselves.â€ In fact, Russ Hohmann built the first EarthCraft-certified home in Isle of Wight County. The home is not only 30 percent more efficient than an identical home built to code, but it also provides better indoor air quality and reduces the homeâ€™s carbon footprint.
In Touch with Nature
Founders Pointe is also encouraging its residents to help establish the community as a certified National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.
The first step was taken in 2008, when the residents kicked off the Founders Pointe NatureWatch Program with a Bluebird Trail Workshop. As a result 17 bluebird homes were built and installed along the community walking paths. A volunteer group maintains the homes, and monitors and collects data, whichis reported to the National Bluebird Society.
â€œThe bluebird house effort and the designation that the community is pushing forâ€ is a great example, said Lawson of the residentsâ€™ efforts.
â€œWe also have done things such as building the observation pier and posting along the way pictures of the animals, birds and plants that people will see as they walk on the pier and to give them a greater understanding and appreciation for them.
For more information about Founers Pointe and the new homes, visit www.founderspointe.com.