GARDEN & GUN LAND
A Lakeside Oasis Emerges
Distinguished by its sylvan setting, the Heritage at Lake Martin is Alabama living at its best
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The story of Lake Martin begins a century ago, when Martin Dam was built to provide energy and water to the state of Alabama. Today, thanks to the foresight of nineteenth-century-born innovator Benjamin “Mr. Ben” Russell, it powers a waterfront way of life where relaxation, play, and memory-making are as natural as the sunsets reflected off the lake’s surface.
It’s a lifestyle Mr. Ben pictured nearly a hundred years ago. A pioneering clothing mill owner turned visionary businessman, Mr. Ben saw the lake’s potential far beyond hydroelectricity. When its construction was completed in 1926, he could scarcely believe his good fortune “to have a gigantic lake dropped on top of us” in his nearby home of Alexander City, Alabama. He saw recreational living as the future, and the creation of Lake Martin led to the establishment of Russell Lands, which became a separate entity from Russell Manufacturing Company in 1962.This change laid the foundation for a luxury residential real estate development surrounding the lake and its shores.
Today, Mr. Ben’s legacy of community building continues at The Heritage, Russell Lands’ newest residential development, located within an easy drive of metro areas such as Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham, and Montgomery. With more than 1,500 acres along twelve miles of Lake Martin shoreline, the master-planned community will feature roughly 240 waterfront homesites and 130 wooded interior lots. Available to home buyers later this year, the properties are designed to give residents unparalleled views of the lake, the woods, and Wicker Point Golf Club, the centerpiece of The Heritage.
“There will be no greater tribute to Mr. Ben than The Heritage,” says Ben Russell, Mr. Ben’s grandson and Russell Lands’ chairman of the board. “It will mirror my family’s values in that it will be a place where multiple generations of families can revel in the surrounding beauty. It’s been said that my grandfather was ‘close to the land,’ and while the name honors my family’s heritage, we hope this community will be a place where others can build their heritage for generations to come.”
As with all Russell Lands neighborhoods, new residents will have access to the company’s network of masterful designers, contractors, and builders, whom they can work with to create a home that suits their needs—and personal tastes.
Throughout the development, the scent of longleaf pines and the gentle lap of fresh water create a prevailing sense of tranquility, and privacy is paramount amid the thoughtfully designed space. Ample lot sizes ensure solitude, while the natural wooded setting promotes a secluded, peaceful ambience. This feeling of rest and respite extends to communal areas as well, including the highly anticipated Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw–designed Wicker Point Golf Club—the team’s only course in Alabama. Slated to open in 2023, the private, one-of-a-kind course will give players a uniquely challenging environment of varying terrains, including natural creeks and pine plantations throughout. “They don’t just take any project,” says Tom Lamberth, Russell Lands’ president and CEO. “It has to really interest them.” But the minute Coore and Crenshaw saw the landscape, Lamberth says, they were sold. “I think the course is going to be second to none, and really some of the best golf in the state,” Lamberth adds. Half of the holes are directly on Lake Martin, with the first view of the water occurring on hole eight, the second par-three on the course.
The Wicker Point Golf Club Clubhouse and Golf Shop, designed by Hank Long of Henry Sprott Long & Associates, will be the quintessence of the Lake Martin experience. To make players feel at home, its design will feature not only a stand-alone golf shop with accompanying men’s and women’s locker rooms, but also a “wind down” room complete with a lounge and bar. The invitation to come in and sit a spell continues on the club’s wraparound porch, built in a Craftsman style and perfect for dining or relaxing after a round. And to help players sharpen their skills, a large practice putting course completes the private complex.
Thanks to a soon-to-come lake club, Heritage residents will never be far from the promise of a crackling bonfire, or a boat ride departing from the community dock. With construction overseen by the Atlanta-based architectural firm Cooper Carry, the club’s waterfront lawn and event space will include a catering kitchen and bar, making hosting friends and family easy. Neighbors can even greet each other daily at the club’s fully equipped fitness facility, or play a game of pickleball before cooling off on the lakefront veranda. A warm afternoon is made even better by the club’s saline pool, a refreshing place to take a dip following a tennis match on one of eight courts.
The greater network of Russell Lands neighborhoods offers additional facilities and amenities for Heritage residents, all capitalizing on the bucolic setting. “We want The Heritage to be an escape from the busyness of the outside world—a place where families can spend a day playing tennis, boating, swimming, hiking a trail, all the while connecting to the lake and the land,” Russell says. Here, people can set down roots in a place that’s committed to the environment, where activities like hiking, biking, and horseback riding are part of the community ethos. Following a day of exploration, neighbors can gather at The AMP, Russell Lands’ open-air amphitheater, for live music, including the annual Alexander City Jazz Fest, or watch fireworks sparkle across the water on the Fourth of July. Still more memories are made over meals at Russell Lands’ signature dining establishments, including the casual favorite Kowaliga Restaurant, which sits right on the lakefront, or a fine-dining venue like SpringHouse, which offers an exceptional farm-to-table menu to match its enviable panoramic views.
In this unspoiled environment, residents are invited to kick back, recharge, and focus their energies on what really matters: the joy of a perfect sunrise, a good meal with friends, some friendly competition, or a porch nap accompanied by the sound of the breeze blowing across the waters. This is what Mr. Ben foresaw all those years ago—a place where “when people hit the city limits of Alexander City, they can literally feel their blood pressure drop,” Lamberth says. A place where the stunning landscape holds a spell over residents, an outdoor way of life powered by the lake.
To learn more about The Heritage and its real estate opportunities, visit russelllands.com/neighborhoods/the-heritage/
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