Alabama’s Lake Martin emerges as the Southeast’s hidden resort gem

Tue, 09/11/2007 - 1:20pm
By: The Citizen

Those searching for the perfect vacation or second home will have a sneak peak at Russell Lands’ new luxury waterfront community of stunningly crafted estates and town homes in Lake Martin, Alabama during its showcase of homes Saturday, September 15 and 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, September 16 and 23 from 12-5 p.m. The new community is targeted to vacation and retirement home dwellers looking for a lakeside escape with upscale amenities.

Experts predict a surge in second home sales as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age. According to a 2005 study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, the typical vacation or second-home buyer was 52 years old and purchased a property that was within 200 miles from the primary residence. With more than 45 percent of people living in the South of the baby boom generation, resort areas such as Georgia’s Big Canoe and Lake Lanier Islands, the Highlands in North Carolina and the Florida gulf coast continue to surge in popularity, however, savvy buyers are increasingly looking to under-the-radar regional gems like Alabama’s Lake Martin to pursue their second home dreams.

“We are bringing back every bygone aspect of the lake lifestyle with this community,” said Steve Arnberg, Russell Lands Company Broker. “This isn’t about bringing city homes to the lake, it’s about reviving a way of life and preserving the natural beauty that makes Lake Martin so special.”

Between 2,000-3,000 people – many of them professional Baby Boomers– are expected to tour the Annual Showcase of Homes at The Ridge on Lake Martin ( Sept. 15-16 and Sept. 22-23.Visitors will get a chance to tour more than a dozen of the lakefront estates and Ledges of the Ridge townhomes, Craftsman-style residences with spacious 2,500-4,000 square-foot floor plans. Guest will also be invited to the Sept. 15 grand opening of the $10 million, 9,000 square-foot Ridge Club, which spans 10 acres of the development. The Ridge Club is a luxurious private clubhouse designed in the classic Craftsman style, to complement the architectural style of the private homes. The Ridge Club was designed to function as the social epicenter of the community.

“I would venture that this is the most high-end development on the most pristine stretch of waterfront in Alabama,” said Arnberg. “We’re offering modern luxury in a rustic setting where passion for preserving the integrity of the land is evident everywhere you look. The craftsmanship of the homes recalls another era, and people often tell us that this place reminds them of the summer cabins of their youth.”

The $1 billion-plus development is part of a 280-mile 25,000-acre stretch of real estate on Lake Martin that is owned by Russell Lands and is comparable in size to destinations such as Martha’s Vineyard or Hilton Head. Lake Martin is one of the most scenic bodies of water in the Southeast, indeed in the country, and is widely regarded as an unspoiled recreational destination for boating, fishing and swimming, among other activities.

All of the homes at The Ridge were designed and built by select architects and builders who specialize in lakefront properties. Strict architectural guidelines ensuring preservation of the land and Lake Martin were applied to the site development.

“A lake home must be as beautiful as you approach from the water as it is from the land, and a big part of that beauty is how gracefully a home inhabits its natural environment,” said Arnberg.

The natural beauty at Lake Martin is emphasized in a lush labyrinth of interconnected parks and trails that weave through the property, with miles of wooded walking trails, private outdoor nooks, fishing piers, convenient water access, and (to come in 2008) a lakeside beach with designated picnic area. The Ridge’s boating enthusiasts can enjoy a full-service marina with wet-slip boat storage, dry-stack boat storage, gas pumps, a state-of-the-art service center, and an on-site Sea Ray dealer. The Ridge Club features a swimming area integrated with the natural landscape, clay tennis court, fitness center, catering kitchen, children’s park, and a host of other amenities to meet residents’ lifestyle needs. A small village with a grocery store, restaurant and thoughtfully curated retail is being developed just a short distance from the main entrance to The Ridge to complete the community’s roster of amenities.

Russell Lands is a privately owned real estate company led by Ben Russell, grandson of renowned Alabama business leader Benjamin Russell, who founded the Russell Corporation in Alexander City in the 1900s. The elder Russell bought the nearly 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Martin during that time period, and later created the Lake Martin Recreation Association, which today is the leader in promoting clean water and safe boating on the lake.

“The Russell family has a long history and a deep understanding of Lake Martin and what it means to Alabamans,” said Arnberg. “Ben Russell, the grandson, was one of the lake’s most passionate stewards, creating the Lake Martin Recreation Association, which today is the leader in promoting clean water and safe boating on the lake. He has a vision for this place that was rooted in preservation, and we think he would be really pleased with the sense of place we’ve created at The Ridge.”

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Submitted by gordman on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 4:29pm.

I am glad to hear the news, we have a great potential for tourism industry in this area. I am thinking myself to open a new business in boating holidays.

Submitted by LakeMartinVoice on Thu, 09/13/2007 - 1:12pm.

FYI for anyone interested I have a blog about Lake Martin real estate and area info at

You can also search the Lake Martin MLS for free, no strings attached. One of my recent posts is entitles "6 Crucial Changes Coming To Lake Martin Real Estate"


John C

Submitted by Flydecajon on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 5:39am.

I agree the lake is nice, but the state did a terrible job over the last year for water level...Sure it is a nice lake but with no water so you build a house in the Ridge for a million dollars but you can't go boating with out losing a lower unit.....Also noted in Stillwaters there nicest condo's there Harbor point, which were over priced had to be auctioned off this summer because they could not sell them, real estate is at a premium there at this point. You will have to search long and hard for a good deal....If you look it is the developers constructing these articles...

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