The Colonnade at Kentlands held a grand opening sales event in November 2005 amid much fanfare. After nearly seven years, the 307-unit complex finally sold the last property in late June, and the developer and sales team have turned over the reins to the residents.
Because of its size, the Colonnade has five separate condo associations comprising various combinations of buildings, all of which fall under one larger homeowners’ association (HOA).
Resident Mike Janus serves as president of that primary HOA and said, “The community association covers all matters that are common to all of the properties, while the smaller groups handle issues that are specific to their buildings or area.”
Janus said one of his main missions is to solidify the Colonnade’s relationship with Kentlands.
“Although we were annexed into Kentlands several years ago, the developer really created some bad vibes with the Kentlands Citizens’ Assembly (KCA). We are going to turn that ship around,” he said. “The developer was interested in selling homes; we are interested in creating a community.”
Colonnade residents pay a fee to the Kentlands community; however, the reality of what the fee entitles residents to has been murky. Janus and Board Vice-President Dwayne Cooksen have recently begun to establish a blueprint for the condos as they relate to the KCA.
Janus said, “We have all of our own amenities, like a pool and gym, so we do not have access to any of the Kentlands sports facilities. We are welcome, however, to be a part of clubs and programs — with some restrictions — have space in the [Kentlands] Town Crier, access to the telephone directory and delivery of the newsletter. So we now have a much clearer and friendlier relationship between the KCA and the Colonnade.”
Janus joins a number of former Kentlands residents, including Cooksen, who are now calling the Colonnade home. Janus wanted “to stay as close to our friends and Kentlands amenities as possible. There are fewer children here, and it is more eclectic with retirees and middle-aged and young professionals.”
Catering to a diverse mix of residents was the goal of the community from the onset. According to the sales website, the developer offered one-, two- and three-bedroom options in 11 varied floor plans. The Colonnade also boasts a modest retail and commercial presence among its amenities.
Janus said that, overall, residents have “been happy with the mix of retail and professional shops in the Colonnade. The one disappointment has been the cafe, which, although seemingly a very nice place, is rarely open. In fact, it has not been open since January of this year. We hope that this space gets reenergized soon.”
Community-wide communication also is an area that needs some refining. “We don’t have a website yet,” said Janus, “and we are not really sure which direction to go with that right now. … We are limited to mailings and bulletin boards, which in this day and age is not very effective. Our void is in letting people know what is going on.”
Despite the challenges, one sentence sums up the motivation for all of Janus’ hard work: “I love the Kentlands!”