With Pittsboro developments springing up like mushrooms – and retail/restaurants following in their wake – these families wanted a home in Powell Place
By Morgan Cartier Weston | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Built in 2007, Powell Place has a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and apartments at the intersection of Hwy. 15-501 and Hwy. 64.
Reverend Brent Levy and Natalie Levy moved to North Carolina from their native Virginia in 2012 so Brent could attend Duke University Divinity School.
“When I graduated, I served in a church in Chapel Hill for a while,” Brent says. They spent some time looking for the perfect place to plant roots in the area. “We actually put in an offer on a home in Powell Place but were beat out,” he says. They ended up buying in Durham, where they lived until 2018.
That’s when The Local Church, where Brent now serves as pastor, was just getting started. “I knew I wanted to be in the Pittsboro community as we got things going,” Brent says, adding that Sunday services outgrew their former space at House of Hops; the congregation now meets at Woods Charter School. “But we had no idea how much we’d grow to love and enjoy this town. Powell Place has been a big part of that.”
Natalie, a teacher at Christ Church Preschool in Southern Village, agrees their home couldn’t be better for their young family. Daughters Emma Levy, 6, and Eliza Levy, 2, enjoy playing both in the neighborhood and at nearby parks. “Our house backs up to Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park, so Emma and I love to walk, ride bikes or scooter over. I almost feel like it’s an extension of our yard.”
Brent says he remembers walking back there for the first time. “I was pinching myself that we get to live here,” he says. “I’ve taken so many walks over the past few years and still haven’t gotten bored.”
Just a short drive from home, the new splash pad in Chatham Park has been a big hit for Emma and Eliza, as well as The Plant at the Chatham Beverage District. “The girls can run around, and we can get some yummy food and local beer,” Brent says. “It really captures the essence of Pittsboro: eclectic, a little weird, but at the same time cutting edge and local.”
The family has made connections with their neighbors, too. “We are at the end of the road, so several impromptu block parties have broken out,” Natalie says. “There was one in particular in spring 2021 [when] we had all been quarantining for a year. Everyone wandered over with food, all the kids were playing. It was emotional. It poured rain that night, but everyone kept hanging out; we were so starved for connection and community, it didn’t stop us.”
And they only see things getting better. “I really have this sense with the development going on, from Red Moose Brewing to SoCo and Mosaic at Chatham Park, that we’re at the beginning of a renaissance for this town,” Brent says. “I’m excited about new people and growth.”
Down the road, Gina Carapella Bacheler and her sons, JJ Bacheler, 15, and Sam Bacheler, 12, are enjoying life at the Sanctuary at Powell Place apartments while they look for a home to buy in Chatham County. They moved to North Carolina from Arizona in 2006; Gina’s sister and parents soon followed. “This has been a wonderful place to live,” Gina says. “It’s walkable, safe and a great location. It’s close enough to downtown Pittsboro, where my sister lives, but still has easy access to the rest of the Triangle.”
The boys, who attend Northwood High School and George Moses Horton Middle School, respectively, have an easy walk to the bus stop at the neighborhood circle and enjoy playing with their dog, Juno, at the dog park in the complex and nearby trails.
“The apartments are extremely pet friendly, with doggie bag stations, a dog park and even a bathing station,” Gina says. “The pool and gym are also great, and we get food trucks a couple of times a month, which is a great way to get to know our neighbors – everyone is out there with their kids.”
Given the flexible lease terms offered by the community, the apartments are home to both long-term and short-term tenants. “Being so close to the hospital, it is a great landing pad for folks who are in town for treatments,” Gina says. “I also met a family who was living in one of the apartments while they waited for their Briar Chapel home to be built.”
Since they don’t have a yard, JJ and Sam are also fans of the 10-acre Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park. “It’s great for the kids, and we love downtown, too,” Gina says. “It’s so unique, and we enjoy going to places like The Mod, The City Tap and Greek Kouzina – we can’t wait for their new location to open at Mosaic at Chatham Park across the street.”
Realtor Tanya Papandrea and her husband, Vinny Papandrea, moved to North Carolina from New Jersey in 2014 to live closer to other members of their family in the area. “It was important to us to be near a major airport, because we do still have family in New Jersey,” Tanya says. “Ultimately, I connected with someone through my passion for horseback riding and learned about Chatham Park.”
While their neighborhood in New Jersey had reached a competitive peak, Tanya was excited to hear about the opportunity to get in on the ground floor in a growing community like Pittsboro. “It had all the things people say – affordability, quality of life, beautiful surroundings,” Tanya says. The couple first rented a house in Potterstone Village for 2½ years before purchasing in Powell Place in 2017.
“I was the listing broker for the new construction in Powell Place,” Tanya says. “Our rental was up, and there wasn’t much on the market, but we had a great feeling about the neighborhood and ended up buying one of my own listings.”
Having sold several of the homes nearby, Tanya had the benefit of built-in relationships with many of her neighbors from the beginning. “We had to make a fast decision, but looking back, it was the right one,” she says. The couple and their dog, Abby, enjoy walking near the two ponds in Powell Place. “We just love our neighborhood and can’t say enough good things about our neighbors,” Tanya says. “They are really social and fun, and anyone would do anything for anyone else.” When family comes to visit, Vinny and Tanya walk with their nieces to the playground and hang out with all the other kids in the neighborhood.
The couple’s favorite nearby restaurants are Postal Fish Company and The Beagle. “We love to go out just for appetizers and drinks, and those places both have a cool atmosphere,” Tanya says. “My real estate career took off so fast here compared to New Jersey, so that’s a big part of it, too, living in a place where you’re able to do well in your job,” Tanya adds. And though she doesn’t see the local housing market leveling off anytime soon, she recommends investing in a home in the coming years. “Interest rates are really low right now, so while it’s a tough time to get in with all the competition, it is actually a great time to buy if you can,” Tanya says.