What is the Safest City in America?…Of Course, it’s Cary!!!


At the end of March, the experts in “finding you the right place to live,” Homesnacks.com released one of the most anticipated studies of the year. The study analyzed 283 cities across the country with a population of 100,000 or above in several areas to gauge the safety of their respective residents. In the article, released on March 19, they summed up their findings, giving Cary the highest praise of all analyzed. “Taking the crown as the Safest City in America for 2019 is Cary,” it stated. “A classic example of everything that makes America great!”

Safest-City-in-America-Preston Retreat

Events hosted by the Cary Police Department such as “Public Safety Day” (pictured) help give residents a comfortable and safe feeling.

For Love, Comfort, and Safety…Cary is the Spot!

In the Home Snacks blog post announcing the 2019 Safest City in America, blogger, Chris Kolmar begins with an overview of the annual poll. “We all want the finer things in life. Love, comfort, and safety are at the top of everyone’s list,” he began. What followed was his first “tip of the cap” to the town of Cary. “For a lot of people who live in America, safety isn’t a problem, but we don’t all get to live in the safest cities unless of course, you live in Cary, North Carolina.”

The Top 10 Safest City in America Listing for 2019

  1. Cary, North Carolina
  2. Irvine, California
  3. Naperville, Indiana
  4. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  5. Allen, Texas
  6. Gilbert, Arizona
  7. Murrieta, California
  8. Thousand Oaks, California
  9. Frisco, Texas
  10. League City, Texas
Safest-City-in-America-Cary NC

The Town of Cary’s wide variety of youth camps in the Summer and during the school year offer kids a safe way to make friends and have fun.

Residents Agree that Cary is Safe…and So Much More

A new feature to Home Snacks in their recent polls is actual resident feedback and comments about the individual cities. Echoing the sentiments of the town being named Safest City in America for 2019, one resident went even further in praising their hometown

“I grew up in Cary,” the Cary native began. “It is a town that I would recommend to anyone for any reason. Cary is a place for everyone, great for seniors, great for raising kids, and great for young adults and professionals.”

The review continued, “It is aa safe of a place to grow up as you will find. The schools are fantastic, there is a great selection of food, activities, and experiences.” The glowing recollection concluded, “It was a wonderful place for me to grow up and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for their forever home.”

How is it Decided That Cary is the Safest City in America?


The Cary Fire Department also adds to the feeling of safety in town with their connection to the community.

An obvious question, with a detailed and definitive answer. Home Snacks explains their ranking and analysis process in detail. Unlike some other sites and studies, they have a very thorough research model, covered in the blog post listing the results.

“While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion.” It continues, “Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s most recent report of crime (Sept 2018). Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.”

A “Report Card” for the Safest City in America

In addition to the overall highest score for overall safety (9.5 out of 10), Home Snacks also handed out “grades” based on a score of 1-10 to all 283 municipalities analyzed. They call their report card type grading system their “SnackAbility” scores. It is safe to say when looking at the “report card” below that Cary is not only the Safest City in America but it also “graduates with Highest Honors!”

Cary, North Carolina “SnackAbility Report Card”


“Operation Medicine Drop” and other similar programs initiated by the town help keep drugs off the streets in Cary.

(Scores are graded 1-10, 10 being highest)

Overall Grade- 9.5

Safety- 9.5

Education- 9.5

Amenities 9.5

Jobs and Employment- 9.0

Housing- 9.0

Diversity- 9.0

Affordability- 8.0

Commute/Travel- 8.0

Your New Homes Awaits: In America’s Safest City and the new standard in luxury home neighborhoods, Preston Retreat

Safest-City-in-America-Preston Retreat Cary NC

The incredible homes at Preston Retreat are located in the heart of “America’s Safest City,” Cary, NC

One look at the “Report Card” above and the title of Safest City in America and it’s no wonder you are searching for new luxury homes in Cary. Luckily for you right in the heart of “Safe City USA,” is the luxury home neighborhood that “changed the game” in the Triangle area, Preston Retreat.

There are still several home lots available at Preston Retreat. Some incredible custom home builders in the area waiting to build your dream home at Preston Retreat. To see some of the spectacular homes and the sites available in the Safest City in America at Preston Retreat, visit prestonretreatcary.com.

(All Photo Credits: Town of Cary)


Cary Ranks #6 of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

The highly regarded financial news and opinion website, 24/Wall St. has released its annual rankings, supporting your family’s decision to build in the Preston Retreat luxury home community, as Cary placed number six on the list of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live.

The website’s rankings of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live based its final tally and list on five major factors. These items included, population, median home value, poverty rate, percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree, and amenities per 100,000 residents. One deceiving factor in Cary’s number six rating among America’s 50 Best Cities to Live was what appeared to be a higher cost of a home than most in the surrounding area at an average of $298,000. However, with the town’s median household income standing at a lofty $92,000 a year and Cary’s incredibly low cost of living, the median home value figure actually is far more affordable than that of Raleigh or the entire state of North Carolina on average.

In addition to an extremely low poverty rate (7.3 percent) an a higher than average number of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree (61.8 percent), Cary’s high placement among America’s 50 Best Cities to Live was helped gratuitously by its extremely low crime rate, thriving economy, and a competitive and affordable housing market.

The article accompanying 24/Wall St.’s list of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live further explained the factors in Cary being put at number six among all municipalities nation wide, saying, “The nearby Research Triangle Park (RTP), a corporate research center located between UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, and NC State, employs much of Cary’s qualified workforce. Only 3.7% of the city’s workforce is unemployed…one of the lowest unemployment rates of any city.” The piece concluded, noting, “Cary is also one of the safest places in America. In the past decade, the city’s population grew 44.9%, one of the largest increases nationwide.”

To see the entire listing and a more in depth analysis of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live, visit 24/7wallst.com.

Preston Development Company sweeps the 2017 MAME Awards with their precision focus on Preston Retreat, a Limited-Edition Luxury Community.

With a reputation for high-end residential neighborhoods that stand the test of time and a honed talent for creating first-class communities that give residents a grand standard of living, it is no shock that on April 20, 2017, Preston Development Company walked away with four Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence (MAME) awards for its twenty-five home site, Limited-Edition Luxury Community: Preston Retreat.

Taking the awards for Best Logo Design for a Company, Best Website for a Community, Best Print Ad for a Community, and Best Innovative Feature for Custom Builder for Upton & Co.’s “Domaine Serene Wine Cellar” demonstrates that Preston Development Company considered even the smallest detail before presenting the groundbreaking luxury neighborhood dubbed “Preston Retreat.”

About Preston Development Company

Preston Development Company is recognized as one of the premiere development teams in the nation. Founders Tim Smith and Julian “Bubba” Rawl have established a reputation for planning and producing only the highest quality development projects. Visit Preston Development Company at prestondev.com.

About TSMC

The Triangle Sales and Marketing Council (TSMC) presented the winners of its 2017 Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence (MAME) Awards on Thursday, April 20 at the Raleigh Convention Center during their annual show.

The MAME Awards recognize new home sales and marketing efforts within the Triangle area of North Carolina. Categories are open to both large and small new home building companies from production to custom builders.

MAME mirrors the National Sales and Marketing Council’s Awards, part of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The NationalsSM Awards is part of the International Builders Show, an annual conference that is the largest gathering for the industry. MAME winners have the opportunity to go onto win at the state and national levels.

About the HBA and TSMC

The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County (HBA) is the voice of the home building industry throughout Wake County and provides members opportunities for business development, education, professional growth, networking and community involvement. The membership, comprised of builders, remodelers, developers, and sales & marketing professionals, is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders. Currently, the HBA is the second largest home builders association in the country.
The Triangle Sales and Marketing Council (TSMC), comprised of new home sales and marketing professionals that are part of the Home Builders Associations of Raleigh-Wake County and Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties. The TSMC provides members with education, training, and networking. The members of the HBA are building excellence together for the neighborhoods and communities of tomorrow. TSMC has been awarded the Best Sales and Marketing Council in the County 10 times over the last 17 years, by The NationalsSM Awards. Find more information at www.hbawake.com and www.trianglesmc.com.


Pillar Awards: Duo’s drive reflects Triangle’s relentless growth

Tim Smith, left, and Julian "Bubba" Rawl, right, of Preston Development Co. PHOTO BY CHARIS

Tim Smith, left, and Julian “Bubba” Rawl, right, of Preston Development Co. PHOTO BY CHARIS

Tim Smith, half of the duo that has built Cary-based Preston Development Co. into one of the most influential real estate development companies in the Triangle and eastern North Carolina, likes to joke that he has been “married” to his business partner, Julian “Bubba” Rawl, for about as long as Rawl has been married to his wife, Barbara.

The newly wed Rawls were on their honeymoon in Europe when Smith tracked the couple down – in pre-cell phone-era 1983 – to ask about a piece of land he wanted to buy from Rawl for a new auto dealership coming to Cary.

Smith and Rawl never ended up building that dealership, but the pair have since collaborated on so many real estate deals, business ventures and misadventures that they can just about finish each other’s sentences.

“I guess we’ve spent about half our entire life together now,” Rawl laughs.

Ticking through a list of early commercial and residential development projects they can remember, there’s the MacGregor West neighborhood and nearby Cary Auto Mall, Preston and nearly all of its neighborhoods, office and retail centers in Cary, Magnolia Woods, Wakefield, Wessex and Weston Estates. There’s also Landfall, The Arboretum, Camden Forest, Shiloh Crossing, Wade, Southlakes and Knightdale Station. To date, Preston Development’s staff of about 10 people is managing properties and investments entwined in 21 limited liability corporations.

“I can’t remember them all,” Smith says. “You’ll have to get Vanessa to help you put together that list,” referring to their longtime assistant and now executive vice president of the company, Vanessa Jenkins, who’s been by their side pretty much since starting the company in 1991.

And, of course, there’s Chatham Park, the nearly 8,000-acre assemblage of land near Pittsboro in Chatham County that Smith and Rawl have been acquiring in pieces since 2006. An approved development plan for Chatham Park includes land for 22,000 new housing units, or enough room for about 60,000 new residents, as well as nearly 2,000 acres of parks and open spaces and 22 million square feet of commercial buildings. Pittsboro has a current population of about 3,800 people.

Construction of Chatham Park’s first buildings, a medical office building and a hospice house managed by UNC Health Care, broke ground in 2015, and additional plans are underway for several small office buildings, a retail center, hotel, apartment building and a Thales Academy. Rawl says construction of the first housing development will begin in late summer 2017.

“We want to change the landscape in Chatham County and do the live-work-play model, which isn’t really implemented anywhere in this region,” Rawl says. He says the rivers, lake and natural setting provide “a unique situation that nobody else has got. … We really like being part of Pittsboro and the village-y feel there for what we feel is the right combination.”

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand in Pittsboro that a lot of people didn’t realize,” Smith adds. “We’re seeking to create a sense of place – something that’s never been done before.”

Smith, 67, grew up in Salisbury and moved to Raleigh to study civil engineering at N.C. State University before starting his own engineering firm in Cary. His father was Wilson Smith, a founder of the Food Town grocery store chain that would later become Food Lion.

Rawl, 64, studied business at East Carolina University, following his father Ed Rawl’s footsteps, a prominent Greenville businessman who was also the first president of the Pirate Club. Bubba Rawl owned a sportswear business that he sold to Nike in 1981 before starting to make investments in real estate and opening the Jellybeans roller skating rinks in Cary and Raleigh.

The duo are also ownership partners with Rick Hendrick in the Toyota of Wilmington and Jeff Gordon Chevrolet auto dealerships in Wilmington, as well as the Southport Marina in Southport and numerous other businesses and investments between the Triangle and the North Carolina coast.

Much of it, though, likely wouldn’t have happened without a fortuitous encounter in 1979. Another N.C. State alum, SAS co-founder Jim Goodnight, had approached Smith about buying a two-acre office lot next to Smith’s engineering firm at the intersection of I-40 and Harrison Avenue for a new office building, which Smith sold to him for $50,000, according to county records.

“He eventually bought two more acres, and two more and eventually bought us out,” Smith said, foreshadowing the more than 1,000 acres that Goodnight and SAS would eventually buy for the SAS headquarters campus in Cary with close to 5,600 employees.

“I eventually sold my engineering company, and over the years we just kept in touch with each other,” Smith says. When the land that would become Prestonwood Country Club came available, Smith approached Goodnight about partnering in the purchase. “I thought it would be a good asset for his employees, and it was good for the town of Cary and citizens of Cary to have a strong person behind the area’s premier country club,” he says. Smith says after they were successful in their sales at Preston, Goodnight backed Smith and Rawl in many of their other real estate projects. “We’re very thankful for his involvement with us,” he says. “We would not be where we are today without Jim Goodnight.”

About the only hard, fast rule Smith and Rawl say they put on each other for projects to pursue is that the property be within a 30-minute ride of their home or office in Cary. Of course, that rule was bent a bit when they started buying into properties in Wilmington, New Bern, Southport and Beaufort, but even those could be justified when they had homes and boats they were keeping at the coast.

“Normally our projects last about three years,” Smith says. “I think with Chatham Park, it’ll be about 40 years. Hopefully we’ll still be here.”

Amanda Hoyle Staff Writer Triangle Business Journal


Everyone Comes out a Winner at Inaugural Preston Retreat “Parade” Events

If the first two highly successful “Parade of Homes” luncheon and walk through events that area realtors were able to get a first glimpse at the homes at Preston Retreat were any indicator, the third event being hosted for realtors by Preston Development Company set for Tuesday, October 18 is one that you certainly will not want to miss.

This Tuesday’s upcoming event will begin at 9:30 a.m and run until 11:00 with brunch being served by Catering Works. As with the first two events, there will be entertainment, with live music to enjoy and also one lucky winner will walk away with a brand new iPad.

The team at Preston Development Company thanks all of our realtor friends who came out and made our unveiling of our 2017 Parade of Homes entries and oiur “Masterpiece in the Making,” Preston Retreat a huge success. Congratulations to the winners of our iPad giveaways from the first two events and we look forward to seeing more of our realtor friends on this Tuesday.



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Preston Retreat Cordially Invites Realtors to Our “Masterpiece in the Making” Oct. 11 and 18

Preston Retreat

Preston Development Company would like to cordially invite our Realtor friends to be the first to visit the neighborhood “setting the new standard for luxury home communities in Cary,” Preston Retreat.

Please be our guest at our exclusive Parade of Homes realtor event on Tuesday, October 11 from 9:30- 11:00 a.m. for a walk through of our two 2016 Parade entries from Upton & Co. and Wardson Construction, as well as a third open house at a Gray Line Builders model home. Brunch will be served at this event, as Mr. A’s Beignets Food Truck will be on site with made-to-order beignets and fresh, hot coffee for all.

In addition, we will be hosting another walk through of these same spectacular homes on Tuesday, October 18 from 9:30- 11:00 a.m. Brunch will also be served at this showing, with Catering Works serving up an assortment of food and drink.

Come out and enjoy the great live music and entertainment and be a part of our free iPad giveaway as well, just for coming by and checking out Preston Retreat. We would also, like to thank all of the Realtors who stopped out and helped make our first Preston Retreat “Parade of Homes” event a huge success this past Tuesday (October 4).

We look forward to seeing you and introducing you our “Masterpiece in the Making,” Preston Retreat. Please RSVP through the link provided or email lauren@prestondev.com by…and join us and you’ll agree that for a neighborhood a quarter century in the making, Preston Retreat is worth the wait.

(Pictured is our Jay Upchurch of Upchurch Land & Home with our October 4 iPad Giveaway winner!)


Preston Development Company announces “Preston Retreat,” the new standard in Luxury Home Living in Cary NC’s Preston Community

Preston Retreat Cary NC

Preston Development Company, has announced its plans to break ground on “Preston Retreat,” the final new home neighborhood to be launched in Cary’s largest community, Preston.

Located in the heart of the Preston Community at Davis Drive and Hogan’s Valley Way, Preston Retreat will be limited to just 25 homesites ranging between one-third to a half acre in size. A luxury home neighborhood over a quarter century in the making, the Preston Development Company had been saving this plush, final 13-acre tract of land for the perfect time and the perfect community.

It’s our uniqueness, said Preston Development Executive Vice President, Vanessa Jenkins speaking on what sets a Preston Community apart from the field. It is the ability to produce something that will stand the test of time, she added. It’s not the normal cookie cutter that just anyone can do. It’s got a little bit of personality stamped from every person on our team…I think that’s…our integrity. It’s a continuity that everybody here brings to the table.

With the Preston team putting careful consideration into all areas of development, the process of selecting a team of the most skilled and respected home builders in the area has already been put in place to help create the masterpiece that will be Preston Retreat

“Preston is synonymous with the inspiration and charm that has become associated with much of the amazing real estate that we have seen developed in Cary,” said Michael Blevins, Founder/ President of Blevins Creative Group, Inc. “With 25 plus years of real estate marketing and branding in the Triangle area, I can honestly say that with the incredible builder team that will be put in place, the history behind this project, and their patience to wait for just the right time and location for Preston Retreat, I am truly excited to see the end result.”

For more information, including new home and lot presales at Preston Retreat, visit their new website at prestonretreatcary.com or contact by email at retreat@prestonretreatcary.com.