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Editor’s Note ___________________________________________________ ____________________

Adriatica Living Magazine | 2012 Adriatica has now become home. It is an Old World styled village born out of a timeless treasure which brings people together in a

More Than A Place to Live, It’s a Place to be Alive

place to share things that will enhance, inspire and empower each others live. But it is yet modern in the sense that it has all of the amenities that one would assume to be the norm in any present day development project of this type. The village is often filled with people of all age





economic levels. You will often see hot air ballons, runners and walkers, dogs and their owners taking a stroll, soccer games and even the construction workers going about their tasks of building the next phase of the Harbor Riva District.

I have spent a considerable amount of time contemplating the many facets of Adriatica and have wondered to myself+ “Why don’t more places like this exist in America?” You would think that every development project would fashion itself after this amazing place to live, work, and play. I truly believe that

By the time this first edition of Adriatica Living Magazine is released, I will have only








developments, and it should.

been a resident of Adriatica for just about six months. It has truly been a season full of suprises for me. Coming from Michigan, I would have never imaged living here this time last year. It wasn’t even on my radar.

I was blessed to come to this village and I embraced the village; and when I did, the village embraced me as well as my family. I cannot put into words the value this presents to someone looking for a home,

But as time has passed, I’ve managed to settle into a home, find an office to run the company, brought down the wife, then the children, got them enrolled into school and also found a great church to fellowship with. In doing all of these things, what has stuck out in my mind the most, is the fact that my family and I are becoming part of a new community. A place where we’ve met new

maybe a place to open a business or simply just to visit. But I would hope that just like I have found Adriatica to be a place of wonderful people and places, you would also find the same. Adriatica Living Magazine will give you a sneek peek into a great place to live. But more than just a place to live, Adriatica is a place to be alive.

friends, made new relationships, found new adventures to discover and so much more. 4 | Adriatica Living Magazine


P E O P L E | L I F E S T Y L E | E V E N TS | B U S I N E S S | C O M M U N I T Y

EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER George C. Fuller ARTISTIC & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR JD Lee CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jan Tibbits Debra Goss Brian Grimsley JD Lee PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRIBUTORS Michaela Connaway Jed Rollins Gwen Guess Gittings Photography PRODUCTION / DESIGN FIFTHKING MEDIA ADVERTISING / M ARKETING Adriatica Living Magazine © 2012 ADRIATICA LIVING M AGAZINE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE The title and all material within are protected by international copyright laws and are reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s permission. Although the greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this magazine at the time of going to press, neither Adriatica Living Magazine nor FIFTHKING MEDIA can be held liable for omissions, inexactness or errors.


Adriatica Living Magazine 6625 Mediterannean Drive McKinney, Texas 75070 Ph: 972.559.4123 web:

ON THE COVER: James and Nicolee Knapp, celebrating after their summer wedding in Adriatica Photography by Micheala Connaway

10 | Adriatica Living Magazine

Caleb and Bennie Connaway right after their Sunday wedding in the beautiful Bella Donna Chapel of Adri atica | 13


n a time when many suburban residents




neighbors, an old-world concept of community is reborn in Adriatica.

Nestled on the banks of Lake Stonebridge in northwest McKinney, Adriatica is a village that offers new world conveniences with the look and feel of “Old World� charm. From the architecture of the stone buildings and cobble stone streets, to the authentic bell tower and chapel situated on the lake, each structure contributes to the European feel of a centuries-old village. Take a stroll along the lake, watch a neighborhood soccer match on the green, find that one-of-a-kind accessory at the retail shops, get a bite of lunch at one of the restaurants,





warmth and friendly feel of a small town. Step into Bella Donna Chapel and be instantly transported to a small Italian church complete with frescoes and bell tower. The Bella Donna Chapel is the perfect wedding venue, providing a romantic setting with a pristine lake backdrop for that very special day or ocassion.

12 | Adriatica Living Magazine

What sets Adriatica apart is the sense of… …wellness, relaxation, and tranquility that is promoted here

Players enjoying a summer pickup game at one of Adriatica’s sports fields | 13

It’s a place where . people can join in the… Adriatica





originally envisioned by Jeff Blackard, an international real estate developer known for his master planned communities, industrial parks,



GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum speaking to the press after a talk with pastors at the Bella Donna Chapel


contributions and philanthropic work abroad. During a visit to Croatia, Jeff was inspired by the small fishing village of Supetar, set on the island of Brac on the Croatian coastline. After partnering with George C. Fuller, an award





Independent Bank Group stepping in as the financial arm and lead developer of the project, it continues to be the goal to bring this old world village feel to the center of Stonebridge Ranch, McKinney, incorporating single and multi-family homes, restaurants and retail services. In just a short time, Adriatica has attracted

Drake Welsh preparing to film a time lapse video at one of Adriatica’s many picturesque locations

financial services, unique retail businesses, dining establishments and home owners. Eventually the village will have a boutique hotel, entertainment and dining by the lake, an events center, and a sailing ship in the harbor, all contributing to the European village life.




liberty, and the beauty of being alive 14 | Adriatica Living Magazine

Wedding guests crossing one of the Romenesque bridges at the Bella Donna Chapel after a wedding

Two young people and their dog enjoying a summer day by the waters of Stonebridge Lake

The Texas Boys Choir performing a Holiday ensemble at the Bella Donna Chapel | 15

Uncle Kracker entertaining the crowd at the Smiles for Habitat Concert hosted by Dr. Jennifer Buchannan

16 | Adriatica Living Magazine

A family enjoys the springtime ritual of flying a kite bankside along Stonebridge Lake

Adriatica is a great place to raise a family or meet friends; an ideal place to have a business meeting or event; attend a summer music festival, practice photography, fly a kite, jog around the lake, or have a picnic with the family. Community living is alive in the people of Adriatica. From the shop owners to the food servers;






grandparents, from the schools to the churches, Adriatica personifies a community of caring and sharing. Yes, village life is alive and well in Adriatica. Knowing your neighbor promotes caring and caring promotes community.

Adriatica is

your new destination location.

A beautiful young bride in a photo session on the steps of the E.J. Hughes Bell Tower in Adriatica | 17

How an international developer, a national award winning builder, and a successful businessman are working together to fuel the vision of Adriatica

20 | Adriatica Living Magazine


eorge Fuller, an award winning builder and designer, first heard about the Adriatica project on the way home from a mission trip to

Croatia. Enamored with the regions unique European architecture and inherent lifestyle, George was anxious to return to McKinney and discuss building opportunities with Jeff Blackard, Adriatica’s original developer. But as circumstances would have it, the building The south side of the Kastel Building showing two of the Four Season statues

role had already been filled. Two years later, conditions having changed, Jeff and George met again.

As they sat

down to discuss Adriatica in George’s office, Jeff identified the screensaver on George’s monitor as the near identical coastline photo he himself had taken years earlier-”It was a divine appointment” in Jeff’s mind and after thoughtful consideration, he invited George to join the team as the builder for Adriatica.

A dramatic view of the Kastel and Bol Buildings at dusk with Virginia Parkeway in the background

“I have followed George’s career for over 20 years. He is without question one of the great builders of our time. He has both the technical and creative instincts, which are highly unusual to find in one person,” according to Jeff. “I am a design, conceptual, and then ultimately, a structural guy,” George states, and he has gravitated toward incorporating “old world” and European architecture into his own designs. That is what attracted him to Adriatica, and his creative concepts and

A northern view of the Bol Building under the canopy of an open blue sky with a splash of clouds in the spring

building expertise are his unique contribution to the team. A goal of the Adriatica team is to re-create a Croatian village with as much authenticity as possible. This is where it gets challenging. In Europe, towns and villages were built over hundreds, and even thousands of years. Businesses were usually located on the ground floor of the home with living quarters on the floors above. | 21

22 | Adriatica Living Magazine

It takes a TEAM2 2to fulfill a VISION Houses were enlarged and rooms were

“We’ve begun construction now on what we

We look at the harbor as being the heartbeat

added out of necessity to accommodate

call the Harbor Riva District.

This will

of the village; it will be the centerpiece of

grown children and their families. Here in

ultimately consist of retail and residential

public attraction with restaurants, small


development that will wrap around the

shops and walkways on the water.”






fascinating and challenging.

parking garage.” There will be retail on the

“To accomplish this goal, we decided to design each home only as the demand arose.

With each new buyer, the design

first floor with luxury condos on the upper floors and sky bridges connecting the various structures.

“Adriatica is different from most other developments in that the majority of retail is going to be set within the harbor district, the interior part of this property,” says George.

process begins again, and we meet the

“Off our harbor mainland are two small

challenge of integrating it with the existing

islands, accessed and connected by period

home landscape” explains George. “When

authentic stone bridges.

you look at what is here, it doesn not look

Island is home to the Bella Donna Chapel.

artificial or contrived; it looks like something

The southern island will be a restaurant with

that has evolved over many years. That is

a banquet facility above, and potentially a

our goal, we don’t want to replicate a village,

condo or two on the third floor,” says

we want it to evolve and look as authentic as

George. “We have another Harbor site that

possible.” Adriatica is already attracting

extends out into the lake with various

retailers and residents and much more is

potential uses, including a boutique Venetian

envisioned in the future.

style hotel.

The Northern

“Most developments are planned with the retail on the exterior of the property, on the main thoroughfares. Adriatica requires the patrons to enter the village center where they will experience not just the shops that first







The pedestrian avenues and

waterside walkways provide passage to a lost world.”

Dressed in cut stone with the Cross at its peek stands the (E.J. Hughes) Bell Tower of Adriatica

A romantic pathway at dusk along the banks of Stonebridge Lake on the Riva Villa District of Adriatica | 23

“Not many cities can boast that they possess an amenity such as Adriatica”

Where does the Adriatica project stand

It is a bank that really cares about the


community and is putting its money behind

“When the economy turned, the George.

its rhetoric. A bank that believes in the

“Fortunately, David Brooks, representing

community deserves a community that

Independent Bank Group, stepped up to

believes in the bank.”





preserve the vision and finance the project. So, it is a blessing that paths of Jeff David is a resident, he’s built a home in Adriatica; and has built a bank branch here. David saw the value of Adriatica, not just as measured in dollars, but the real value this development is to the city. Not many cities

Blackard, George Fuller and David Brooks have crossed.

As David states, “We are

going to meet and exceed every expectation of the residents of McKinney have in completing the Adriatica project.”

can boast that they possess an amenity such as Adriatica.”

It’s not that Jeff created something new, Adriatica is not a new concept. He simply

According to Jeff, “There are few banks that are mastering the art of community banking. If you live in McKinney, you need to bank at

took something that had been long lost and forgotten, and now we are bringing it back/‘the art of living in community.’”

Independent Bank.

“Adriatica is not a new concept [Jeff] simply took something that had been long lost and now we’re bringing it back.”

24 | Adriatica Living Magazine

The uniquely styled roofline of a small chapel and villa in the Riva Villa District of Adriatica | 25

28 | Adriatica Living Magazine

Every village has its own distinctive variety of businesses that help create an environment unique to its identity. Adriatica is no different as it offers an extraordinary array of businesses that help to power the village. | 29



amily owned and operated Cavalli



Pizzeria Napoletana, located near





birthday, baptism, company party,

the entrance to Adriatica, offers you

or wedding? Your answer could

a neighborhood destination of old-

world charm and authentic Italian cuisine.

be right next door!

Fleurs and Events of Adriatica specializes in floral design, arrangements and gift

Cavalli was founded by first-generation

baskets, all with a unique European flair

Americans, Clara and Paolo Cavalli, who

that only they can create.

dreamed of creating the perfect Napoletana pizza for their family and friends. They

Ampura, owner and operator of Fleurs and



Events, has perfected her craft through

ingredients such as imported Italian flour,

fifteen years of experience and has a team

traditional San Marzano tomatoes, fresh

of expert designers at her side that will work

mozzarella cheese from buffalo or cow’s

with you to create exquisite specimens of

milk, and a traditional wood-fueled forno

floral art, perfect for your unique needs.





oven. The family tradition of excellence is continued





Just imagine your wedding in Adriatica’ Bella


Dona Chapel, resplendent with garlands,

operator of the Adriatica location.

bouquets, and European arrangements by Fleurs and Events. What a lifetime memory

In addition to pizza, this full-service family-

of sophisticated culture and beauty.

friendly establishment provides a generous selection of delicious Italian cuisine and

The only other location for such an event


would be found in the city of Supetar,





everyone after a family walk or outing.


Chances are, you will bump into friends and

Mediterranean Sea, yet it is right in your own

neighbors. You never know what a day in


Adriatica might bring!


raditions of the European wine bar go back as far as Rome’s Pompeii. These traditions of socialization, relaxation,



continue in the cozy, inviting atmosphere of Zin Zen Wine Bar and Bistro at Adriatica. Located behind the Starbucks Coffee House at Adriatica, Zin Zen offers over 80 varieties of wine from all over the world, as well as appetizers and deserts to be enjoyed either inside or out in their beautiful open-air patio. The live talents of local musicians and bands fill the evening with song on weekends, in addition to regularly held jam nights during the week. The venue is also available to be used for gatherings of various types and catoring is offered for those interested in having Zin Zen add a special touch to your event. Why don’t you gather your neighbors and friends, stroll on over, hang out with owners Kaleb Moore and Mike Dooley, and get your groove on! Zin Zen Wine Bistro is the perfect place to wind down. 30 | Adriatica Living Magazine






onceptually, the village of Adriatica is based on the fine quality of oldworld standards.

Its’ beauty will

endure for years to come.

Not only can you live, work and play in the elegant





village, you can achieve a more beautiful and radiant you! Excellent health encourages an enduring physical beauty that begins within. Status Body Studio in Adriatic is a medical spa that can enhance your health and beauty using the latest state-of-the-art treatments for pain relief, skin rejuvenation, and more. Owner/Operator Teray Victorian of Status Body offers a full body studio, which provides laser pain reduction options, laser tattoo removal, permanent hair removal, laser skin resurfacing, over nine types of facials, and Swedish and deep tissue massage; and it is all within minutes of your own home!


he soothing scent of essential oils, gentle music, and soft lights work in harmony to melt the stress and worry of a hectic day away, and you






consummate European splendor

in the Metroplex. The backdrop of

gorgeous architecture, lakes, and

village layout beg for artistic expression to

just walked in the door!

capture you and your family for posterity. Imagine





transformation that will occur after melting into a cushioned table and experiencing the

Conveniently located in Adriatica, Guess Photography can do that for you, and more.

calming touch of a full body massage. It can all be yours, just minutes away at Adriatica Day Spa.

Guess Photography, owned and operated by Gwen Guess, has a staff of professional photographic artists that can create the

Owner/Operator Christina Quach wanted to

perfect portrait, in-studio or out. In addition to

offer you even more, so she designed the

custom photography for weddings, glamour

spa to be full-service. Your natural outer

shots, and other special events, video

beauty can be enhanced through Adriatica

capture, duplication and editing services are

Day Spa’s other services of hair styling,

available as well as Photo and 35mm slide

acrylic nails, facials, body waxing, lash

scanning, video conversion, audio cassette

extensions and more.

to CD conversion, and duplication services.

What could make the experience even better? It’s just a short walk from home!

If all of these services aren’t enough, local photographers are also welcome to rent Guess Photography’s fully-equipped studio and editing equipment for their own artistic endeavors. It appears that the village of Adriatica has it all! | 31


here is Thai food and then there is real authentic Thai cuisine. Nestled inside of Adriatica retail district off of Virginia Parkway is one of the

area’s finest Thai restaurants.

A family owned and operated business, Silk Road Thai Cuisine is a place where you’ll be greeted at the door by kind and friendly waiters. From there you can enjoy the posh atmosphere and comfortable seeting that allows one to relax while listening to soft music in the background. The menu is filled with choice selctions that make for one of the finest arrays of lunch and dinner options in the Metroplex area. Well dressed

servers great

you upon

entering and gladly assist you in finding the best seat in the house. Soft, easy listening music plays in the background as you make your choices from the menu. A select wine menu is also available and when you sink your teeth into the food, you’ll become instantly hooked on the perfect blend of herbs and spices that will make you crave for more. The enclosed patio is a great place to wind down, have a conversation with someone, or simply enjoy the beautiful weather that is typical in Adriatica. The venue can also be made available for private events and gathering of various kinds and Silk Road Thai Cuisine can also cator your next event. Take Out and Delivery Services are always available when needed and is just a phone call away. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Silk Road Thai Cuisine today!

Good food, good fun and good times Are par for the course in Adriatica 32 | Adriatica Living Magazine

One of the best ways to be happy is to be healthy


r. Tracy Banks founded North Central



Partners in 1999 in McKinney,

TX. Her philosophy is to provide






service to women via a team approach where the patient is an active partner in her care. The practice has grown to four physicians and is an active member of the McKinney community.

Dr. Banks decided to enter medicine at the age of 14 when she volunteered as a candy striper at a Memphis, TN hospital. Her experience as a volunteer solidified her dream to become a physician. Dr. Banks earned a four-year scholarship to Xavier University in New Orleans where she graduated summa


laude. She


went to the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the country. In medical school, she was awarded the John B. Harris Award, given to the senior student who exemplifies





local community. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency training at the University of Texas, Houston, LBJ program. Today, Dr. Tracy Banks is an anchor in the Adriatica community and her services, along with the team of other professionals at Adriatica Wome’s Health OB/GYN create a great opportunity for women to be blessed with the gift of health! | 33

There are a lot of great people, places, and things to do in Adriatica. Hanging out at a restaurant, coffee shop, wine bar or any number of venues will certainly create lots of wonderful smiles and some very memorable photos. 36 | Adriatica Living Magazine | 37

There’s always something good going on in Adriatica!

38 | Adriatica Living Magazine | 39

ADRIATICA LIVING :: A place to be ALIVE!  

An exclusive publication featuring the people, lifestyle, events, businesses and community of Adriatica in McKinney, Texas.