Piedmont Avenue SPI-17 District Proposed Code Amendments Seek to Create Consistency with other SPI Districts

Atlanta is working with Midtown Alliance and the Midtown Neighbors Association to create a more user-friendly ordinance.

 

The City of Atlanta has collaborated with the Midtown Alliance and the Midtown Neighbors Association (MNA) to identify critical revisions to the zoning code to regulate orderly growth in the Piedmont Avenue SPI-17 District into the future. The proposed regulations aim to simplify, clarify, and make this district more consistent with other SPI districts. The only changes proposed are text changes and not changes to the zoning map; therefore, no properties are proposed to be rezoned.

The Zoning Review Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on March 3, 2022, or March 10, 2022. The text amendments they will be reviewing include:

  • Providing procedures consistent with other SPI districts.
  • Reformatting and updating text into tables including allowed uses, allowed heights, open space, streetscaping elements. Also, pedestrian and vehicular accessibility are clarified, including parking counts and the building’s active use depths and fenestration (windows).
  • Updating specific design criteria, including prohibiting EIFS, tree grates, arcades, overzealous tree installation, and further regulating criteria for curb-cuts and parking decks. This is intended for better compatibility to the Midtown Garden residential area to the east and greater consistency with the City’s transportation plans.

The Piedmont Avenue Special Public Interest District is divided into four (4) subareas and include Subarea 1: 14th and Piedmont; Subarea 2: Piedmont North; Subarea 3: 10th; and Piedmont. Subarea 4: Piedmont South.

According to City documents, the updated SPI-17 code will reinforce Piedmont Avenue’s strengths, including creating a walkable neighborhood with a balance of low and medium density uses. The district will continue to transition between the high mixed-use densities in the SPI-16 district to the west and lower residential densities in the Midtown Garden residential area to the east. New development will have similar landscape and streetscape design requirements to be compatible with the existing environment along Piedmont Street. In addition, the encroachment of incompatible dense commercial uses and parking into the residential neighborhood will continue to be restricted.

Post by Anita Archambeau

Whatnow Atlanta

January 27th, 2022

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Private equity giant Northland pays near record price for prime Midtown development site

Midtown skyline.

Midtown skyline.

A private equity giant has paid a near record price for a prime development site in Midtown.

Northland Investment Corp. bought just under an acre at Spring Street and 17th for a whopping $19 million, or about $555 per land square square foot, according to Fulton County property deeds. It was sold by an affiliate of Drapac Capital Partners, an Australian real estate firm with a big footprint across Atlanta.

The all-cash deal closed on Dec. 22, according to Fulton County property records.

Four years ago, Drapac had paid just $4.7 million for the site, but a construction boom across Midtown since then has eroded the supply of development sites. It has left buyers forced with paying a premium for the top opportunities.

The site Northland purchased sits in the middle of several mixed-use projects and apartment towers either planned or underway. Next door is the site of a proposed 31-story apartment tower at 1405 Spring Street that JPX Works and Zeller Real Estate will develop. For comparison, JPX paid around $459 per land square foot for their half-acre site. Farther south, the Rockefeller Group paid $500 per land square foot for 1.1 acres at West Peachtree and 12th Street.

Northland primarily develops apartment and mixed-use properties. The firm owns several apartment projects across Atlanta, including The Sutton high-rises in Buckhead Village.

In Midtown, Northland is expanding in one of the top real estate markets in the Sunbelt. Nearby, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is opening its Atlantic Yards cloud computing and artificial intelligence office. It will bring 1,500 jobs. Also nearby is a new office tower anchored by Google.

By  –  Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Site Construction Plans Filed for the West Midtown Mixed-Use Office Tower

Utilities, grading, and the construction of the parking deck are listed as the future improvements slated to begin in March.

Developer Sterling Interest LLC, with application assistance by Josh Reynolds of Kimley-Horn, is moving forward in developing a 1.25-acre site in West Midtown according to civil construction drawings and land disturbance permit application documents filed with the City last month.

In April, as reported by What Now Atlanta, the Chicago-based company will redevelop the property at 1050 Marietta Street NW from a single-story, partially occupied 30,000 square foot building into a mixed-use project located at the southeast intersection of West Marietta, Marietta, and 8thStreets.

According to plans submitted to the City, the project would hold seventeen stories, 202,909 square feet of office space, and 18,873 square feet of ground-floor commercial or retail.

The first phase of the development includes the site preparation, which consists of constructing a 570-space parking deck with one level of below-grade parking, stormwater conveyance through an on-site cistern/rainwater reuse, and all related utility work. According to documents submitted by the applicant, the estimated site work value is $1,600,000.

The Chicago-based company obtained rezoning approvals from the City in 2021 on the properties located at 1026, 1050, and 1060 Marietta St. NW to MRC-3 (Marietta Street Artery Overlay) to move forward with the construction of a multi-story mixed-use building.

The submitted plans anticipate the demolition of existing buildings, clearing, and site grading will begin in March 2022. Building construction is expected to start mid-Summer 2022.

Post by Anita Archembeau

Whatnow Atlanta

Published on January 6th, 2022

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Cousins Properties expands Midtown tower concept, buys Ecco restaurant

Updated rendering for Cousins Properties' 887 West Peachtree office tower.

Updated rendering for Cousins Properties’ 887 West Peachtree office tower.

Atlanta’s largest office landlord has acquired a half-acre just blocks from Tech Square, adding another property for its mixed-use project along West Peachtree.

Cousins Properties Inc. paid $6.9 million for the site along 7th Street, according to Fulton County property deeds. Cousins has adjusted its original plans for its 887 West Peachtree project from a single 26-story office tower to include apartments, a restaurant and additional greenspace in a second phase of construction. The new site on 7th Street provides more room for the amenities.

Cousins brought the property from Atlanta-based restaurant group Fifth Group Restaurants, according to property records. The restaurant group’s Midtown location of European-style bar Ecco is located on the property. Cousins intends to preserve the building and has leased it back to Fifth Group. The deal closed on Dec. 9.

For the last two years, Cousins has slowly assembled sites for the project along 7th and West Peachtree. In September, it paid about $3 million for a .15-acre site adjacent to the Ecco building, where a 12-unit apartment building from 1929 still sits. In April of 2020, the company closed on three commercial lots for a combined $6.4 million.

The most recent iteration of site plans presented in December to the Midtown Development Review Committee showed a 26-story tower with 400,000 square feet of office space build over street-level retail.

Previous proposals called for around 31 stories, an additional 100,000 square feet of office more dramatic architecture that resembled a razorblade on the skyline, but Cousins altered the plans to “cater to what we’re hearing from the market,” said Executive Vice President Kennedy Hicks.

“You’re seeing the Midtown market continue to grow and evolve,” Hicks said. “This location as part of Tech Square is interesting, and the more projects that get announced there, the more exciting this particular location is going to be.”

The project is joining an area with several recently developed office towers, including:

  • Selig Enterprises’ Google-anchored 1105 West Peachtree, part of a larger mixed-use development
  • Portman Holdings’ 712 West Peachtree integrated into Anthem Technology Center
  • Cousins’ 758,000-square-foot Norfolk Southern campus.

Cousins expects to begin construction on the first phase of 887 West Peachtree this summer, Hicks said. Phase II will follow. The company has recently added active listings for the site on real estate inventory database CoStar.

By  –  Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Check out how much Midtown Atlanta has grown in a decade

Since 2010, nearly 60 buildings have risen within a square mile of booming neighborhood

 

Anyone returning to Midtown for the first time in a while has probably had that surreal experience of turning a corner and seeing a new city, a high-rise wall unfurling down the street that wasn’t there before.

Midtown Alliance has lent context as to why that happens.

As part of a debriefing event last week, Midtown Alliance CEO and president Kevin Green presented an updated aerial rendering depicting what’s been built across the booming subdistrict in the past decade and what’s to come.

Across roughly one square mile, 57 buildings have delivered since 2010, with the majority of them classified by Midtown Alliance as “major” developments.

Eight of them have opened this year alone.

Buildings that have delivered since roughly 2010 (blue), with more under construction today (green), plus some other projects in the development review process (orange) now. Midtown Alliance

The groundswell of investment in the once-sleepy district shows few signs of slowing.

Another 16 projects are under construction—including skyline-altering builds like Middle Street Partners’ 1081 Juniper towers—while another 10 buildings have cleared the development review process, according to Midtown Alliance.

In pandemic-addled 2021 alone, 10 projects have come before the Midtown Development Review Committee. If built as planned, they would bring nearly 2,000 more residential units, 60,000 square feet of retail, and more than 748,000 square feet of offices.

Where the bulk of Midtown’s development has been concentrated the past decade. Midtown Alliance

To put those numbers in visual terms, Midtown Alliance color-coded buildings in a recent aerial photo and inserted approximations of where major proposals would stand.

As staggering as that visual may be, eagle-eyed observers online pointed out that it’s actually missing a few under-construction projects, such as Toll Brothers’ 36-story Momentum Midtown and Portman Holdings’ first residential tower in the city. (Labeling Selig’s curvy 1010 Midtown condos as a post-2010 delivery, and calling John Dewberry’s supposedly viable Campanile redo “under construction” could also be described as fast and loose.)

In any case, as the illustration clearly shows, Midtown is evolving at a rapid clip, and former surface parking blocks and low-rise lots have become dense urban scenes like these below, with more on the way:

One major recent project, Norfolk Southern’s two-building HQ complex on West Peachtree Street, replaced what was largely surface parking across 3.4 acres.Jonathan Phillips/Urbanize Atlanta

Most Midtown buildings seen here didn’t exist a few years ago. Jonathan Phillips/Urbanize Atlanta

 

DECEMBER 06, 2021

BY JOSH GREEN – Urbanize Atlanta

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Long delayed revamp of Midtown office tower still happening, owner says

The renovation of the Campanile tower at 1155 Peachtree St. NW has been stalled amid a dispute with a former contractor, but developer John Dewberry says the project will resume, perhaps by Christmas. STEVE SCHAEFFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

At the center of Midtown, Atlanta’s hottest commercial real estate market, stands a 21-story eyesore.

The renovation of the Campanile office tower, at 1155 Peachtree St., has been stalled for about two years, and the neglect is starting to show. Weeds grow through a chain link fence. Sheets of protective plastic wrap are peeling off the building’s exterior.

Meanwhile, across 14th Street, a $400 million renovation of Colony Square was completed this summer. Across Peachtree Street, the 1980s office building that will soon house the credit card network Visa recently underwent a facelift.

Campanile’s owner, John Dewberry, has ambitious plans for the office tower that include encasing the building in new marble, creating a penthouse office suite and expanding floor space by 50%, to 665,000 square feet. And his company has been awarded millions of dollars in tax breaks to help him accomplish that. But the project has hit financial snags along the way, delaying its completion.

A $186 million loan secured by the Campanile tower was recently sold as “non-performing,” meaning the lender considered the loan in distress. Liens piled up as the project came to a halt. The city of Atlanta filed a complaint labeling the renovation “abandoned.”

The pandemic has brought a new set of challenges, as well. Landlords like Dewberry face a market with soft demand and an oversupply of vacant offices. Many companies are reconsidering office space as more employees spend at least part of their week working remotely.

Dewberry said he’s not worried.

“Once we’re through, I think 14th and Peachtree Street is really going to be ground zero of Atlanta,” he said in an interview.

the Campanile office tower is under construction at 1155 Peachtree St. NE in Atlanta STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Dewberry insists everything is in order and says construction will resume soon, perhaps by Christmas.

A work shutdown at a major intersection is enough to garner attention on its own. When it involves a developer whose outsized personality attracts both flattering and unflattering descriptions, it’s even more notable.

A 2017 Bloomberg article called Dewberry the “emperor of empty lots” for his unwillingness to develop valuable parcelson Peachtree Street. He owns about 1.7 million square feet of office, retail and hospitality properties in metro Atlanta, according to data provider CoStar.

Things started well at the Campanile. Dewberry bought the largely empty building at a discount, for $36 million in 2010, with plans to renovate. About three years later, the Development Authority of Fulton County (DAFC) granted a tax break estimated by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to be worth about $3 million. The DAFC justified the incentive because Dewberry’s plan could lure employers and jobs.

But that initial project failed to gain traction with would-be tenants, and Campanile remained about half-empty, according to a DAFC document from 2017. So Dewberry returned with a grander proposal.

That November, the DAFC board unanimously approved a new tax break replacing the 2013 agreement. DAFC did not publish estimated values of its tax breaks at the time, but the AJC estimates the 2017 deal could be worth about $5.7 million over a decade. In return, Dewberry promised an $88 million renovation, adding four floors of office space and street-front retail.

“The project is expected to result in approximately 1,319 new office jobs and 46 new retail jobs,” according to the DAFC meeting agenda. It’s unclear how those job estimates were determined.

It may seem counterintuitive to put so much work into a 1987 office building, but it’s based on sound reasoning, said Keith Pierce, vice president of research at brokerage Transwestern. Older buildings have a difficult time competing with brand-new products.

Dewberry is “essentially delivering a new building with 35-year-old bones,” Pierce said.

Quarterback-turned-developer John Dewberry

In the 11 years Dewberry Capital has controlled Campanile, tech corporations that pay a premium for office space have flocked to Midtown, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. Law firms like Jones Day are also courted to relocate to the newest buildings.

Even during the pandemic, Midtown has been a bright spot in the overall mixed picture of metro Atlanta’s office market.

Landlords signed 501,411 square feet of new office space leases in Midtown during the three-month period ending Sept. 30, according to brokerage Avison Young. That was up from 156,626 square feet in the same period in 2020, but shy of the 252,615 square feet leased in the same period of 2019.

Over the decade as the Midtown market heated up, Campanile landed Pandora and Northwestern Mutual insurance as tenants, but otherwise missed the wave. It’s currently about 44% occupied, according to Avison Young.

“That entrance is still a mess. For a prospective tenant, that’s a turnoff,” said Henry Lorber, a distressed real estate expert. “You also have vicious competition going on from all the other offices in the area.”

Dewberry predicts that Campanile will soon join the ranks of Midtown’s trophy office towers and will be able to attract top-shelf tenants. But, he said, it’s taken longer than he expected.

The city’s building permit office last month filed an “abandoned project” complaint against Campanile and scheduled an inspection to gather information.

“It’s been a bit painful, and I apologize to all the folks that it looks like it does,” Dewberry said.

He said he’s resolved the abandoned project complaint. A spokeswoman with the city said the department continues to look into the matter.

Delays are part of the development game, Dewberry said. The mid-century building he bought in Charleston, S.C., in 2008 to make into his namesake hotel took eight years to renovate, but it has since claimed numerous awards, including a spot on Tripadvisor’s top 25 U.S. luxury hotels.

Dewberry said Campanile’s delays were caused by several factors, including a disagreement over price estimates with the former general contractor.

Delays can lead to financial problems, depending on the terms of agreements between a lender and borrower, said Nellie Shipley Sullivan, a commercial real estate attorney at Womble Bond Dickinson who’s not involved in the project. Some loans will place a borrower in default if construction stops for an extended period, she said.

Dewberry said he’s current on Campanile’s renovation loan.

“We have never been a penny short or a second late” on a loan payment, he said.

Privately owned Dewberry Group isn’t required to disclose financial details on a project. But a few red flags have appeared.

The Campanile loan was sold in August to a California-based investor that specializes in distressed debt. Dewberry said he doesn’t know why the loan was classified as distressed since he’s never made a late payment.

“We’re not happy about it,” he said.

Liens or construction delays can lead a lender to classify a loan as non-performing, experts say.

The newly completed Campanile building at 14th and Peachtree in 1987. Colony Square is in the background.

Some lenders might choose to sell their interests in a commercial loan deemed “non-performing” at a small loss because of doubts about the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Some might run out of patience with the borrower and sell the loan.

The Campanile loan purchaser, Dornin Investment Group, and a seller, H.I.G. Realty Partners, did not respond to requests for comment. The other seller, Square Mile Capital, declined to comment through a spokesman.

The Campanile project has hit other potholes. In late 2020, at least nine liens were filed against Dewberry Group by Campanile subcontractors, according to Fulton County court records. The vendors, including concrete supplier Ready Made and heavy-equipment distributor Sunbelt Rentals, claimed that Dewberry owed a total of about $1.6 million.

In January and February, Dewberry paid all the subcontractors but one, and the liens were withdrawn.

The final lien, for about $163,000, was filed by general contractor Gay Construction. A notice of withdrawal or cancellation of the lien has not been filed in Fulton County court.

Gay Construction’s lien was a dispute over the final estimated cost, Dewberry said. Although he initially agreed to the estimate, the amount of which he declined to disclose, Dewberry said he later realized it was too expensive.

Gay Construction and Dewberry Group later reached a settlement. Calls to Gay Construction seeking comment were not returned.

The COVID-19 virus played a role in the renovation delay. After parting ways with Gay Construction as the general contractor, Dewberry tapped himself as general contractor in partnership with British architectural engineer Gary O’Connor.

Dewberry picked O’Connor because he developed a new method of attaching stone to a building’s exterior that’s not as heavy as traditional methods. But he was delayed for months from entering the U.S. due to COVID-19 restrictions, which have since expired.

Dewberry also had to replace a large tenant. When SunTrust merged with BB&T to create Truist Bank, it consolidated office space downtown. SunTrust’s move-out further delayed construction work, he said.

Dewberry continues to plan for restarting construction. He’s decided to use marble on the Campanile’s exterior that comes from the same quarry used for The Dewberry hotel in Charleston.

“I’m probably the only fool on the planet to do what we’re doing,” he said.

Revised architectural plans will be filed with the city early next year. Construction will resume, pending delivery of half a disassembled crane he recently purchased.

But there’s a delay. One half of the crane is in Texas, and he’s waiting for it to be delivered.

“We bought the crane ourselves,” Dewberry said. “Now I own it.”

 

By – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

November 16th, 2021

Link to Article

 

 

City files ‘abandoned project’ complaint against Dewberry’s Midtown job

Controversial developer’s retail and lobby redo at Campanile building stalled early last year on Peachtree Street

City inspectors have taken action against a long-dormant Midtown project by a controversial developer that neighbors have decried as an eyesore in a high-profile location.

The City of Atlanta’s Office of Buildings filed a complaint last month labeling the Campanile Plaza building at 1155 Peachtree Street as an “abandoned project” that’s subject to code enforcement.

Campanile’s owners, Dewberry Group, began a renovation of the 21-story tower’s base floors in 2019, encircling a full city block in construction fencing while gutting lower floors and tearing out exterior common areas.

Construction ceased in early 2020, and little or no visible work has recommenced at the site.

The southern section of the project, as seen this month, along 13th Street. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

According to permitting records, the complaint against Dewberry Group—which is led by prominent Midtown landowner John Dewberry, who’s been described by national media as Atlanta’s “emperor of empty lots” for his willingness to sit on land and rebuff big-time offers—was filed by Interim Chief Inspector Tim Rehklau on September 27.

Multiple inquiries in recent weeks to Dewberry officials regarding the project’s status have not been returned.

In a conversation with Urbanize Atlanta this past summer, city planning commissioner Tim Keane said Dewberry had told the city he ceased work at the site after construction had begun because he was unsatisfied with designs and wanted to tweak them with a new architect.

That would require adjustments to permitting, said Keane, but no recent Campanile activity has been logged in city permitting records.

“I think overall, [the project is] a very good thing. They’re obviously trying to make an urban frontage on 14th and Peachtree [streets], and make it a little denser,” said Keane at the time. “[Dewberry’s] particularness about the design, I think, will pay off, but I know it’s frustrating that it’s not proceeding faster. I was hoping it’d be done by now.”

 

Plans for the revised Campanile base as seen from the south.Studio Dewberry

Built in 1987 as Bell South’s corporate headquarters, the 450,000-square-foot Campanile was purchased by Dewberry Group in 2010. Several years ago, the company completed a renovation that purged the Class A building of its 1980s datedness on upper floors, but its lobbies and plazas were still lacking an engaging connection with surrounding streets.

A design update at the tower’s base has been more than five years in the making.

The renovation calls for a 50,000-square-foot addition of two-story retail, plus modernized lobbies that Dewberry Group leaders feel could be among “the world’s most inspirational,” according to the company’s website.

Dewberry Studio, the company’s design component, drew up the Campanile redo in partnership with Berkley-based Wong Logan Architects and architect Peter Logan of New York City. Plans originally called for the revised Campanile to debut this past summer.

Dewberry Group has also mused about adding a 22nd floor to the building, swelling the property to 665,000 square feet—good for Atlanta’s 17th largest office tower.

At this point, however, most Midtown residents we’ve heard from would settle for proper windows around the lower floors, at least in the short term.

As Keane noted, property developers in Atlanta can’t leave sites idle in perpetuity without facing fines or other repercussions, whether they’re redoing a porch or erecting a skyscraper. ​

“If they abandon it, and just leave it, it becomes a nuisance and subject to code enforcement action,” said Keane. “[That applies] to any property owner that has any construction of any scale going on.”

 

OCTOBER 21, 2021, 1:33PM

By JOSH GREEN – Urbanize Atlanta

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Move-Ins Boost Midtown’s Momentum As Developers Look To ‘Land A Whale’

Developers are building nearly 3M SF of new office space in Midtown Atlanta, more than half of all new office construction in the region. And if more developers have their way, Atlanta’s hottest office submarket could see more than 8M SF more rise there in the near future.

While the submarket hasn’t been immune to the office slowdown this year — Class-A offices in Midtown were 23.8% vacant as of June, among the highest rates in Metro Atlanta — developers say Midtown will remain the preferred destination for companies chasing talent and the amenities of larger cities.

View of the Midtown Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park

 

“If you feel optimistic about job growth in Atlanta, then you’re obviously going to feel optimistic about what’s happening in Midtown,” said Selig Development Chief Operating and Development Officer Steve Baile, whose firm is developing the 1105 West Peachtree tower, which Google has leased.

“It’s not just an office market, it’s not just a residential market,” Baile said. “It feeds all food groups.”

While absorption was weak during the first six months of 2021 — Midtown absorbed just 56,600 SF of office space during that time, according to JLL, despite over 1M SF of deliveries — Colliers projects it will surge back in the third quarter, turning positive by 1.1M SF, thanks in part to Microsoft occupying its 500K SF offices at Atlantic Yards, Colliers Director of Research Scott Amoson said.

Experts say leasing momentum is gaining steam again in Midtown, which could justify developer optimism on the submarket.

“I do not believe that demand is waning in Midtown,” Transwestern Vice President of Research Keith Pierce wrote in an email. “The second half of 2021 will likely show some strong absorption numbers as companies like Microsoft and Google begin to take occupancy of their new hubs.”

The submarket has already lured a number of banner tenants, including names like Microsoft, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Google, as executives chased talent coming out of Georgia TechGeorgia State University and the various Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the city.

The leasing momentum, along a large pipeline of office prospects, has allowed area landlords to command some of the highest rents in the metro area. Midtown rents today average more than $40 per SF, up from $34.50 just three years ago, according to data compiled by Transwestern.

“I’m still very bullish. If I had this level of activity and Covid had never been around, I’d be pleased,” said Chris Scott, a partner with Greenstone Properties, which is constructing 14th & Spring, a 320K SF office building that is set to be delivered by July. Greenstone has yet to sign any leases for the building.

“In Midtown, being a year out … the level of interest and presentations I felt were on par with what I kind of [was] expecting,” Scott said.

Rendering of the 14th & Spring mixed-use project in Midtown

 

Colliers Senior Vice President Jessica Doyle said Midtown will continue to be a primary destination choice for companies coming from the West Coast and Northeast, especially technology firms.

“The number of large deals out in the market is very encouraging,” Doyle said. “We still are seeing the most large deals that I’ve ever seen in my career.”

Greenstone is far from the only developer vying for those deals: According to CoStar data compiled by Transwestern, developers are planning more than 8.5M SF of additional office projects, including New City Properties and Cousins Properties‘ 200K SF joint venture development next door to 725 Ponce, Cousins’ planned 390K SF tower at 901 West Peachtree St. and Portman Holdings‘ planned 1020 Spring St. mixed-use complex.

Cousins Properties Executive Vice President Richard Hickson noted the demand for space in Midtown and Buckhead during the company’s July second-quarter earnings call.

“Atlanta, our largest market, continues to see an uptick in demand, particularly from the technology sector, and Midtown and Buckhead are leading the recovery so far this year,” Hickson said. “Our current leasing pipelines in both Buckhead and Midtown are equally encouraging. As we look ahead, we believe we will continue to see a noticeable flight to quality.”

Part of the attraction to Midtown from outside companies is the submarket’s design: Midtown is laid out in a grid pattern, like other major cities, and has plenty of access to Atlanta’s mass transit system, Regent Partners Director Keith Mack said. Other submarkets in the metro area — especially out in the suburbs — were designed for automobile dependency.

“I still think Midtown is kind of the most urban submarket that we have,” Mack said. “Midtown proper, if you can find land, I think it’s still ripe for development.”

Of the nearly 3M SF underway, 65% has been already leased up by tenants, according to Colliers. Many of the planned projects may wait to break ground until they sign a significant anchor tenant.

“Companies like [Microsoft and Google] don’t come along every day, and developers are likely to proceed cautiously with new projects while seeking to land a whale,” Pierce said.

Baile said Selig is taking that approach for the second phase of its West Peachtree project, where it could add an additional 500K SF of office along with 400 apartment units. It pre-leased the first phase, securing both Google and the law firm Smith Gambrell & Russell, before putting shovels in the dirt.

“We need to have some momentum on another office lease,” Baile said. “That will be the catalyst for us on breaking ground.”

 

September 22, 2021

Jarred Schenke, Bisnow Atlanta

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Agent: Townhomes in East Lake’s new commercial hub set sales records

Ell Square is the residential component of the Hosea + 2nd project

 

The last facet to fill out the four corners of East Lake’s new commercial hub has been a hit with townhome buyers, according to the project’s sellers.

Atlanta homebuilder JackBilt has begun topping out the first phase of a 20-townhome venture that’s claiming the sole empty corner at Hosea + 2nd. The broader project has replaced derelict buildings and vacant lots with restaurants, offices, and a salon the past five years.

Designed by TSW Architects, the four-story townhomes are called ELL Square for “East Lake Line,” a nod to the neighborhood’s nearby borders with Oakhurst and Kirkwood.

Half of six units listed thus far under contract, with prices beginning at $635,000 for three bedrooms and three bathrooms (plus two halves) in 2,060 square feet.

On the top end, the community is notching what listing agent Allen Snow of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty calls “record sales numbers.”

How the townhomes are filling the last empty corner of Hosea + 2nd, the southwest quadrant. Courtesy of JackBilt; designs, TSW Architects

That includes a larger, three-bedroom, 2,412-square-foot home that’s set to close in November for $749,000, according to Snow.

No other townhouse in East Lake—or in next-door neighborhoods Kirkwood and East Atlanta, for that matter—has sold for more than $700,000, according to listing services records.

Snow says five townhomes in the first phase have sold or have contracts, priced from $625,000, with most in the high $600,000s to low $700,000s.

Positioned on the southwest corner, the Ell Square townhomes include garages and rooftop outdoor patios with fireplaces. A dozen will have the option for elevators. Planned communal amenities include a dog park and a central courtyard “square” with a lawn, firepit, and seating.

Planned interior aesthetics at ELL Square.Courtesy of JackBilt; designs, TSW Architects

A sample top-floor deck with fireplace.Courtesy of JackBilt; designs, TSW Architects

The first phase of 10 is under construction now, expected to finish in coming months. Renderings suggest an amalgamation of traditional and more contemporary styles that echo recent Hosea + 2nd additions.

JackBilt purchased the last undeveloped Hosea + 2nd quadrant from the owners of Fellini’s Pizza and La Fonda restaurants, Clay Harper and Mike Nelson. Those business partners had bought the four East Lake corners in 2015 from the Cousins Family Foundation, an organization that’s earned national attention for its work revitalizing East Lake since 1993.

Hosea + 2nd won the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Award of Excellence for contributions to the city’s urban fabric in 2017. Its tenants include restaurants Poor Hendrix, Mix’D Up Burgers, Perc Coffee Roasters, Japanese-Korean restaurant Salaryman, and the first location of Lake & Oak BBQ.

Hair salon Cameo and the offices of Purpose Built Communities, a national nonprofit founded by developer Tom Cousins and chaired by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, round out the roster.

The last available retail space—2,300 square feet, with an 800-square-foot wraparound patio—has been claimed by Hippin’ Hops Brewery and Oyster Bar. It’s one of Georgia’s first Black-owned breweries, with another location having opened this year in East Atlanta Village.

Kitty-corner from the townhomes, the Hippin’ Hops Brewery and Oyster Bar corner space is seen under buildout in April.

Co-owner Clarence Boston previously told Urbanize Atlanta he hoped to open the second brewery in East Lake in June. That didn’t happen, but an interior buildout is underway, and the brewery’s Instagram lists the second location as “coming soon.”

 

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021, 8:29AM

By JOSH GREEN

Urbanize Atlanta

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Site prep for Midtown’s Tech Square, Phase III is happening

Georgia Tech: Work between now and February to set stage for multi-tower build

 

Georgia Tech is putting plans in motion that officials say will set the stage for the next phase of Tech Square’s evolution: a block-altering, multi-tower project that’s been percolating for more than two years.

Schools officials released a traffic control plan Friday to help usher pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers around demolition set for the block bounded by West Peachtree, Spring, and 5th streets, and Biltmore Place. That’s one block north of Tech Square’s Coda, a John Portman and Associates-designed office tower.

Two low-rise buildings fronting West Peachtree Street will be razed for what demolition permits describe as “an interim parking lot on gravel and grass pavers.”

The two low-rise West Peachtree Street buildings in question.

That eastern side of the block is being converted into a temporary campus “flex area” for additional parking and greenspace, where outdoor concerts, food trucks, and pop-up restaurants are also expected to be staged in the short term.

The flex space will eventually house a complex totaling 400,000 square feet with at least two towers.

The most recent Phase III rendering available. Georgia Tech says designs in this artistic interpretation are likely to change.

Named for philanthropists Penny and William “Bill” George, the George Tower will be home to the highly ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, in addition to other programs, according to Georgia Tech.

The second high-rise, Scheller Tower, will house Tech’s graduate and executive education programs in the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.

Tech officials say both new Phase III towers are scheduled to open by 2025.

In the meantime, demolition work will close sections of the block’s existing parking lot and sidewalks.

To help mitigate that, part of 5th Street’s westbound lane will be converted into a bike lane, while eastbound lanes remain open to cars and bikes. Biltmore Place will be westbound only, according to project leaders.

This preparatory work for Phase III is set to last until February, and updates on construction are expected to be issued in coming months.

Plans for the Midtown block throughout fall and winter.

The block and bike lanes in question at 5th and Spring Streets, as seen in December.

The first sections of Tech Square opened in 2003, transforming what had been barren lots on the western edge of Midtown into an educational hub on the opposite side of the Connector from Georgia Tech’s campus.

The greenspace-laden Fifth Street Bridge Park debuted four years later as a means to pleasantly connect the two university entities.

 

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021, 8:29AM

By JOSH GREEN

Urbanize Atlanta

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