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Updated look to the '100 6th Street' parking deck

The $63 million Midtown apartment high-rise that recently broke ground has drawn critics for its parking deck design. Here's an updated look at the structure that will stretch along Juniper Street between 6th and 7th streets.

Last week, Midtown Patch posted an updated rendering of the 131 Ponce de Leon Avenue mixed-use project currently under construction in Midtown.

Today, Patch is providing an updated rendering of the parking deck for the $63 million high-rise, 100 6th Street, that broke ground last month in Midtown along Juniper Street between 6th and 7th streets.

When Patch was first to post renderings last spring, followers of the project were quite critical of the placement and look of the parking deck that will accompany the 23-story, 320-home high-rise apartment project from Novare Group and Batson-Cook Development Co.

In the time since, the developers have added retail frontage the entire length of Juniper and 6th, and street-level retail turning the corner at Juniper and 7th into a linear park and dog park on 7th.

In doing so, Novare voluntarily set back its four-story parking deck to create a green space. The original plans submitted included a pocket park at the corner of 7th and Juniper, but that park was later replaced with a 1,860-foot retail space at the corner.

The project will now boast six street-level retail spaces – three each on 6th and Juniper streets – totaling 10,610 square feet.

Other certain aesthetics have been incorporated to the parking deck design including architectural finishes, uplights, screens, and greenery that will be allowed to grow up the side of the parking deck on 7th for a neighborhood amenity.

“We did go back through and looked at the parking deck again on Juniper and made some changes,” Novare President Jim Borders told Patch. “We got the city planning staff involved in it, too. We broke it up in different colors; put in some pre-cast panels that are brick. We want it to look good, we don’t want it to look bad.”

The deck itself will offer 426 residential parking spaces.

According to Novare, it is the thinking of many contractors and architects that due to mechanical ventilation, sprinklers, shoring, extensive evacuation, de-watering and poured-in-place construction required among other things, underground decks are infeasible in the opinion of many developers.

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arctk2011tj February 25, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Part of the reason that there aren't as many 8-10 story buildings is because the developers don't see as much of a payback for the price of the land. The footprint of a 8-10 story building - like Loudermilk's proposed nearby - is the reason why his units are going to have to be more "upscale" with higher rents in order to have a better return on investment. A 20-30 story tower (even with the costs of a larger parking deck) could end up having a higher ROI to pay off the cost of the land since there would be more units. Developers know what they're doing economically.nNow whether this condition is the best for the city in terms of proper urban planning is still up in the air, and this warrants pressure to change the city's current allowances regarding these parking monstrosities.
Marc Acampora February 25, 2013 at 07:43 PM
As far as the success of retail and restaurants, this area needs, and is teetering on having, enough synergy between uses, density, continuous engaging streetscape, and pedestrian activity and safety, that it becomes a destination. Think VaHi - folks drive there, park, then stroll, shop, dine, drink. Why? Because there are enough different places near each other, the street frontages are engaging and safe, and so a lot of folks do it. The same happens along Peachtree in Midtown on weekends, but not as many folks venture off Peachtree, because retail/restaurant development is sporadic. Filling in the gaps will create that synergy, but it will struggle if large sections of frontage are left unengaging such as with decks, landscape strips and faux glass facades.
Marc Acampora February 25, 2013 at 07:45 PM
What these developers don't get, is, the more and better quality space they build, they more success they are likely to have. Unattractive spaces, jammed into the front of decks commands lower rents and will be harder to lease, than beautiful, architecturally significant, inviting spaces.
arctk2011tj February 25, 2013 at 08:55 PM
This portion of Juniper (where most of the retail shown in the renderings will face) is to be going under dramatic transformation with the addition of cycle tracks and restructuring the street to become a "green street". This will attract a lot of pedestrian and cyclist attention as this thoroughfare will become more friendly to this kind of "traffic". http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2013/02/15/juniper-street-aims-to-be-citys.html
Urbanist February 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM
If I were an architect, and had any professional integrity whatsoever, I would refuse to work with Novare. That's like asking a rocket scientist to color in a coloring book for you.
Urbanist February 25, 2013 at 10:37 PM
You don't think that 77 12th St, or Skyhouse are "upscale"? Loudermilk isn't going to get any more of a premium on his rents than 77 12th or Skyhouse. "Developers know what they're doing economically" I'm sorry...what!? I'm pretty sure Novare has given back multiple buildings, and aiding in the failure of Corus bank in the process, making it clear that they have no clue about what is going on economically. What they know is non-recourse debt, and how to build a really crappy building that yields out for a couple of years. "Part of the reason that there aren't as many 8-10 story buildings is because the developers don't see as much of a payback for the price of the land" No, Novare doesn't see as much of a payback for the price of the land. There are a lot of other developers out there that would love to build to the multiple/IRR that an 8-10 story mid-rise would provide them, but this city continues to let Novare run the show - despite their degradation of the future of this city. Short term returns = long term consequences.
Marc Acampora February 25, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Tyler, agreed. All the more reason to insist upon quality urban development, not storefronts jammed into a looming deck.
arctk2011tj February 26, 2013 at 02:30 AM
You sure seem to know more about the market and the economy than these developers. Are you a developer or just spewing shallow rhetoric? You sure seem to talk the talk, but never forge any answers other than criticism regarding any construction project in this city. Are you a certified public planner who has the proper training and understanding on how the built environment works beyond the physical ramifications? Are you an architect who's endured 10+ years of expereince to become licensed and know how to work with developers? Are you a politician for the city of Atlanta who is all talk but no action? Or are you only pleased in hearing yourself gripe and complain about anything concerning the built environment without taking any action to change what you are criticizing? Have you ever talked with any of these developers to ask how they secure funding for projects, how they understand the market demands, and even how they do business in general? Sure, Novare's recent projects do deserve some criticism but you're also forgetting to realize it's still business. Loudermilk's project hasn't released enough details on the specifics of what unit rents will be, but there has been mention of targeting a higher income bracket with higher level of materials and finishes and space to accomodate a higher end market need in Midtown.
arctk2011tj February 26, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Where should this parking deck go?
Marc Acampora February 26, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Tyler, several possibilities. See comments above about Metropolis' deck. This project, also by Novare, and just a few blocks away, does a nice job making the deck disappear from the streetscape. Alternatively, the buildings could be built as U fronting 6th, Juniper, and 7th, with the deck in the middle of the property. Another option is to bury the deck fully or partially underground. Finally, there are many ways to build a deck right along the street but mask it with such great architecture that it is truly unique and beautiful. See the link by Vianen above as an example. You can Google to see many others. I don't think what is under construction here is awful, and it is an improvement over the original. But, with just a bit more creativity and thought, it could have been a whole lot better. This is the primest of urban real estate in Atlanta and will help set the direction for the maturing of this area for the next generation. It didn't have to be just mediocre, it could and should be amazing; something to set the standard. Why not even so great as to win design awards or become a landmark? We get to live with what we limit ourselves to be willing to accept.
James February 26, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Thats a load of dookie doo! Developers can also increase their profits by enhancing the attractiveness and livability of the neighborhood in which they build. The opposite is also true - by building cheap, unattractive projects that deteriorate in 10 years, the desirability of the building as well as the neighborhood itself begin to see decline. It ABSOLUTELY makes good business sense to build a quality product.
Lee February 26, 2013 at 03:54 AM
I hope they put in a Kentucky Fried Chicken. That way, I can get some chicken.
arctk2011tj February 26, 2013 at 05:44 AM
Novare is all about efficiency with the residential floorplates so removing the tower-portion for the sake of wrapping the parking deck in a u-shape would become inefficient for not only parking requirements but also for the residential unit counts to work. Just imagine a U-shaped building and all those units facing into what? - a parking deck? At least this configuration positions most of the units facing either north or south- which is less interrupted. Using Metropolis as a precedent doesn't work for this kind of configuration as there are a host of other existing site conditions - namely the existing Viewpoint tower's access to parking, massing of the towers, setbacks, etc must also be taken into consideration. And let's be honest everyone knows Novare's not an avante-garde developer looking for the next iconic high rise to build. As far as Vianen's link- there's nothing really creative or architecturaly impressive about a facade that's a literal translation of "greenwashing" like the linked one. Would you say that the One Atlantic's parking deck is architecturally impressive - after all it does have some neo-Gothic ornamentation to screen the facade, but does it architecturally impress? The updated designs do show more consideration for addressing the pedestrian zones- which isn't required but at least there are changes being made.
arctk2011tj February 26, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Also- New York, San Fransisco, Chicago all have had developers and/or projects at some point with unimpressive architecture. But that also creates background buildings for future grander projects to take center stage. Not every developer is out there to take the risk to make Atlanta the next Dubai - heaven forbid. Which is arguably one of the most soulless cities for architecture considering everything is all about the face value rather then contributing to the urban fabric. There's no character when everything has to be architecturally significant-not to mention how many ethical and socio-economic problems are unfolding within their building practices lately. Also what makes this site worthy of becoming a landmark? Why can't good design be inherently great but not require winning design awards in order to become a landmark? There are a lot of opportunities to have landmark buildings anchor Atlanta's skyline along the Midtown Mile and I don't think this site is dictating that kind of development. Also- underground parking doesn't work well in Atlanta for a number of reasons. For one, it requires mechanical ventilation which is very expensive, plus the costs to go below grade are nearly exponential with every level. Much of Atlanta's Downtown and Midtown areas sit on a granite ridge.
Midtown Resident February 26, 2013 at 07:18 AM
As James said somewhere above, not going to complain when Novare makes even the slightest aesthetic improvements. Also, I might have to be curious and amenable to hearing more about what Urbanist said here. Midtown land is expensive, but it's not *that* expensive for such a large market. Land is more expensive in downtown Austin! Besides, is anyone to believe that the land represents anything more than 10-12% of all-in costs to put up these buildings here in Atlanta? (not to mention the tax credits Novare received for both Skyhouse and 100 6th) The fact remains that Atlantans demand way too much for so little. You can't attract renters here without granite counters, amenities and concierge...but you can't charge appropriately high rents either because the job market sucks (it's no Boston, Raleigh or Dallas). Novare found a way to do this...value engineer the hell out of design/construction and replicate. 77 12th is going to be much more expensive with its only slightly superior design. If residents could just accept the fact that location should be "enough" for these $2 rents, then maybe a developer will spend more money on the design of the building and less on the interior features...and include less parking. And maybe we can start to see that 8-10 floor infill. For now, I'm at least happy that more residents will be moving to Midtown...hopefully they'll walk around and patronize local businesses so that a retail environment can get going!
Marc Acampora February 26, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Tyler, I'm not sure if you are just trying to perpetuate debate for debate's sake, but you are arguing nonsense. Efficient does not have to equal unattractive or unengaging, and I'm not going to accept that this prime property, lying directly between a historic single family neighborhood and the Midtown Mile is the place to use the efficiency excuse for poor design. If Novare was unable to build a suitable product, they should not have built here and the City should not have accepted anything less than the site deserves. "Just imagine a U-shaped building and all those units facing into what? - a parking deck?" No - U-Shaped would create the maximum building facade along 7th, Juniper, and 6th - that's were the units would face, as well as street level retail. "Using Metropolis as a precedent doesn't work for this kind of configuration as there are a host of other existing site conditions - namely the existing Viewpoint tower's access to parking, massing of the towers, setbacks, etc must also be taken into consideration." I'll remind you that Viewpoint was also built, recently, by Novare and was part of one masterplan for the whole property that at one time had three towers.
Marc Acampora February 26, 2013 at 01:28 PM
You also mention "iconic high rise", and NY, San Fran, Chicago, and Dubai. But, architecturally appealing or landmark does not necessarily equal soulless skyscraper. Visit Barcelona. Think Dakota in NY. It almost sounds like you are arguing that Atlanta has too many landmarks, too much great architecture and that, therefore, this parcel can be sacrificed to the shadows of the greatness around it. Ridiculous. My contention is that Atlanta is a city awash with architectural mediocrity and unengaging streetscape. This is the problem that has plagued Atlanta development for 50 years. You ask "Why can't good design be inherently great but not require winning design awards in order to become a landmark?" It can. But, this Novare product is not inherently great. Forget about awards. There is no excuse why the design here could not have been unique, excellent, beautiful. Your whole case is simply using straw man arguments in the defense of mediocrity. Just curious - are you Novare's architect?
Marc Acampora February 26, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Note: The "Tyler, I'm not sure" paragraph precedes the "You also mention" paragraph.
Urbanist February 26, 2013 at 02:40 PM
@ Tyler - I'm an investor, and I don't touch Atlanta for many of the reasons I've mentioned. I'm not a certified public planner, but I also know that you don't need to be one to recognize how destructive much of this development is. Jane Jacobs is a testament to that. I'm not an architect, but I work with them on a daily basis, and know that if I asked them to design something that fit within the Novare box, they'd laugh in my face. I know precisely how developers secure funds, because part of my business is providing those funds. I'd fund an elevator to the moon before I'd fund a Novare project. I get that Novare's projects are "business"...what you're neglecting is that it's bad business, particularly for the city of Atlanta. Unfortunately, for the future of Atlanta, the city isn't doing a damn thing to attempt to stop this bad business. So yeah, I gripe a lot, because watching Atlanta grow is like watching a promising athlete overdo it on steroids until they just become a hulking mass of dysfunctional and useless muscle.
Urbanist February 26, 2013 at 02:42 PM
@ James - Dookie's idea of quality development is a 2 month, 2 story build that looks exactly like the building to the left and right of itself, with only a slight difference in topiary.
Clicker February 26, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Goodness, who knew there were so many real estate development experts blogging on our little Patch? You would think that all these super-smart know-it-all people would put their money where ther mouths are and develop some fabulous, architecturally significant, uber-pedestrian friendly and innovative designs that would make Atlanta the envy of every metropolis in the western world. I mean, it has to be easy to do if everyone is such an expert on it.
Marc Acampora February 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I really don't understand why commenters like you, Clicker, seem intent on stifling neighbors' opinions. Can't someone who lives two blocks from this project, and who will have to live with the product possibly for the rest of their lives, voice an opinion without having to be a professional architect? Is it possible that someone beside the developer may have some good, or even better, ideas about this property? Is Novare's design so fabulous that it is beyond any criticism? Were the opinions and suggestions made here by your neighbors so outlandish and harmful as to draw enemy fire? I have personally exchanged correspondences with Jim Borders (Novare) about his design through the process. He has been responsive to me and cordial, and I welcomed his project to the neighborhood. We did not agree on some of the design elements, recognizing that my interests are more neighborhood-focused while his are, understandably, more profit-motivated. But, there was and is no harm in expressing differing opinions on the matter, especially in a neighborhood news forum such as The Patch.
Dookie Doo February 26, 2013 at 06:47 PM
So urbanist lives in a city that he'she wouldn't invest in? I highly doubt that you're an investor at all. Based on some of your opinions that are not only inaccurate but just plain WRONG, if you're an investor, you probably aren't very good at it.
Dookie Doo February 26, 2013 at 06:53 PM
@James, do you really think Novare is in this project for the long term? Do you really think they plan on holding on to the property for 10 years? They're either going to flip them to condos or sell the property to a company like Post or Ram. You've obviously never run a business with high yield. Otherwise, you'd know that social responsibility should be balanced but never takes priority over the goal of making profit. How do you think companies grow?
tayger February 27, 2013 at 02:35 PM
The solution, which is (supposedly) already underway, is to get rid of the one ways. There is no reason Juniper needs to be a high speed passageway through Midtown.
tayger February 27, 2013 at 02:47 PM
"I'd fund an elevator to the moon before I'd fund a Novare project." When, exactly, was the last time Novare approached you about funding a project? Oh right, never, because you dont control near the amount of money required to make you even a blip on Novaire's radar. Go back to your rental in Atlantic Station.
Marc Acampora February 27, 2013 at 02:48 PM
tayger, last I heard, the Juniper/Piedmont pair will remain one-ways. This is actually a better solution. If they each go to two-way, they will each need to have two lanes in each direction in order to meet capacity requirements. That's four lanes on each road devoted to traffic, which leaves no other width for anything else. If they stay one-way, they can each have two lanes in the one direction, then have extra width for on-street parking and bike lanes. I believe that is the plan. One-ways can be timed better to control speeds while preserving vehicle capacity. A two-lane, one-way street is safer to cross than a four-lane, two-way street. BTW, I am a transportation engineer and studied this for Midtown Alliance about 15 years ago.
tayger February 28, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Marc-- thanks for the info. Just wondering, when was the last you heard, because about a year or so ago there was serious talk about converting them, as I think the Connect ATL or some other comprehensive transportation plan called for it. Using lanes for on street parking or dedicated turn lanes is certainly another acceptable way to slow traffic.
Marc Acampora February 28, 2013 at 04:02 AM
tayger, it came up in a conversation with someone fairly "in the know" about one week ago. Also, a description of the bike lane planned for Juniper says the bike lane will be one-way southbound, barrier-separated from traffic, and Juniper will also have permanent on-street parking. With all of that, it does not sound like there is enough width for two-way. But, I've been surprised before, so don't make any wagers!
Urbanist February 28, 2013 at 02:45 PM
"When, exactly, was the last time Novare approached you about funding a project?" They never have. Likely because they know smart money doesn't play well with terrible developers. We've put funds into projects significantly larger than what Novare does, so it's certainly not a resources issue...

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