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Preliminary Review for Project Proposals on Peachtree and Spring Streets

Members of the Midtown Special Purpose Interest Zoning District 16 ask questions and make suggestions.

A Midtown committee conducted preliminary reviews Tuesday of two proposed projects that aim to bring scores of student housing on Spring Street and high-end rentals to Peachtree Street at 7th Street.

Both projects are still in the early stages and the developers in each have not formally submitted their proposals.

The meeting of Midtown Special Purpose Interest Zoning District 16 was to allow the developers and their architects to share their proposals, get feedback from zoning district members, answer questions and incorporate suggestions or changes in their designs.

Developers in both projects could make formal submissions to the Special Purpose Interest Zoning District as soon as next month. It would then vote on recommending to approve or deny before going to the city for review.

In the Peachtree Street project, the Loudermilk Cos. wants to redevelop 867 Peachtree St. by creating up to 39 high-end, two- and three-bedroom apartments in an eight-story building.

It would include 4,700 square feet of retail at the street level, including an expansion of the existing Starbucks Coffee shop.

Robert C. Loudermilk, president and chief executive of the Buckhead-based Loudermilk Cos., told Midtown Patch that the project is part of a three-part initiative to incorporate the Viewpoint condos, which his company owns.

As part of the overall project, Viewpoint, which is located at 855 Peachtree St. will undergo façade improvements and streetscape sprucing at the retail level close to 6th Street.

"If you look at the Viewpoint, it's really just a concrete façade," Loudermilk said. "So what we need is to really add some street presence to it."

As for the new eight-story building, the apartments are rentals and targeted to the high-end tenant.

It explains why the units are all being designed to be two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Loudermilk said market research suggests a demand for larger apartments in the high-end market and a shift from one-bedroom spaces.

Parking plans for the project call for direct ramp access into the new deck under construction as part of the 100 6th Street mixed-use project, which broke ground two weeks ago, for overflow retail parking.

In the Spring Street project, Ambling University Development Group proposes a 17-story tower at 930 Spring St., just off 8th Street.

Valdosta-based Ambling, which specializes in on-campus and off-campus student housing, said the $50 million project is earmarked toward Georgia Tech students.

The tower would have 267 units — 60 percent of them four-bed and four-bath units.

The remaining units will be a mix of two-bed, two-bath apartments and a limited number of one-bedroom options.

Rents would be comparable to area rates and will be in the range of $790 to about $900 per month.

"There's a good demand at Georgia Tech. They're sort of limited to their on-campus housing opportunities," said Paul Morgan, an Ambling vice president.

The current design also has a retail component and calls for 10,200 square feet of street-level retail along Spring Street.

But wait, February 13, 2013 at 01:31 PM
holy sh--------------------------------------t! a pretty nice looking highrise being built for an actual demand? "If you look at the Viewpoint, it's really just a concrete façade," Loudermilk said. "So what we need is to really add some street presence to it." A developer making logical statements? (I mean he pretty much stated the obvious, but hey, I'll take it!) I must have the wrong patch site.... Nope, I just double checked and it IS midtown Atlanta. Where have these guys been all these years and why have we had to deal with Novare when intelligent developers like this exist!?
Clicker February 13, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Sounds good to me! A new mid-rise tower incorporating retail in the base, giving Viewpoint more character on the Peachtree side and building up that awful corner at 6th (remember the Chinese(?) restaurant that was there years ago next to Backstreet anyone?) No mention of surface parking in this report or the Loudermilk interview either. if that's the case, go ahead and let him get started!
JM Hurricane February 13, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Go, go, go!
Clicker February 13, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Oh, and it sounds like Loudermilk only owns the retail portion of Viewpoint, not the condos themselves. Those would be owned by the residents and association, correct?
Clicker February 13, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Oops...meant to hook that on to my statement below.
KamdenATL February 13, 2013 at 02:53 PM
The street level component of Viewpoint has been an absolute disappointment from the day it delivered. Comparing it to its neighbors along the Midtown Mile (Metropolis, 1010 Peachtree, 805 Peachtree, etc.), the difference in quality is quite staggering. The material that was used is already crumbling and cracking in places as are the sidewalks abutting the building. For a building that is relatively new, it really makes you wonder about the quality of other buildings that Novare has built or is building in the neighborhood. Will Starbucks remain open in some capacity during this expansion project? Perhaps they will move temporarily into one of the adjacent retail spaces at ViewPoint?
VianenBrederode February 13, 2013 at 04:40 PM
At 0:30 or so in the video the board on the left is showing the 6th street side of Viewpoint. What is shown between the Sprint store and 100 6th street, is it new retail build out, a park, etc.?
James February 13, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Super excited to get some development by someone beside Novare-iation. There have been rumors about something major looking at the Viewpoint retail space so this is getting VERY interesting.
James February 13, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Loudermilk seemed to be saying that the retail would be built out to connect with 100 6th street.
VianenBrederode February 13, 2013 at 06:53 PM
That would be excellent. I was worried based on an earlier article they would try to squeeze a surface lot into that space.
JEFFREY February 13, 2013 at 08:44 PM
The proposed GA Tech apartment pic shows the ground level pool facing the Interestate and since the pool is facing southwest I wonder how much sun it would receive.
arctk2011tj February 13, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Plaza midtown's pool configuration to the massing of the towres is similar and it receives plenty of sun.
Tammy February 13, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Can you imagine the parties in that high rise? Lounge chairs being thrown from the units into the pool and huge keg parties all hours of the night. Those Plaza Midtown folks are fixing to find out how good they had it with just a couple of queens exhibiting some PDA at the pool.
Dookie Doo February 13, 2013 at 10:10 PM
ga tech isn't a party school. The plaza midtown people probably get more problems from the strip club on the corner than they would from ga tech kids.
Kevin Polite February 14, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Ah, as an old timer, it's comical to hear the "problems" presented by these high rises. I remember when (in my old man voice) when one side of the corner was the Kit Kat Club and the other was a gas station and and next to it the nastiest Krystal's ever. Midtown you've come a long way
Alex P Keaton February 15, 2013 at 03:37 AM
Won't the new 8 story building next to the Viewpoint be positioned due north of the 36 story Viewpoint? That would mean that it would never get any direct sunlight and they would have the amazing southern view blocked by the Viewpoint. Also the 8 story building would be dwarfed by the other buildings on Peachtree. Personally I would much rather have a southern facing unit in the VP. I like the idea of the retail incorporation though.
James February 15, 2013 at 09:54 AM
Or they will simply design the building so that units face Peachtree and 7th street. Having buildings of different sizes and even of different eras right next to each other is one thing that gives a city texture and fabric. I'm not sure why some people find this so troubling. As long they meet the street in an urban form, this is not a problem.
Alex Keaton February 15, 2013 at 02:58 PM
I don't find this troubling from the perspective of city architecture. I'm looking at this from the perspective of a condo owner. Use this guide to help break it down for you... North facing low level view of the Bulldogs parking lot (not to mention the Sunday night noise) perpetually stuck in the sunless shadow of the VP = not so good. South facing high level view of the Atlanta skyline and sunlight all year long = better.
Eric S February 15, 2013 at 05:46 PM
I attended the meeting on Tuesday evening where the projects were presented, and will try to fill in a few holes based on the article, interview and above conversation. Regarding the Viewpoint/Loudermilk projects: The new 8-storey apartment building on the Starbucks site will be approximately square and thus have almost as much exposure on Peachtree St. as on 7th St. Thus at least half the units will have eastern views (with the ability to look north and south on Peachtree from balconies). The back (south) wall will be about 20 feet from the wall of the Viewpoint garage and there will be a walkway between the two buildings, back to the parking decks. The elevator shafts and sides of some Peachtree-fronting units will be against this south wall; they're not sure if there will be any windows on the residential floors on this side (perhaps glass blocks to let in some light?). The first floor of the apartment building will house the new Starbucks on the northern 7th St./Peachtree St. corner, and probably an additional retail space on the south side. They don't yet know if the new Starbucks will be larger or smaller than the current space - this is still being negotiated, but since it serves wine, it is not likely to be much smaller at least. The apartment lobby entrance will be on Peachtree St. between Starbucks and the other retail space. continued in next post...
Eric S February 15, 2013 at 05:47 PM
There will be a small landscaped attractively-paved courtyard / retail parking area with space for about 20 cars and access to the apartment loading docks on 7th St. behind the apartment building, with green space east of that merging into the planned 100 6th St. project's 7th St. green space/dog park. There was significant discussion during the meeting with the architects and Robin Loudermilk fully agreeing with Midtown Alliance and other attendees that this should not be a typical parking area with asphalt and curbs, but rather an attractive green, more European-style courtyard that happens to be able to house cars but could also at times be used for outdoor events. Along with refacing and activating the Peachtree-fronting Viewpoint retail spaces, adding landscaping and awnings, more differentiation of spaces for different tenants, etc., Loudermilk suggested perhaps having an overhanging balcony on the second floor above the current Sprint store space for a 2-storey restaurant like Ritz Carlton's balcony downtown. continued...
Eric S February 15, 2013 at 05:48 PM
On 6th St., the plan is to activate/improve the side of the building with retail in the currently windowless south wall (behind current Spring store), with a similar small landscaped courtyard/~20-car parking area west of the 100 6th St. building. They hope for a market in that new retail space, in which case the courtyard could sometimes be used for an outdoor extension of the market area rather than parking. They also plan to add an elevator and stairs with an entrance in that space (in back of the current Sprint store) to make access to 2nd-floor retail easier than only being available from the Viewpoint lobby or Viewpoint parking garage. This will be the last area to be developed because it is being used as the staging area for 100 6th St. construction. There was no discussion of particular retail tenants (such as Apple) under consideration other than Starbucks. In summary, when they finish, the north (7th St.), east (Peachtree) and south (6th St.) sides of this block should all be very attractive and engaging to pedestrians and shoppers/diners, and thus able to attract good retail tenants. They hope to finalize plans and get approval in the next month or so, and be doing construction by August at least. Robin Loudermilk also expressed a desire to work with Jim Borders on 100 6th St. retail plans so that the whole block (Juniper and eastern part of 6th St. block) has a coordinated look (i.e. better than what Novare would do without this input).
Eric S February 15, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Regarding the GA Tech student apartment building: The design was generally well received, except for the fact that both the north and south side streets of the block would be partially non-activated with parking deck. Attendees strongly urged the architects to make modifications so that at least one of the two side streets has a layer of retail spaces along the entirety of the building. The other area of concern was with the steps leading up from Spring St. to the "podium" which would contain the building's amenities and common areas. It was suggested that the designers perhaps re-orient some of the retail to be accessible from along these steps, or add staggered seating areas to strengthen the connection to the street. The current plan would have the leasing center and a coffee shop (maybe public or maybe just for residents) accessible from the street level at the southeast corner, with access to the elevators/stairs to the podium and to the south tower of the apartments above. --- Midtown Alliance and city planning attendees praised both these projects for their creativity and said something to the effect of "if only all developers were so progressive/creative with the plans they brought to us". Both developers and their architects were appreciative of everyone's comments and emphasized that the plans were preliminary and would be updated based on the input received.
Clicker February 15, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Thanks for the great updates Eric. I think you mean west facades in several places; the west side of the building will face Peachtree, not the east.
VianenBrederode February 15, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Were there any questions regarding finishing the build out of retail along 6th street either now or in the future (replacing this courtyard / parking concept)? You can see this in the original Viewpoint plans here: http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/1497/viewpointps7.png
Eric S February 15, 2013 at 08:49 PM
There wasn't any discussion of filling in this hole as in the original 3-tower Viewpoint plan, but Loudermilk's idea is to line the courtyard/parking area with storefront space that would spill out into the courtyard (with the elevator/stairs on the east side) - his hope was for a market (which typically uses its outdoor space for plants, seasonal items, etc.). He explained that behind that huge blank south wall is currently a lot of unused retail space (too far back in the building to be used by the Peachtree storefronts), so this would allow it to be activated via access from this new 6th St. courtyard. I imagine if they did find a market that's interested and wants more space than is available in that unused retail space, they would consider "filling in the hole", but the idea of a small amount of ground-level parking right in front of the door would also be very attractive to a market. In any case, they definitely indicated they wanted all sides of the courtyard to look as nice as the other facades (i.e. not a cinderblock wall with some holes cut in it), including landscaping around the edges and using bricks/pavers, not asphalt.
James February 15, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Sound great, all things considered. Thanks for the info.
Eric S February 16, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Clicker - yes - thanks and sorry everyone for the confusion. When talking about the Viewpoint block, wherever I wrote the east side of the block facing Peachtree I meant the west side, and along 6th St. the courtyard is east of the current Sprint store and west of the 100 6th St. Skyhouse project.
KamdenATL February 23, 2013 at 02:12 AM
What kind of "urban market" are they talking about? Any examples? Brand names?
James February 23, 2013 at 04:48 AM
In this weeks Business Chronicle Fresh Market and Sprouts Farmers Market were mentioned.

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