The Apostles Church of Sandy Springs at Glenridge Drive and Hammond Drive is targeted for demolition and redevelopment into a 201-unit senior housing project in plans filed with the city.
“It is luxury senior housing,” said Chip Collins, an attorney for Parc Communities, which specializes in high-end independent living projects. He said Parc already has met with local homeowners associations and “made some tweaks” to its plan. A preliminary community meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
“It’s very sad,” said Elizabeth Dixon, the administrator at Apostles Church, whose church building was constructed only about five years ago. “Basically, it’s just that the building that we built in 2010 has been too much for us and we haven’t grown…We got in over our heads,” Dixon said.
It’s unclear where the Apostles congregation would relocate. The Apostles Learning Center, an infant-to-pre-K preschool, would also need to move. Also affected is another congregation sharing the church building, La Casa de Dios.
Parc proposes a complex that includes a 3,000-square-foot medical clinic, a swimming pool and a 280-car parking deck in a four-story building with a partial fifth floor. It will have a dedicated shuttle service for residents, Collins said, and site plans show walking trails and a dog park bordering the property. Dubbed the Parc Glenridge Senior Community, the proposal requires rezoning, a use permit and a zoning variance for height, according to its city paperwork.
“There’s nothing like it, to my knowledge, in Sandy Springs,” said Collins, describing a high-end complex that is partly intended to allow older local residents to stay in the community. The Glenridge and Hammond corner is “a perfect location for what these types of residents want,” Collins said, noting the proximity to Hammond Park, Perimeter Mall, the Pill Hill hospitals and the forthcoming City Springs development.
Apostles Church has been on the site since around 1959 and its original building still exists on the back of the site, Dixon said. She called the 2010 construction plan a failure of “the Gospel according to Costner…‘build it and they will come,’” referring to a famous line from the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams.”
The new church building has 450 seats for a congregation that remains around 80 to 100 people, Dixon said. Apostles Church has been seeking a buyer for the property for about three years, she said.
“We were trying so hard to find a church to buy it,” she said, but “it’s not big enough for a mega-church and too big for some basic churches.”
“We’re doing good things while we’re here,” Dixon added. “We’re a small church with a big heart.”