Some significant changes have been made to the plans for the proposed Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA transit-oriented development that is expected to submit a rezoning request to the city in July.
Community meetings with heavy backlash from residents concerned about traffic and density sent MARTA developers back to the drawing boards and over the several months they said they have tried to meet the needs of the community.
“These changes were made largely based on the feedback we received from the community,” Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development and Real Estate at MARTA Amanda Rhein said. “We heard loud and clear the concerns, and of course about traffic and density.”
The new plans have reduced the number of apartments from 580 to 340, although the number of senior affordable housing units remain the same at 100.
By reducing the number of rental units, MARTA has now added 107 for-sale condos and townhomes at the southern portion of the site. A hotel with 125 rooms is still planned on the west side of the project.
The office space square-footage of the proposed development has been reduced from 400,000 square-feet to 200,000 square-feet. Retail space is about the same at nearly 56,000 square-feet.
A parking deck had been designed to go at the northern portion of the site, at the corner of Dresden Drive and Peachtree Road. However, after community input from those not wanting a parking deck to be so visible from Peachtree Road, Rhein said that structure is now moved to the eastern portion of the site and will be “wrapped in apartment units.” The parking deck is expected to be no taller than five floors.
A food hall with a rooftop bar and restaurant is also planned, similar to what is now at Ponce City Market in Midtown, at the site once being considered for the city’s library. Outside the food hall is a park space that could hold up to 1,000 people for movie nights or intimate concerts, Rhein said.
There is still room for a City Hall or other city buildings, including the library, in a building located next to the transit station.
The park space could also be used for city programming as well as programming by Oglethorpe University.
Other retail businesses will include restaurants and “Brookhaven-centric” shops. However, no tenants have been secured yet as developers seek rezoning first.
“What we have attempted to do with height and density is to stay within the overlay district,” said Art Lomenick, president of development for Integral. Developers Integran and Transwestern have teamed up to work on the project together as Brookhaven City Center Partners.
The tallest building on the site is an 8-story office building and is one of the main visuals for the development, at the corner of Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive, Lomenick said. Residential towers are expected to be 6 stories, he said, that would include 5 stories over 1 story of retail spaces.
“Our primary focus is to have something that the existing residents in Brookhaven want,” Rhein said.
A traffic study is still in the works with the city, Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission to address the “global issues” facing the intersections on Peachtree Road that lead into city neighborhoods, Rhein said. A preview of what is being planned at the intersections of North Druid Hills Road and Dresden Drive from Peachtree Road was presented at Mayor John Ernst’s recent town hall.
MARTA officials also project that once the development is finished, it will add approximately $200 million to the property tax digest and the retail businesses will generate additional sales tax revenue.