Plans for an urban-style, mixed-use development near the Medical Center MARTA station are on pause for now amid traffic concerns.

The Sandy Springs Planning Commission on Dec. 15 unanimously approved the withdrawal of the plans for the proposed Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion redevelopment project. The developer, Simpson Organization, plans to reapply for permits in the summer, said Carl Westmoreland, lawyer for the developer.

A rendering of the Pavilion redevelopment as seen from Lake Hearn Drive, with the housing to the left and the hotel to the right. (Photo John Ruch)

A rendering of the Pavilion redevelopment as seen from Lake Hearn Drive, with the housing to the left and the hotel to the right. (Photo John Ruch)

“We didn’t see it going forward,” Westmoreland said.

Plans for the 20-acre site the intersection of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Lake Hearn Drive have been in the works since March. In recent months, massive proposal to redevelop the office park at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Lake Hearn Drive on Pill Hill drew community support, but city staff expressed doubts about the plan having too many parking spaces and generating too much traffic.

A traffic report completed in August recommended extensive changes to many nearby intersections. The commission recommended deferral of the project earlier this year. Since the plans have been withdrawn, zoning and traffic reports will have to be redone if the developer chooses to reapply in the summer.

Most notably, the traffic report recommended lanes be converted or built at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road, Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Lake Hearn Drive, and Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive. Extra lanes to the I-285 exits on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road were also recommended.

Totaling just over 1 million square feet, the large-scale plan would have had lower density than allowed under its current zoning, which helped the developers gain support from the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods.

The mixed-use development aimed to bring an urban feel to the area with a bike path and streetfront shops and restaurants surrounding the lake. A hotel and a multi-family housing development would mingle with the already-standing office buildings in the Medical Center area.

A hotel would have included over 300 rooms. The development would have had access to nearby Medical Center MARTA station.

At a planning commission meeting in July, the developer announced many of the structures in the large-scale project would be getting even larger. A 9-story parking garage nearly doubled in the number of spaces. A multi-family housing development added 85 units. Three existing office buildings, totaling 340,000 square feet, will be renovated.

The withdrawal was approved quickly, without public comment.

The Buckhead-based developer owns many prominent local properties, including the office park where Sandy Springs City Hall rents space and the Sterling Pointe office complex in Dunwoody.

The Pavilion is the second massive mixed-use project on that stretch of Peachtree-Dunwoody to gain community support only to withdraw after city planning staff objections. A similar plan for housing, restaurants and a hotel in the Concourse Center at Peachtree-Dunwoody and Hammond Drive is back to the drawing board after the city warned the apartments component likely would not be approved by the City Council.

–Ariella Phillips

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