Author: Reporter Newspaper Staff

Harry Norman CEO is ‘bullish’ on residential real estate

“I am very bullish on Atlanta….I am bullish on Buckhead,” J. Lewis Glenn, president and CEO of Harry Norman Realtors, told the Buckhead Business Association earlier this month during a speech about the state of the local real estate market. “There is nothing to indicate there will be a slowdown,” in the local real estate market, he told some 70 Buckhead area business people during the BBA’s weekly breakfast meeting at Anthony’s restaurant on Piedmont Road.  “Atlanta is a great place to do residential real estate and 2007 looks great.” “Real estate is a local, local, local business,” the Atlanta native told the group. “If you look around Atlanta and Buckhead there are so many positives going on.” He said mortgage rates drive the market, as the do with almost all businesses, and they remain good. The ARC, Glenn said, is predicting 68,000 new people will be coming to the Atlanta region in the next 10 years. “What is on the drawing board in Atlanta is powerful.” He explained that people want to move to Atlanta because of our cost of living, cultural diversity, housing alternatives, etc. Atlanta leads the country in gaining 25-34 year old college educated people, he added. “I don’t think that any of us can realize what Buckhead is going to look like in the next five to 10 years.” He said a lot of...

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Atlanta International School survives NPU-B zoning battle

The Atlanta International School, a beloved institution of most Buckhead leaders and residents, won a struggle with the Garden Hills Civic Association over three zoning matters this past month, but the victory came only after some heated exchanges among members of the board of Neighborhood Planning Unit-B at its first meeting of 2007. The school had acquired some additional property and was seeking to expand its operations. Those plans required the school to obtain two separate variances and a rezoning of nine pieces of property along Peachtree Avenue from RG-2 to RG-3, both residential general sector zoning categories. One Zoning variance, which applied to the same nine pieces of property was to allow for parking in the front yard on Peachtree Avenue, where it is otherwise prohibited, to allow for the construction of a new school building and parking deck. The second zoning variance was to increase the maximum height of a structure from 35 feet to 41 feet to allow for an addition to the existing school and a special exception from zoning regulations to reduce the off-street parking requirement from 379 spaces to 150 spaces. All three of the requests had been approved by NPU-B’s zoning committee 8-0-0 with 14 conditions that had been agreed to by both the school and the Garden Hills neighborhood group. However, the sticking point was that the neighborhood association wanted an...

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Add your vision to Chastain Park; Conservancy’s survey seeks input into long-range planning

The Chastain Park Conservancy (CPC) is in the process of forging a new master plan for 238-acre Chastain Park—the city’s largest park—and wants the help of residents and users of the park in setting priorities and the long-term vision for the park. To that end, the Conservancy has distributed and put on its website a survey to obtain public input as part of the information gathering aspect of the eight-month study leading up to the development of the new master plan. Survey results will be collected until February 14. The CPC hopes to have a final master plan completed by late summer of this year. The CPC is a non-profit organization formed by Chastain neighbors to restore, enhance, maintain and preserve Chastain Park. Since 2003, it has signed up over 1,000 members—almost evenly split between residents of Atlanta and residents of Sandy Springs—and has been responsible for a number of park improvements in partnership with the city of Atlanta and the park’s operating partners. As it moves toward developing a new master plan for the park, the CPC would like to know from residents of the two cities if they visit Chastain Park, what they like about the park, what works and what doesn’t and what would make the park better. Those interested in participating in the survey can do so by going to the Conservancy’s website: www.chastainparkconservancy.org. Chastain...

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‘Village’ look lifts a local retail landmark

The rehabbed exterior of neighborhood mainstay Sandy Springs Plaza draws on turn-of-the-century, European and early American village-style aesthetics such as stacked stone walls, awnings and period lighting as cornerstones of its new look, according to Sandy Springs Plaza Associates, LP General Partner Jan Saperstein. The recent renovation was intended to transform its once dated exterior from what Saperstein referred to as a 1980s strip mall feel to a bustling commercial center. “Our group bought the property in 1996,” Saperstein said. “The market shifted and we had to take the challenge of finding a way to lease these spaces. The old lady needed a face lift.” Another cornerstone of the Plaza’s new curb appeal is its variety of storefront facades. “I really wanted each tenant to have its own individual storefront look,” Saperstein said. “The challenge is developing the center architecture so each tenant has its own look, but it doesn’t pigeonhole us into finding only tenants who fit.” Gay Construction Company and Silverman Construction Program Management began the revitalization project January 2006 under the leadership of Sandy Springs Plaza Associates, LP and the locally headquartered architecture firm Portman Fruchtman Vinson Sunderland Architects, Inc., with which Saperstein contracted. “Renovations are challenging,” Brett Sunderland of PFVS said. “You’re messing with something that has a place in the community, but he – Saperstein — wanted to do it right and was acceptable...

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Sandy Springs humanitarian award

Nancy McCord received Sandy Springs’ first ever Humanitarian Award presented to her Jan. 15 at the city’s second annual Martin Luther King celebration. McCord received the award for her work with the local homeless through Sandy Springs United Methodist Church and said she was “both honored and humbled by the...

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