Development could bring housing, improvements to the area
A pending mixed-used project along the Peachtree Parkway commercial corridor promises to give a new look the area while bringing to vivid life the “live-work-play” concept undergirding such developments. More than 300 apartments and townhomes are planned, along with office and retail, said officials.
Project under review
On March 23, the Peachtree Corners City Council got the first official look at the proposed rezoning stretching from 5672 through 5720 Peachtree Parkway. It would convert a 9.25-acre swath from M-1 (light industry district) to Mixed Used Development (MUD) for the proposed multiple-use complex. The project’s housing stock is targeted to workers in the nearby Technology Park area.
City officials said the proposal will be back before the council for a public hearing and possible final approval April 27. The city planning commission signed off on it March 16.
The application from Alliance Realty Partners is the first to emerge since the council approved substantial revisions to the city’s existing multi-use ordinance in February. A couple of the key provisions provide that such developments have a minimum mix of three uses instead of the former two. The changes also allow developers to earn so-called “density bonuses” allowing them to increase the number of residential units per acre in return for pledging project enhancements drawn from a city-approved list.
The proposal falls nicely into line with both provisions.
With the revised ordinance in mind, “The developers have taken advantage of it, we believe, for the betterment of the entire project,” said City Manager Brian Johnson during the Prime Lunchtime city podcast. “Due to communication that happened prior to the project being submitted and some changes since, it actually has less units than the developer originally requested.”
Representative for Alliance and attorney Shaun Adams said the original proposal called for nearly 60 more units than the 295 multi-family apartments and 26-single-family attached townhomes ultimately settled on. He said the pullback will provide for a more “boulevard-like” entrance into the project from Peachtree Parkway and increase the development’s setback from the main road.
“A lot of it had to do with the changes in the MUD ordinance and because of feedback we received from the community,” he added.
The earlier ordinance change caps residential density at 32 units per acre. In this case, Alliance would be permitted to increase density to 34.69 by pledging to preserve 1.75 acres of green space, providing for underground stormwater detention, promising that highly visible public art will be incorporated and including the adaptive re-use of an existing building.
But the text of the zoning change points out that that the 321-unit configuration is not a done deal. The plan is contingent on on-site conditions, zoning compliance and whether fully-fleshed-out engineering plans meet regulations.
Clean-up and makeover
The existing structure being retained is a three-story office building on the site that dates from the early 1980s. It will get a substantial makeover, said officials.
Johnson said the refurbished building will contain “something similar to ‘We Work’-type office space. There will be some amenities for the local residents like clubhouse amenities, and I think they have templated a coffee shop to go in there.”
Also currently on the property are a number of single-story commercial condos which are largely, as the manager put it, “in a very degraded condition” with many of them empty and plagued by break-ins. Those will be swept away.
A couple of other esthetic/environmental considerations also come into play, said Johnson. “All of the trees along Peachtree Parkway are remaining and at the end of project there will more trees because of replanting than they started with,” said the city manager. He said also worth noting is that existing impervious surface on the site will be reduced.
Johnson said the exact amount of retail space tucked into the multiple-building complex is a moving target with discussions ongoing between the developer, its representatives and the city.
Adams agreed, saying they’re working on a configuration of about 2,000 square feet for that aforementioned coffee outpost — but stay tuned.
“You and I could be like ‘it would be great to have a mini-shopping area there,’” said Johnson during the podcast. “But if the developer can’t fill it, nothing would be worse than a development that started off with too many square feet of retail that they can’t fill — and that has happened.”
Adams said that with plenty of retail nearby, the emphasis won’t be on competing with that existing landscape. Instead, he said, “Let’s bring the housing to the area to support the jobs within Technology Park. That will bring more people to support the surrounding commercial and retail.”
City officials have said that the multi-use approach brings several advantages, such as providing more housing types and choices while boosting walkability, thus decreasing automobile trips. They’re also seen as especially appealing to millennials and empty nesters.
As Mayor Mike Mason said in an earlier interview with Peachtree Corners Magazine, “those are two segments of our population that are not currently well-served with regard to housing options.”
How the Wesleyan Artist Market Converted to a Virtual Market for 2021
The Wesleyan Artist’s Market has been a celebration of local and national art and community creativity. With all of the changes of this past year, the volunteers and leaders of this event are innovating with how to continue to put on a great show in a virtual way. Join Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on this very exciting episode of the Capitalist Sage as they sit down with the many wonderful organizers of this event.
Timestamp / Where to find it in the podcast:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:23] – About Kirsten, Nadine, Gina, and Megan
[00:06:13] – Transforming the Market to Virtual
[00:08:42] – The Live Market Experience
[00:10:46] – Choosing an Online Platform
[00:15:52] – Benefits of Online Art
[00:21:47] – Sharing Art Online
[00:25:40] – Artists Being Seen
[00:30:09] – Shipping Logistics
[00:32:29] – Importance of Getting Involved
[00:38:28] – Closing
“We always talked about how do we increase our foot traffic? For years, we kept trying to figure out, what are the logistics to figure out where people are coming from and how can we expand?And so now, one of the benefits hopefully is that we will supersede Georgia from patrons, ideally. Similar to how our artists come from all over the country.”
Karl: [00:00:30] Today we’re going to, on the Capitalist Sage podcast, we’re going to talk about
how a local artist’s market is going virtual in Peachtree Corners. Today’s guests we’re going to
have Kirsten Scott, volunteer coordinator at the Wesleyan Artist’s Market. Nadine Aram,
principal designer of NAK design and volunteer coordinator of the Wesleyan artist market. Gina
Solomon, volunteer coordinator with the Wesleyan artist’s market. And Megan Brooker artist
and art educator, and the assistant director of fine arts at Wesleyan school and faculty advisor to
the Wesleyan artist’s market. Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We’re here to bring you
advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business and your
community in general. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors, and my co-host is
Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, digital marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners
magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?
Rico: [00:01:28] It’s beautiful outside, I’m doing fine, thank you.
Karl: [00:01:31] It sure is. Spring is here for sure. Why don’t you introduce our sponsor before
we get started?
Rico: [00:01:38] Sure. We’re fortunate to have Hargray Fiber as a sponsor of these podcasts,
both Capitalist Sage, and the other podcasts that we do. Peachtree Corners Life and such. They
are a company here based in the Southeast, actually based in Georgia, that handles IT and
internet connectivity for companies throughout the Southeast. Small and large enterprise sized
businesses. Go check them out. They have products and information that you can use as a
small business or enterprise sized business that can make your internet connection faster and
better and provide the tools that you need to make your business work. So check them out at
Hargray.com/business and that’s our sponsor. Thank you, Hargray.
Karl: [00:02:23] We’re so glad to have Hargray as our sponsor, and a great business in the
community, helping us through all our technology needs for business and for residential in the
Peachtree Corners and greater Atlanta area. Today’s guests are going to help us understand
how the Wesleyan artist’s market has pivoted and made a shift over the past year to be able to
bring us a virtual experience of the auction. The dates of the Wesleyan artist’s market this year
is going to be April 22nd through the 29th. And please go online and check out their webpage,
all their social media to help spread the word about attending it in this new and exciting way. Our
guests today, Kirsten Scott, Nadine Aram, Gina Solomon, and Megan Brooker is going to talk to
us a little bit about their experience in pulling this together and how they helped the feature of
the artists and improve the experience in some way for people that are going to attend. Why
don’t I let them introduce themselves a little bit, starting with Kirsten, would you give a
Kirsten: [00:03:30] Hey I’m Kirsten Scott. I am a resident here of Peachtree Corners and my two
children attend Wesleyan. I am a retired real estate attorney and turned homemaker with a side
gig flipping houses. And my real heart is for service which is a family character trait that was
passed along. And I’ve truly enjoyed being a part of the Wesleyan arts Alliance and the artists
market and many other service opportunities that are presented throughout the community, so.Karl: [00:04:05] Nadine?
Nadine: [00:04:07] Yes, I’m Nadine Aram. Also a resident of Peachtree Corners. We are very
lucky to have our two older children attend Wesleyan and in the past few years, we’ve been very
active with the artists market and the arts Alliance. By trade I’m an architect and designer. After
a couple of years in the corporate world, I started my own design firm doing more residential
work. So it’s been wonderful being able to work within the community. Harking a little bit how the
market functions too, a very open community event. So it’s been a wonderful experience and we
look forward to being able to talk about it today.
Karl: [00:04:42] Thank you. How about you, Gina?
Gina: [00:04:45] Hey, I am Gina Solomon, and I am a former resident of Peachtree Corners after
many years. And currently live in Berkeley Lake. I have a commercial banking and corporate
finance and treasury background. But like Kirsten and these other ladies are drawn to the
service side and have been a full-time volunteer for a couple of organizations over the years.
But I’ve spent a lot of time at Perimeter school and then Wesleyan school, the Wesleyan arts
Alliance. And then several other organizations as again, as a full-time volunteer. And this is my
ninth year associated with the Wesleyan artists market. It’s been an exciting and obviously very
Karl: [00:05:33] Fabulous. And Megan, why don’t you introduce yourself.
Megan: [00:05:37] Sure. I’m Megan Brooker. I teach high school art here at Wesleyan, and this
is my 14th year here, which is crazy. And I’m the assistant director of fine arts. So the lead for
visual arts, K-12 at this school. I’ve been involved with the artist’s market since my first year
here, which is, it’s been really awesome to see how much it has grown with leadership like these
ladies that are here with us, from the Arts Alliance. To see how much they pour into the school
and pour into the market is inspiring. So we’re very thankful for the Arts Alliance and the artists
market and all that it has to offer us.
Karl: [00:06:13] Well, after the past year, I know folks are so excited to get back to normal and
do things that, that we’ve done for many years. Gina, why don’t I start with you and just talk a
little bit about, some of the things that you’ve been able to do to help transform the live
experience of the artist’s market to virtual?
Gina: [00:06:34] Okay. Planning for the Wesleyan artist’s market is really almost an all year
around process. So when we finished the show at the end of April, we go into wrap up mode in
May, and then we start pre-planning over the summer. So it was this past summer where we
had to make the decision and work with the school on our plans for the 2020 show. And it
became fairly apparent that there were so many uncertainties associated with COVID that we
had a tough decision to make. Which was either go ahead and plan for a live show at the risk
that it might be canceled again, not have a show, or pivot to virtual. And because we feel likethis is the artist’s market is such an important tradition, not only for our school and our
immediate community, but our extended community and also for the artists. We made the
decision that we in fact would go virtual. It was unchartered territory for us, and there were
certainly, there has not been a roadmap. It was a big decision, but we felt like we had to put one
step in front of the other and go ahead and start making plans. So we announced that we were
going virtual in September and we were very fortunate early on to secure the support of many of
our longstanding partners and kind sponsors, such as the Peachtree Corners Magazine, the city
of Peachtree corners, Atlanta homes and lifestyle magazine, Imagine advertising and
publishing, Stirrup Media. These key partners, as well as Wesleyan school to help us deliver the
market going forward. So the first key thing for us was, the most important thing was to make
sure the artists were on board. And then secondly, to build a platform, an e-commerce platform
or secure any contract with an e-commerce platform to set this up virtually.
Karl: [00:08:42] If I could ask a question for those that may be new to Peachtree Corners, can
you quickly describe what the experience was like when it was live? And then we could talk a
little bit of what it’s going to be like when it’s virtual?
Gina: [00:08:54] Sure. The live event is an absolute highlight of our calendar year. It’s the
largest community building event at the school. The campus is open. Everybody is invited to
attend. Admission is free. We set up the show, the live show in Powell excuse me, in Powell and
Nancy gymnasium, which is a two floor expansive gym. And we have typically about a hundred
artists, professional and student artists combined on two floors over a three-day period. The
setup takes about internally, about a week for us to get it physically set up. The artists come in
wednesday before the show and then they pack up and leave Saturday night after the show. It’s
like having an enormous party for about four straight days. There’s a ton of energy. Nothing can
replace our live show. But ironically, over the years we have contemplated perhaps having a
virtual component to our live show. So while we did not choose this fate that ultimately we
ended up going fully virtual, this has given us the opportunity to pursue it and hopefully build
something that future generations of marketers at Wesleyan can use in a live show. When the
participating artists do set up booths at our live show, so you’ll see the individual booth set up
with all of their artwork displayed and the artists are actually present at the show which is
unique. Not all shows have the artists for the entire time, but we do feature all the artists.
Karl: [00:10:46] Oh fabulous. If I could ask Kirsten, when building out the experience in a virtual
world, can you talk about some of the things you had to consider and choices and platforms to
be able to do that?
Kirsten: [00:11:01] We did, we had to at the live market, we had entertainment and speakers
and we had to figure out how to bring some of that warmth to a virtual platform. And we did a lot
of research and we were guided with some other events that have happened that had a lot of
content. And they really advised us that we needed to be specific about our content and not
overdo it so as to distract the shoppers from the art. Which is really where we want everybody to
be engrossed is feeling like they get the opportunity to see the art that they typically would see
live and in person. And so we created some platforms and our presenting sponsor AH and Lmagazine provided us with a great opening night video where we’re going to cover the art of
collecting and excuse me. And that is a great conversation between art collectors and designers
and artists, where they can express a really great insight on how to go about collecting art
yourself personally. And that’s our opening night. We’ll also of course always have opening
remarks from Chris Cleveland head of school. And he’s always very excited and supportive of
our market. And I think he gets very excited about being able to kick it off and start it. We will
have that as well. A couple of other platform things that we’ll have will be a featured reel with
highlighting our Wesleyan fine arts program. In the past, we’ve had different variants of the
students be able to come in and the chorus be able to sing or the play members be able to
perform a small part of the upcoming play for the spring. And so this year will just be a highlight
reel focusing on those students and all their accomplishments they’ve been able to do this year.
And it’s a very unique environment. The teachers have been amazing, from a parent
perspective on really encouraging these kids to keep their artistic motivation going. And that’s,
we want to highlight that as well. And then we’ll have another little tidbit from one of our other
sponsors called Choo Choo Charcuterie. And she is, they’re going to perform or host a how to
put a charcuterie board together and some of the insight and the neat things that we’re all
seeing nowadays and supporting their local business. And finally, we’ll have a date night. Our
great sponsor Grace 17-20 is helping us create a unique menu for our Monet and Merlot date
night. And we’re hoping that guests will go and pick up a little something to eat and a little glass
of wine when they get home and enjoy shopping online with their spouse or their children. We
have the student artists as well, so we really want to encourage everybody to be thorough on
the site and take their time. We have a whole week to shop. It’s really great, yeah.
Rico: [00:14:01] Sounds exciting. So let me ask you, let me ask you this. When you, and I know
part of the process you ladies were going through at the very beginning, trying to find the right
platform and stuff. What was, what were like some of the key ingredients or features that you
liked about deciding where you are right now on the platform you’re using? And what are those
key features that someone else might be able to look at? It’s like, alright, that’s cool. I want to be
able to do the same thing. Even if it’s not an artist market could be something else. So if you
could share that with us.
Gina: [00:14:38] Okay. And y’all please jump in as well. There are some great, there are some
great e-commerce platforms out there. We ultimately did choose Shopify. And simply we did
want a very established name that there would have, there would be great recognition, not only
from the artist’s standpoint, but also from our buyers. And we liked the ability to customize the
program a little bit. It’s not as simple as simply setting up a store on your e-commerce platform.
Effectively we are the mall owner and we have the individuals store set up within our mall. So
it’s an extra layer and that has meant bringing in some different apps and working with a lot of
different people from different parts of the world to put this together, different time zones. And so
it’s definitely again, been an extremely interesting process. We did like the breadth and depth
and scale of Shopify and their ability to work with us to customize some things.
Karl: [00:15:52] What are the things that Shopify, for folks that don’t know it’s an online
e-commerce platform that a lot of people it’s one of the most known and well used. But whatcomes with that is trust. People know what that is and are comfortable and have used it, so
they’re familiar with it. But it changes the approach when you think about art and buying art. And
Nadine, I’d love to explore with you a little bit about how does someone like me who’s used to
going and looking at things, art to buy. How do I approach that virtually? How would you advise
shoppers and people participating in the Wesleyan event approach shopping for art this way?
Nadine: [00:16:36] Yeah, of course. Look, there’s no doubt that 2020 put a different spin on
things in life for everybody. Virtually everyone knows, everyone’s gone online to some capacity.
You even see big museums, like natural history museum, doing these virtual tours. Conventions
going to virtual booths. We’re coming in on that front as well and trying to the biggest impact
here. One of the biggest hallmark features of the Wesleyan artist’s market is the fact that it’s
always been a market for everybody. We’ve had all price points, all sizes of work, all types of
techniques, all types of skills. So that’s been a big factor for us to make sure that we drive
home. And I think when you approach trying to purchase artwork online you have to come to a
little bit, come to terms of you have to approach it a little bit more clearly. Because like Gina
said, nothing will replace an in-person experience. So you, so instead of being able to touch and
feel things you have to think through a little bit more logically. So typically, we always tell people
that when you come to the market, something will speak to you. You’ll find something that pulls
you in and just having an original piece of artwork at your home is really a special thing. And in
that vein, we always have a wide breadth of patrons, right? So we have people that come with
their own designers trying to fill in spaces for their homes or their offices, all the way to people
coming in to do personal shopping for themselves or little gifts for mother’s day, which is
typically about a month after the artist’s market. But there’s about four main tips I think, is a good
approach to when you try to purchase artwork online. And the first one is defining your intent,
right? So you come to the market with ideas in your mind. Is it for you? Is it a gift for someone?
Are you looking for some small filler pieces or a large piece to fill a large space? Knowing what
you’re wanting to come to the market with is important. The other aspect is understanding the
space, right? So again, is it a large piece? A small one? Bright colors, dark colors. Does your
space have high ceilings? Would it be more impactful for smaller pieces or the idea of a
triptych? So two to three pieces coming together. Horizontal, vertical, floral, landscape, abstract,
animals. We have the whole breadth of that, which has been a wonderful key feature of the
market. So we cover all types of genres, which is really a big benefit for people that come to our
store, to our market virtually, not store. The next one I would say is researching artists lists. So
visiting our website is a really big help that way, you know and can anticipate the artists that you
feel like you have a connection with. Whether it’s a technique, whether you like water color,
maybe you notice that you really do love oils. Maybe you do love a sort of whimsical piece that
artists put together. So being able to take a look at taking a look at our website and scoping out
our social media, because we’re doing daily, almost daily and weekly postings of all of our
artists. And we have a wonderful feature that’s called behind the scenes. And so you’ll have
artists speak about how they create the work. Images or videos of them creating the work. So
that’s another sort of draw to be able to replace that in-person experience. So that the patron
has a connection with the artist, which is also really important. And then the last one, I think,
which is really important too, is ask questions, right? When you find that artist or you find that
piece of artwork that you really do like, don’t be shy and reach out to the artist, email,sometimes they put a phone number. Giving them a call, maybe asking them for advice,
knowing your space and your height and your color scheme. No one would know better than the
artwork than the artists themselves. And then if there’s something that you’d like from a specific
artist, but it’s not the right color or it’s not the right size, our artists are typically always open for
commissions. Which is a wonderful piece too, because then you really have something
extremely unique for you and your space and asking questions and being descriptive is
wonderful. So it’s a different approach. But it’s definitely an approach where it’s happening
globally. Big name museums are doing it. The MOMA’s doing it. Like I said, natural history
museums are doing it.
Now we’re doing it here in Peachtree Corners.
Rico: [00:20:43] You know the good part. Also, like you said, you can communicate directly with
the artists as well. So if I was looking at a three dimensional piece, a sculpture or a plate, I could
probably ask them, can you shoot me a video? Walk around, then give me a 360 of what that
looks like in real life and show me scale.
Nadine: [00:21:00] Right, absolutely.
Gina: [00:21:03] And not to interrupt, but one other thing too, the capability of the site, the artists
will be submitting. Many of them will submit multiple images per piece of artwork. And they’ll
show you what it would look like hanging on a wall, or for example, sitting on a coffee table and
then you’ll have the ability to zoom in on the artwork. So you can see brush strokes, you can
see texture. It’s really, buying art online has become a standard. And we’re actually pretty
excited about the potential here. So we are seeing good things from pure shows and heard a
good thing. So our expectation is that it will be successful.
Karl: [00:21:47] One of the benefits that I’ve seen on these virtual art shows is the ability to
share with other people. That’s harder when it was in person. I walked in, I like it, but I have a
cousin in another city or somewhere else that’s not there. Virtually during your social media
posts, is it easy for people to share that with people in their network, friends and family? This
might be a good fit for them.
Nadine: [00:22:16] Yeah, absolutely. Especially on social media, it’s an easy thing to do where
you can repost or you can resend it to message to someone, Facebook and Instagram, for sure.
But even the week of the market, being able to just copy and paste that link directly to an artist I
think is even more impactful. We always talked about how do we increase our foot traffic? For
years, we kept trying to figure out what are the logistics to figure out where people are coming
from and how can we expand? And so now, one of the benefits hopefully is that we will
supersede Georgia from patrons, ideally. Similar to how our artists come from all over the
Rico: [00:22:52] Now, we did a podcast recently with the Atlanta Jewish film festival. They did
everything virtual film festival. Whereas before they were stuck just in the Metro area and within
a few theaters. Now they were opened up almost to the world. Although I got to say that someof the videos, some of the films can only be geo located and screened. So Georgia limited too
or let’s say US. But they were able to expand the amount of people participating, not only the
films, I think showing, but also the participation of people showing up to watch those films. So is
that the same feeling you’re getting when you went out for artists, are you finding there are
more? You’re open to a wider range of artists because it’s virtual versus them having to show up
and set up?
Gina: [00:23:36] Absolutely.
Rico: [00:23:38] That is the best part of that? Isn’t it?
Gina: [00:23:41] Well it’s been, again, it’s been really exciting. We have artists coming from New
Orleans, we have Colorado. We have places where normally they would not be traveling this far
from. We do have obviously still a strong mix from the Southeast. But we can tell from the
people that are following us on social media and the groves on those accounts. As well as the
applicants for the show that this was, it was a broader net basically.
Rico: [00:24:11] And it’ll probably be great to see the actual statistics during the Showtime to
see where your visitors are coming from. And where the purchases are actually coming from.
That would be nominal to see that part of it, as a business person looking at this, right?
Kirsten: [00:24:25] I think one of the added benefits of going virtual is that, and one of the
reasons that I think that we would like to keep this component part of the market is because of
the reach we have been able to attract and jury artists and have them be part of the show that
they normally would not be able to do because of either distance or time constraints with a live
show. And so the virtual really allows us to have a broader reach. And like you said, we’re real
excited about seeing those statistics come in, so.
Nadine: [00:25:01] Yeah, I will just add onto that, in the past the way we’ve tried to help artists
that can’t be in our market in person is we’ve always tried to do a curated section. But now I feel
with this, we all collectively feel with this sort of virtual market that now the whole market is even
more curated. You really did vet the process of getting and achieving high quality artists with
wonderful work, great ethics, as best as a price point as we can. That’s the biggest benefit
right? To doing it. It is literally a one-stop shop for all types of artwork. And jewelry. Don’t forget
Karl: [00:25:40] I’d be curious on getting an artist perspective, Megan. This new world and
getting from an artist perspective, how do you see that changing how artists can get their work
seen? And are there any tips and advice you’d have on people using this new platform to
feature their art?
Megan: [00:26:02] Yeah, it is. It’s actually really exciting to see how the potential of what is going
to actually happen, moving from live to virtual. Because the beauty of the live show is the
interaction you have with the client. And Nadine mentioned the intent, like I feel that from theartist perspective, when the intentions match and what you’re looking for match. In that, what
the artist poured into it is what the client is looking for. It’s easy to communicate when you’re
live, right? When you are in person. And when somebody stands in front of your booth, this is
my favorite part of the artist’s market. Besides the big party, as Gina mentioned. Is that, is they
stand in front of your artwork and when they have an emotional reaction, it’s a beautiful thing.
So I will miss that live, but I’m hoping that and my goal as an artist of the market is to be able to
portray that and to explain that and make sure my intention comes across virtually. So whether
that be through captions or in marketing, and making sure that. Because I feel like this is a huge
piece of reaching your clientele that your work is created for. And so I think it’s interesting too. It
is a different, it’s almost employing a different level of marketing as an artist. Because as
several of you mentioned getting different angles of the artwork to make sure that everybody
can understand what it looks like on the wall, but also details of what it looks like close up and
what it might look like in different scenarios. Could you couple it with other artwork or what does
it look like on your shelf? So having the different variety to approach the, as much as the live
scenarios you can get virtually is super important. Sharing your intention and making sure your
purpose of your artwork is known. Because some may come in just wanting something that
matches their decor, but then there’s many others who want something that they do interact
emotionally with. But I do find that no matter which way, what we’re looking for as a client,
people want to know our story. And so I’m thankful for the platform like Shopify and all the art
clients is doing to help us to create that story on this web page so that it is shown through social
media and through our individual pages.
Karl: [00:28:21] I know in the past year, I don’t know if you’ve all had the same feeling because
of us having to isolate more. I’m seeing more expression of people’s feelings and passions
online. They’re reacting to things. If it’s an image, if it’s a story you’re seeing that. And I think
more people have become comfortable using that medium to communicate that. That’s one of
the things I’m excited about is in this forum, most times you don’t get to interact with the artists
in many cases. But I could see the opportunity through what you’ve created in this virtual
experience, the ability to have before interactions with the artists and the art and respond during
the artist’s market experience and potentially after. We’ve mentioned commissioned work, or I
follow your work now and get an exposure for those artists, that’s harder to do in just a purely
in-person event. After you leave the event, you may not see or can’t stay connected as easily.
So I think the time has come for this merging of the two and you’re able to leap frog into that.
Probably we were all forced to. But I think your idea of keeping elements of that as we bring
back the live experience next year, my fingers are crossed, next year live and in virtual. Are
there things that I want to ask a practical question of, when someone comes and makes a
purchase, there’s actually the buying part. And then there is the, how do I get the art, whether
it’s three-dimensional art and so on. Can you speak a little bit about how would that happen
during the event this year?
Gina: [00:30:06] Sure. Kirsten. Do you want to take that or?
Kirsten: [00:30:09] Sure. Yes. So the plan right now, because it’s all virtual is that we would,
each of the artists are setting up their own shipping portion of the market. And so with that, theywill be responsible for making sure that the art is packaged correctly. And with everything going
virtual or online for the past year, they have gotten a lot of experience on how to properly
package art and have it shipped out correctly. There is the option that with just our professional
artists, that again, communicating that if you’re local and there’s an opportunity to do a local
drop-off or a handoff. That is a relationship and a contact that you, that the artist and the patron
can foster and make happen so that the shipping costs aren’t added on for something that’s
local. And we’re hoping that maybe we’ll get an opportunity to actually host the artist on campus,
but that’s just, that’s Wesleyan’s decision. And we honor that decision and it’s would be, it’s up in
the air right now. As far as hopefully doing a on-site handoff opportunity where patrons could
come and meet some of the artists and actually pick up their pieces on campus. It would be
great to be able to bring folks back on campus. But like I said, Wesleyan is in charge of that and
they have done an amazing job of keeping our students on campus. And that’s their priority and
we honor that. So yeah.
Karl: [00:31:41] Would you want to add anything on that?
Gina: [00:31:43] As far as the delivery is concerned, when we were at, we were advised by a lot
of the consultants on this, that when we have a hundred different points of where the items are
going to be shipped from. And so whoever can, whoever controls the inventory really needs to
manage that process. And that’s the artists. We don’t have or control the inventory. So they,
once the sale is completed, then the individual artists will reach out to their buyers and they will
obviously secure whether the item is going to get mailed or whether it’s going to get picked up at
the artist’s studio or whether there’s going to be a meeting place. They will make sure that the
art is delivered one way or the other.
Karl: [00:32:29] I’ve got a question, if I could throw out to each one of you to respond to. If there
was one thing you wanted people that are planning on attending or people that have attended in
the past or especially people that have never attended. If there was one thing you’d want them
to know about the Wesleyan artist’s market that should drive them to want to attend or
participate or how they can get involved. What would that be? Nadine you mind if I start with
Nadine: [00:32:54] Sure.
Karl: [00:32:57] Take your time. I know that it was a big question.
Nadine: [00:33:00] Yeah. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of thoughts going through my head, I think
right off the top. I’ll just say, I think participating in any capacity as a patron with the artist’s
market is a wonderful benefit to our students. And I don’t just say our students in the time that
they’re here K through 12, right? Because there are a lot of extremely talented children, really
they’re young adults by the time they graduate. But that will go out into this world and will do
some fabulous things. And I think they are able to do so because they’re catapulted by our
wonderful fine arts program of which the Wesleyan artist’s market is the biggest, it is their
biggest benefactor. So I think ultimately it does come full circle, right? Because we do havesome alums that are coming back and participating as artists in this market. And so the bigger
feedback loop is the fact that yes, you are gaining a wonderful and unique piece of artwork.
Students who have a huge love of fine arts continue on and have all the facilities that they can
have so that they can do the best performance that they can do, be it 2D or acting or music. And
I think that’s the biggest driver for us. And it’s been every year, to be honest with you has been
okay, how do we increase our bottom line? How do we increase our profit? Because at the end
of the day, it’s not going to our pockets, it’s going to help our children and the other students.
And I think that’s the, for me, that’s what drives me to keep going and what I hope other people
and patrons would consider.
Karl: [00:34:37] Fabulous. Megan, what do you think would be something that folks should think
about in supporting this in ways they can?
Megan: [00:34:46] Yeah, I actually was. I echo everything Nadine just said. That was the same
sentiments I was thinking. And I would add to that, that you can buy art anywhere, pretty much
any store. You can go to any local store and find something to hang on your wall to match your
couch. But this offers the unique opportunity to give back and to create a story that goes full
circle with the school, that is helping local artists, that is supporting local. But more than that it’s
creating so much hope in life. And just, I guess I’ll just say a story again, that is so much more
meaningful. That you could see every day, or use every day with jewelry, that’s so much more
impactful to your daily life.
Kirsten: [00:35:30] Gosh, ladies y’all have done an amazing job of covering it. It truly is. It is the
story. I love that Megan. Where I look around at the pieces that I’ve purchased over the years
and every time I see them, there’s a story. There’s something behind it. There’s an experience.
And I know that like Nadine said and Megan said, that experience goes further than just myself
and my joy that I get from the art itself. But it passes on to all these children that go through and
experience, the amazing program of fine arts at Wesleyan. And we just want to continue to
support that and grow that aspect because it is critical for education and for expression. And
we’ve seen, like you said earlier, a great deal of people expressing themselves in ways that we
just never thought we would ever see. And we’re all getting to share it. I love the part of the
community about the fine arts. It is a community event and we’re expanding our community by
being virtual. And I love that. Because expanding your community as you can go years without
seeing somebody and then you’ll come across somebody in 10 years and go, gosh I remember
when I met you at the Wesleyan artist market or something to that effect. And so that’s exciting.
And the last component would be supporting our artists. With losing last year’s market we really
had a very big heart in making sure that we could do anything we could to help support the local
artists. And now our reach has gotten further and we know the importance and the value of the
artist. And so we wanted to continue to make sure that happened.
Karl: [00:37:17] Gina, would you add anything to what everyone has said?Gina: [00:37:22] The main thing I would say is the artist’s market for me, has always been so
much more than an event. It’s truly an experience. And I’m so impacted by not only the art, but
by the artists themselves. And in a really, it’s been a tough year for a lot of people on a lot of
different fronts. And this is as much about inspiration and offering some hope and a little bit of
escape. And also just it’s, I always find it so educational. So there are so many different
benefits beyond just, finding that particular piece. It’s really just the whole experience and it’s
and all are invited. Again, it’s our favorite part of this event is that we do get to open up the
doors and hopefully share the great art, beyond the Wesleyan campus. We’d just love for, to
continue to hopefully inspire through this event.
Karl: [00:38:28] Well, I know Rico probably feels the same as I do, and I want to thank you each.
Gina, Nadine, Kirsten, Megan. Not only for being a guest today and talking about the Wesleyan
art market, but for your time in volunteering and pulling this together. It’s been a tough year and
figuring out a way to bring this to the community here in Peachtree corners and beyond. I want
to thank you personally for all you’re doing. And for all the artists that are participating and for all
the people that people don’t see behind the scenes, I know there’s IT folks and technology folks
and logistics folks that help make this happen. And I really want to see the community come out
and support this more than ever. If you can’t get there those days, you could do it on your couch
at home and explore some of the art during that. So thank you for your service and for all that
you’re doing for the community and for Wesleyan and for artists in general.
Gina: [00:39:27] Our pleasure. And let me add, we did extend the show from three days to a full
week. So that hopefully allows everybody a great window to take a look and join the site.
Karl: [00:39:41] So can you remind me of the dates and how can people learn more?
Gina: [00:39:46] The dates are April 22nd through 29th. If you’re a sponsor, there is a preview
starting April 20th through the 22nd and it’s not too late to sponsor. So go to our website at
ArtistsMarket.WesleyanSchool.org. You can also check us out on social media, on Instagram,
Facebook, and Twitter. And those accounts are listed on our website.
Karl: [00:40:13] Thank you very much for your time today and for sharing all the hard work
you’ve done and I’m excited to go. I got to visit it when it was live. I’m excited to go visit it now
that it’s virtual and next year I’ll even be excited to doing a little bit of both. So thank you for all
that you’re doing.
Kirsten: [00:40:33] Thank you.
Karl: [00:40:35] I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors. And Rico and I have
enjoyed getting to learn more of the many organizations, businesses, schools in the community,
and putting on the Capitalist Sage to bring you just what people are doing to innovate and to
help other people get ideas of how they can keep going and overcome challenges. Whether it’s
in their business or in their organizations that they support. For me our business advisors at
Transworld Business Advisors, we help consult business owners. We help them figure out howto get into business when they’re ready, how to get out of business and sell when they’re ready
and how to grow their business in between. And I can be reached at
www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you
have going on and how people can reach you if they’d like to.
Rico: [00:41:26] Sure. So I publish Peachtree Corners Magazine as a lot of people know.
Started that out two years ago and we’re working on our next issue. So if you’re interested in the
artist’s market, one of the big features we have is we’re highlighting three of the artists in that
issue. That’ll be coming out the beginning of April. We’re also highlighting four student artists. In
fact, we’re doing another podcast later today. We’re recording with two student artists that’ll be
on Peachtree Corners Life. So that’s cool. It’s getting to know a lot of what’s going on and being
able to put that word out for Wesleyan artist market. Magazine has, is going to be the biggest
issue yet. I think we’re going to be 80 pages this issue. We’re going to be covering a lot of
different things. If you’re into tennis, USTA, recovering that we’re covering the new multi-use
ordinances the city has passed. That’s going to deal with development over the next decade in
this city and what that means with regard to multi-use when it comes to apartments, condos,
retail, office space. Things are changing. COVID has done all that to us. So we’re evolving.
Traffic has changed. The way people are living has changed. So the city has to contend with
that and that’s what they’re doing. So we’re, hopefully we can explain some of that. There’s a
bunch of other things in there. I also own Mighty Rockets. I do digital marketing, content
creation, and handle social media for several different companies. So if you’re looking to get
involved or you need to expand your presence online. Whether it’s product videos or content,
just reach out to me. You can go to MightyRockets.com or you could check my name on
LinkedIn. There aren’t too many Figliolinis out there. So you’ll be able to find me if you put
Atlanta. But this has been fun. I love talking about this. I’ve been involved with you ladies for, I
don’t know how many months now it’s been going back. Six, seven months maybe? Longer
actually. Yeah, actually before Nadine’s…
Nadine: [00:43:21] So it’s been almost two years.
Rico: [00:43:22] Yes. It’s been good to see this whole process evolve and to see how it’s
developed from the beginning. So I’m just excited. I can’t wait to participate.
Gina: [00:43:33] Thank you again.
Karl: [00:43:36] Thank you. And also, I just want to recognize Megan, thank you and for all the
teachers out there that have been helping take care of our children. So we really do honor you
and thank you and bless you for all that you and other teachers are doing. So thank you for that.
Megan: [00:43:51] Art therapy is a real thing, so.
Karl: [00:43:52] It is. Thank you for joining the Capitalist Sage Podcast today. Look forward for
future episodes. We’ll continue to bring you advice from leaders in the business and in thecommunity and talk about how they could improve that and help improve the community in
general. Have a great day, everyone
The Makings of a Renovation Boom
If home is indeed where the heart is, then home improvements and proper maintenance must be the life blood. And as many homeowners in our community have had unprecedented extended time at home between social distancing and remote work, we have seen an uptick in families investing time and money into additions, landscaping and other enhancements to make their time at home that much more enjoyable.
“I researched our permit records and found that in 2020 there were 157 permits issued for residential remodeling. In 2019, that number was 101,” reported Peachtree Corners Community Development Director Diana Wheeler. “And five years prior, in 2015, there were 99 residential remodeling permits issued. These numbers indicate that in 2020, residential remodeling increased about 50% over previous years.”
For those of us looking to freshen things up this spring, there are numerous local businesses doing great work in the area. We have collected a sampling of those here.
My Secret Garden
My Secret Garden lets you dream about big plans for your next gardening or landscaping project. This boutique garden center services the Peachtree Corners and Norcross area with a variety of plants, trees, custom design services and more.
Owner Sonya Harrison’s love and loyalty to all things green is evident as she speaks about her work and the current increase in landscaping installations she has seen.
“It’s mostly people who want to enjoy their backyard, not as many front yards. People want to sit on their patio, enjoy their backyard or what they see out of their kitchen window, living room or screened-in porch. So, I would say it is definitely more focused on the backyard, so they can cook out and be with their family,” Harrison said.
For anyone wondering what to plant this year, My Secret Garden presents countless choices. They’ve completed their annual yard sale on March 13, but there are always plenty of lovely plants available for purchase.
“Being born and bred in Georgia, I am a firm believer that you can never have too many hydrangeas in your yard,” Harrison said. “I love hydrangeas, especially multi-blooming hydrangeas. The traditional hydrangeas only bloom once and then they’re done for the summer.”
Other favorites include azaleas, for their color, and gardenias, for their heavenly smell. But there is a little something for every gardener to keep their thumbs green. For more information, visit mysecretgardenga.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Heating and cooling are commodities that we might take for granted until the air goes out in the heat of summer and we need blessed relief.
Premier HVAC is a second-generation family-owned business located in Peachtree Corners and operated by Peachtree Corners residents. Jackie West serves as the Director of Operations, while her husband Steve West drives the professional expertise necessary to provide exceptional HVAC service.
“We have seen an uptick in people replacing their units and things like that because they have a more flexible schedule at home, and don’t have to take time off work to meet with the estimator, to see what they have in their homes, to suggest new products, new systems or options on what they might want,” Jackie West said.
“We actually did more service last year then we did replacements, because of the pandemic, because people didn’t have $3,000 to $6,000 to replace a unit unless absolutely necessary, because that is a big expense,” Jacki said.
Premier HVAC services most makes and models of HVAC systems. To learn more, call 770-696-4189 or visit premierhvaccorp.com.
Peachtree Corners Remodeling
Owner Todd Hudson has been in the interior remodeling business with Peachtree Corners Remodeling for a long time, and he has certainly noticed growth recently as kitchen and bathroom projects continue to fill up his schedule.
“This has been my best year by far, with 20+ years of doing this kind of work. I’m booked into June,” Hudson said. “I attribute it to people wanting to live in Peachtree Corners and there is no inventory of houses, so they improve what they already have.”
For more info about Peachtree Corners Remodeling, visit ptcornersremodeling.com or call 770-873-9245.
Operating out of nearby Suwannee, Renovation Solutions covers all manner of renovation work related to home improvement, landscaping, handyman services, welding and fencing. Renovation Solutions Owner Mario Fuentes has been around the block a few times, even working on two televised HGTV projects over the course of his 15-year career (while he worked for other businesses).
“I have been busy, busy, busy. In January — when everybody is slow, and this year the most, but especially this January and February — I have seen more business,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes mentioned recent work in commercial spaces, working on lobbies in hospitals. He also mentioned patio work and room renovation, focusing on homeowners’ desires to drive up house values.
“People are mainly concerned about how much it is going to bring the house value up. There are some things that will definitely bring value,” Fuentes said.
More information on Renovations Solutions can be found at renovationsolutionsrs.com or by calling 770-376-5384.
EV Remodeling serves the Greater Atlanta area but has made Peachtree Corners its home base. The business’ primary service offerings are home additions and deck repair and construction, as well as kitchen and bathroom remodeling.
Owner Eli Vaknin noted an increase in calls about kitchen remodels, as well as patio and deck builds or improvements. He attributed this increase, in part, to more homeowners working in the home and noticing things they would like to change.
“I see a lot of outdoor living and also a lot of office additions, renovating existing space and turning it into an office or finishing part of a basement to turn it into an office,” he said.
Vaknin has noticed an “increase in volume” of kitchen and bathroom remodels “because people aren’t traveling as much, going out as much, so they are going to use that money on that ‘ugly’ kitchen they have been cooking in for a year because they couldn’t go to restaurants.”
EV Remodeling has received the “Best of Houzz” service award for the last five years, since 2016. For details, go to evremodelinginc.com or call 678-822-7573.
The New Multi-Use Development, Townhouses & Cornerstone Academy
On this Month’s Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, Brian Johnson
Learn about the new proposed 9.2 acre Peachtree Parkway multi-use development, new townhome application for at Peachtree Corners Circle and Jay Bird Alley, and Cornerstone Academy’s expansion plans.
Timestamp, where to find it in the podcast:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:14] – Cornerstone Expansion
[00:08:08] – Townhouse Rezoning
[00:12:38] – 9.25 Acre Multi-use Zoning
[00:24:06] – Low Emissions Grant
[00:28:59] – Closing
“This is the first application of the very first of our mixed use development ordinance. The developers have taken advantage of it. And we believe to the betterment of the entire project… it does have certain incentives within that ordinance that we all win.”Brian Johnson
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini. Thanks for joining us for Prime Lunchtime
with the City Manager, we’re going to be discussing three major things that just happened this
past city council meeting. One of them was voted on two of them we’ve done what’s called a first
read and consideration. So there’ll be coming up in the next council meeting. But we’re going to
be covering the cornerstone Christian Academy application for a change of variance. A change
of conditions for their property and expansion of the private school. Also, we’re going to be
discussing the town home rezoning of from our R102 Townhouse that’s happening at Jaybird
Alley and Peachtree Corner Circle that may happen. And also we’re going to discuss a rezoning
application for 9.25 acres along Peachtree Parkway that’s looking to become a multi-use
development. Before we get to that, I just want to say thank you to Hargray Fiber for being a
great sponsor of not only this podcast, but the family of podcasts that we do in supporting
Peachtree Corners Magazine. They are a company here in the Southeast that provides internet
capabilities to small companies, as well as enterprise businesses. Along with the tools, office
tools that you can use to run your business better. Fast internet service. Not like the cable guy.
They’re also a great supporter of Curiosity Lab in the city of Peachtree Corners. They’re really
local and they provide a lot of community support. So check them out. Hargray fiber is the
company. HargrayFiber.com is where you can see them. So before we go any further, let me
bring on of course my guest Brian Johnson, City Manager. Brian, thanks for being with us. What
we’re going to be discussing is a bunch of different things. I’m acting as engineer right now. So
bear with me.
Brian: [00:02:12] No worries.
Rico: [00:02:14] We do this all the time, but there we are. All right, cool. So I know that things
have been crazy going on in the city and stuff, lots of new things going on. I won’t even get into
one of the things we discussed pre-show a little bit which has been in the AJC. And that’ll be a
separate video that I’d like to discuss with some people and talking about what’s going on. And
the horrendous thing that deals with that I cannot believe a government official is allowed to do
essentially. So I’m just going to vent on that on a separate video from this. But let’s dig a little
deep into what is going on in the city. And some of the things, some really good things and
some things on that have taken advantage of the new multi-use ordinance and such. So the first
thing on the agenda for today, is just a quick discussion of Cornerstone Christian Academy, the
private school here in the city of Peachtree Corners. One of the best schools out there. They
just got the best, company for best place to work I think from the AJC that we just covered in our
website. And which is, you know, not easy to get from what I understand. So it’s a great, great
thing for them. So tell us a little bit Brian about, what the application was for, and I’m going to
slide some images on as we talked about it, or at least one.
Brian: [00:03:28] Well, you know Cornerstone, well Peachtree Corners as a community, as a
municipality, we’re very blessed. We have a number of great school options within the city,
Cornerstone being one of them. We’ve got a great public school system offering. We’ve got
Wesleyan and we’ve got Cornerstone. And so it’s, I think sometimes as a community, we
overlook the fact that if you live here, you’ve got some pretty, you got some great options and
those options allow you to keep your world as small as possible. So you don’t, your commutetimes are shorter and your quality of life increases. If you’ve got kids that are active, you can
keep them close to home. And it’s nice. So cornerstone is one of those great options. They have
been doing well. Their enrollment has been such that they’ve been able to, with that and some
fundraising, look at creating a more permanent campus from what they started. They started by
acquiring a commercial office building and expanded from that into multiple buildings. That were
assembled in parcels that were contiguous. So they’ve got a mini campus.
Rico: [00:04:42] In Technology Park.
Brian: [00:04:44] Right. And what they’ve done is when you’ve got these, this assemblage of
buildings that were originally constructed as just standalone office, commercial office, they want
their campus to actually start feeling like a real campus versus just an assemblage of
commercial office buildings. So they are taking one of the buildings and they’re demoing the
building and creating a quad in the middle of other ones. And they’re also expanding that, or I’ll
call it joining that, with adjacent property that is across the street from Peachtree Corners
Rico: [00:05:29] Now, for the people that don’t know. They, and I don’t have a slide
unfortunately, I thought I did. That’s the property, the parking lot across from the church, that
also has the athletic fields and a little pavilion area on the side.
Brian: [00:05:42] And so Cornerstone has acquired it. They, I guess just have use rights for a
while from PCBC and so they’ve acquired it. So now they’re just creating that campus and that
kind of locks in that part of it. They’re going to continue to use it in the way that it was when they
were just using the property and not owning it. So it’ll still be used for recreational purposes.
There’ll be some parking there, there is a little bit of, there’s plans for a gymnasium on the
property. And then a little, I guess you call it, a clubhouse associated with the ball fields. And so
they have some expansion plans for the property, but it’ll still be used in the way that it has been
so far. We’re excited to you know, have a school here that has done well enough enrollments
such that they can put deeper roots into the community than they had before and expand and
make this educational offering that much more, enticing than it was before this plan came out.
Rico: [00:06:46] Yeah, I’m excited for it. I’ve seen Cornerstone start from a really small school. I
think it was actually within Peachtree Corners Baptist originally. Yeah, I think so. And then they
got the one office building, then they expanded to two. And I think, I guess now it’s three. So it’s
exciting to see that. And if I remember correctly from the plan, the proposed plan, is that the ball
fields would probably stay where they are, the baseball field. The soccer field will probably be
reoriented a little bit. And then that gymnasium is going to be, if you’re facing the property, that
gymnasium building is going to be on the left side of the property. These have taken up probably
two or three rows of parking spaces along that side. Away from residential, obviously there’s
you know, that. And close to the street side of Peachtree Corner circle. They have a great
school. I don’t think there was any opposition to that. I can’t imagine to that request.Brian: [00:07:46] No, there wasn’t. Especially when they’re using it for the same purpose,
everybody has accepted that it’s a recreational use. It’s associated with the church and other
areas too. It’s a known commodity. Yeah, from the city’s perspective, we were very happy to see
their plans and we’re glad that we were able to help facilitate them getting this and moving it
Rico: [00:08:08] Yeah. I’m excited about it and we’ll be covering that a little bit in the next issue,
not this issue, but the June-July issue of the magazine, Peachtree Corners. We’re going to have
a little profile about, a little story about that. And maybe possibly some of the renderings of
what’s going to be, what’s planned for that. Let’s go on to the townhouse rezoning or the
rezoning of a property at the corner of Peachtree Corner Circle on 3755 Jaybird alley. From
R100 large residential land plot, right? To townhomes. I’m going to slide this on, tell us a little bit
about this. And there was opposition to this. I’ve got to say there were probably 239 in
opposition to this. I don’t know of how many people showing up at the city council meeting, but
there was quite a bit opposition, I think, singed in letters and such. So tell us a bit about this
Brian: [00:08:57] Well, I mean, you know, this is typically what you get when you get a developer
who comes in and is looking to maybe take property, assemble some parcels or take something
that already exists and oftentimes redevelop into something else. This one is one of those
purposes you’re looking at. The easiest way is just to put a townhome community on it. I will say
at this point, that it was just the first read. And so council, there was no discussion. The
discussion and vote will be at the April council meeting. They did have, the developer did have
multiple appearances in front of the planning commission prior to getting to this point. It was
tabled for some inner, for some further interaction with local residents that had some concerns,
at least once. And I know there have been some changes to it. But while this has been going
on, I can attest to, because I’ve pretty much been receiving the same thing, is the local
community there is very interested in this project. And has been expressing things of concern or
at least things that council needs to take into consideration when this is being discussed. So
there is a lot of interest from the community on this project. And mayor and council have
received all of the communication. It’s been organized in a way that, we know how much and
what they’re saying and what are the key points that are being brought up and council is
prepared to discuss it from an educated perspective. Both from what staff provides counsel and
what the community provides. So I look forward to them debating this and, you know, making an
up, down vote on it.
Rico: [00:10:44] Right. What actually butts this development on the other side of this? Not the
roadside, but the other side.
Brian: [00:10:53] It’s a triangle piece. I mean, I guess there’s a subdivision on the other side of
Jaybird Alley from this. A single family, detached residential community. There are at least, I
think two individual, single family homes that are in this triangle piece of property that are, I
guess it’s, what is it? Jaybird, Spalding and Peachtree Corner Circle. I believe is the three roadsthat form the kind of parcel that they’re looking at, or some of it. Now there’s a, yeah, those are
Rico: [00:11:31] So it butts up to residential, that’s actually probably R100 I’d imagine. So that
would on the face of it to me, I know you may not be able to say anything on it yet. Since
planning commission, did they, did the planning commission actually give a recommendation?
Brian: [00:11:47] They did. Did they recommended denial.
Rico: [00:11:49] Okay. Which makes sense to me, cause by taking a townhouse butting up to
one R100 is just such a drastic change. Usually it’d be like, let’s say R60 maybe or moving,
slightly higher and not going that far up in density next to an R100. That doesn’t make sense.
Brian: [00:12:09] You are right. That is one of the probably most common concerns raised by the
residents, is the increase in density that this would allow in the area where there’s not really the
same level of density. And council has received that message loud and clear and has not
dismissed this lightly. They’re prepared to, they’re probably to a point on this that they would
have, could have voted Tuesday night. It’s just, it was just the first read, so.
Rico: [00:12:38] Sure, sure. Alright. Then the next item that we’re going to talk about is the 9.25
acres along Peachtree Corners Parkway. There’s a request for zoning and this makes sense.
Because we’ve been discussing in the last few meetings, podcasts, about the multi-use
ordinance and the changes that happen in the ordinance. And this is actually being affected by
that ordinance. Their application, from what I could tell is taking full advantage of the credits that
they could get for high density and all that stuff. They have a laundry list of things that they’re
doing that help them compile their density. And it’s, these are basically office buildings. This is
basically Technology Park. The, on that side.
Brian: [00:13:25] Yeah. So this is on Peachtree Parkway. It is just North of the new signal at
Engineering Drive in Peachtree Parkway. Where the racetrack and the liquor store are. The
immediate building to the North of that. It’s a three story building that sits off from the road,
existing commercial office building. And then it’s that parcel and then it’s the parcel or maybe
parcels, but all of those single story, commercial condos, those old ones. There was a physical
therapist and life insurance, and it’s all of those and that existing one, the existing commercial
office building. So that’s the, just under 10 acres or essentially 10 acres. And it’s, you know,
what you see is this is an example as you’re showing here. This is the first application of the
very first of our mixed use development ordinance. Like you just said, the developers have
taken advantage of it. And we believe to the betterment of the entire project. And by that I mean,
given communication that’s been happening prior to this officially being submitted and some
changes since then, the project has actually got less units than the applicant originally
requested. Mixed-use development ordinance steered them down a road that ultimately resulted
in less density. And then it does have certain incentives within that ordinance that we all win.
They’re donating land for green space, there’s adaptive reuse of existing office buildings. They
are going to demo in that photo right there, those single story. And that’s what it looks like now.And if you go to the next one, that’s what it will look like. The couple of things of note. And I don’t
know, do you have any of the other ones? So that’s the single…
Rico: [00:15:33] Yeah. Let me pop one of the other ones.
Brian: [00:15:36] God knows how that will look. And then you have the, there’s the existing three
story office building set back off the road back there. And they’re keeping that and they’re, that’s
not the view. That’s a different, do you have any more? There’s another view.
Rico: [00:15:53] I think I do have this other view here. Hold on. There’s this.
Brian: [00:16:00] That’s on the inside. That’s the interior. I may have had, been privy to a view
you didn’t get. But anyway, that office building is going to be kept. That one right there is going
to be kept.
Rico: [00:16:11] Now, that’s a 1982 building built, I guess. That’s what I understand.
Brian: [00:16:17] Okay. And they’re going to be basically gutting it, reusing it in a number of
ways. Including some similar to like we-work space type of thing. Some of that will be, there’ll
be some amenities for the local residents in there. Clubhouse amenities type of thing. And I
think there’s, and then I think they have templated a coffee shop to go in there.
Rico: [00:16:43] So when they’re talking retail, so this is another view. I think this is the some of
the, I’m not sure if those are the townhouses. I think those are.
Brian: [00:16:52] They are.
Rico: [00:16:53] There’s going to be 26 planned townhouses, 295 multifamily apartments
essentially. And when they say, so they’re going to reuse the three story building, like you said.
Which was a 1982 buildings, so it’s fairly old building. So that makes sense. It’s I guess recall,
gutted out their building, not recalled, what was it? Brightree. And rebuilt there. It’s a beautiful
building by the way now.
Brian: [00:17:16] And they’re doing something similar to that. So the good thing here is there’s a
couple things of note. One is we have an adaptive reuse of an empty building, a building that’s
been empty for five years. And it’s also going to remove those single story office condos, which
if you’ve been back there, they are in a very degraded condition. In fact, most of them were
completely empty as well. The only ones, you know, we never noticed it if you’re driving by
because the front units still had some tenants in it. But man when you went back, it was empty.
People were breaking in. It was, it needs help. So that’s good. Second thing is all the trees
along Peachtree Parkway are remaining. And at the end of the project, there will be more trees
because of the replantings then they started with. And they also are reducing the impervious
surface that’s on the site. So when you get into the existing, all the existing parking lot and
rooftop. And when they remove all that and construct anew, there will actually be lesspavement when the project is done then there currently is. So those are some good aspects of
this project that we’re excited about.
Rico: [00:18:41] With the project you mentioned, obviously there’s, we’re talking about, it says
partial, some retail. Are they, is it just the coffee shop or is it?
Brian: [00:18:52] I’m not sure exactly. I’m not sure they even know at this point. Because again,
the way these things work. And there’s still a few things, a few little details that are even being
discussed, that will probably tweak the final version that council is voting on. And again,
planning commission serves a great, extremely important role here. And that is, they are the
best vetting tool that the city has of getting a project as close to possible as the project that
council wants to approve. Sometimes it’s impossible to get there and council, again, denies the
application. But sometimes, I would maybe even say a majority of the time, planning
commission is able to influence the developers at their stage in a way that then the developers.
Continue to make modifications to their site as a way to enhance the product before council
votes on it, which makes it easier for council to make a decision. Again, sometimes it’s just a
bridge too far and they can’t come to that. But anyway, there’s a little bit there, but on the retail
side, you can’t fill it. You can’t know exactly because they don’t have the zoning approved yet.
Rico: [00:20:19] But don’t they have to give you a plan to say, we’re going to have 10,000
square feet of retail.
Brian: [00:20:24] Yeah. And they do. I just don’t know that off the top of my head. They do,
because mixed use development ordinance has to have three different uses in it. And so they
are going to, their application does have square footage. I’m just saying that right now, before
council that number’s probably changing as we speak right now because the developer is
hearing some feedback and making modifications. But there will be a square footage dedicated
to retail, and here it will be depicted on where it will be. Some to commercial and some to
residential. And if the rezoning is approved, then of course they go out and they try to lock up
some leases. And those uses could be anything from a coffee shop to a sit down restaurant, a
Rico: [00:21:14] And it makes sense to me, obviously multi-use is going to be like that. It just
doesn’t make sense to me if there’s only one little 2,500 square foot coffee shop, and we’re
calling this development a multi-use development. When in fact that’s just like the minimal part
of it, right?
Brian: [00:21:31] It is. I mean, of course all projects have to have a minimal. So sometimes, you
don’t get as much as you want. Now we’ll say that the balancing act here on a mixed use
development on just anything, but on this one in particular, is to try to achieve a balance that’s
achievable. By that I mean, It would be great if there was a bunch of retail. Maybe we, you and I
are like, man I would love to have like a little mini shopping area or whatever. That’d be great.
Just for purposes of illustrating this. If we wanted it, that’d be great. But if the developer can’t fill
it, nothing would be worse than for there to be a development that started off with too manysquare feet of retail than they can fill. And that has happened. And so there’s also sometimes
you have to be careful about making somebody try to fit a square peg into a round hole. If the
timing’s not right, if the area’s not right. And retail’s the one that’s the most difficult right now
because retail nationally, internationally is undergoing a unique metamorphosis with the
Amazon’s of the world. So we don’t know where it will be. And so bricks and mortar retail is
scary sometimes to developers if you have too much.
Rico: [00:22:55] And the good part about this though, is that it’s not like they have an anchor
place. That’s 30,000 square feet of retail. So small shops, coffee shops, a couple of small
restaurants, I can see that. Especially if they’re bringing, the whole idea is bringing in over 300
families essentially into there. Whereas the town center doesn’t even have that yet. The
apartments where, the apartment and the Indigo hotel, where the original component of this and
who knows where that is right now. Because that’s still not being talked about. Because that was
almost 300 apartments or 260 apartments I think that would sit right over town center and that’s
not there yet. Which could probably help the retail, the restaurants and stuff like that. The whole
idea of that energy. Energized environment of people just being, I’m going down to get
something for breakfast and, just like you would in the city. In Atlanta, let’s say or Brookhaven. I
did want to ask about this. So the office building in the back, that’s not being converted to this.
This is a whole new building though that would be on there. This five story residential building.
Brian: [00:23:58] That’s a whole new building. That’s correct.
Rico: [00:24:00] Okay. And that would be set back. And the front part would be townhouses or
any of the retail?
Brian: [00:24:05] That’s correct.
Rico: [00:24:06] Alright. Cool. Great. So we’ve covered that a little bit and we’ve got a little bit
more time. So I thought maybe we’d just quickly talk about the, you guys did a resolution to do a
matching grant. Thought that was a great idea that had to deal with EVA, low emissions. Do you
want to talk a little bit about, give a couple of minutes on that?
Brian: [00:24:27] Yeah. So, just to step back real quick. The city, when it comes to economic
development has seen some really good success with Curiosity Lab being the magnet to attract
companies here. And we’ve seen it with Brightree and ASHRAE and some others. We’re seeing
it with some other activity within our innovation center that maybe is only temporary, but it is still
active. And so we have realized though that for us to continue to innovate, for us to continue to
keep market share of being, one of the only, if not only living laboratory of our kind in really the
world. We’ve got to keep doing things to stay out front. And what we’re seeing is, we’re starting
to compete with cities that are way outside our weight class. And the only way we can compete
with cities, like Jacksonville, Florida, just within their own general fund appropriated, I think it
was like $25 million towards autonomous vehicle research and testing on a location of the city.
They’re doing things. And Miami’s thrown, tens of millions of dollars of things. And those are, we
can’t compete with that directly. So what we’ve decided to do was we decided to be moreaggressive at identifying and going after grants. Because that’s the one way that if we are more
aggressive at trying to find and go after them, that’s one way for us to ultimately punch outside
our weight class. Above it is to have other people give us some money to be able to compete
with that. So we have started that process and we’ve gotten some consultants to help us identify
some grants. And we just happen to have one that we identified. It’s a low emission electric
vehicle research and development grant. That has a due date of April 12th. And so we weren’t
going to have another council meeting before then. And the reason council needed to be
involved is it’s a federal grant and the federal government generally wants to see a resolution of
support from the local jurisdiction so that they don’t, what has happened in the past, award a
grant to a community that ultimately, maybe doesn’t support having it. Maybe mayor and council
didn’t want to go after it and staff did, and then you get it and there’s not the community support.
So they’re looking for some measure of proof that the community would support something like
this to make it worth while, and to make sure that they’re appropriating it to communities, that
this would be a big deal. And clearly we think we have a competitive one with our electric
vehicle charging hub, the second largest in Georgia. Largest in Metro Atlanta. The solar
roadway, electric vehicle, or the autonomous vehicle activity we have. And we are looking to get
some more soon, all autonomous vehicles or electric vehicles. And then with partnership with
Georgia power and testing, what electric vehicles do to the power grid. And all that stuff feeds
into the very reason that we had Curiosity Lab and it feeds into economic development, which is
about activity. And activity is what we want here because activity of people, however temporary,
they feed our local economy. Because they’re either eating in our restaurants and are staying in
our hotels, renting office space, renting apartments, and some cases moving here permanently.
And so this grant would help us over a two year period, we would use the grant to get five
autonomous vehicles, which would be electric vehicles here from three different companies. And
those three companies would come out here and in coordination with Georgia power do testing
on the burden to the power grid, interaction with each other, maybe testing of charging in the
roadway. All sorts of things like that, but with all those things come support personnel. They
come technicians, they come with their own partners, other people who want to come out here.
Our resolution of support would be, we will support it monetarily or otherwise if we get awarded
the grant. So that’s why there was a resolution.
Rico: [00:28:59] Cool. Exciting stuff that’s happening in the city between development and EVA
and Curiosity Lab. I think people should be excited that the city is moving the way it is. You guys
are doing a great job. I think that’s it really. We’ve, we could go on and on I’m sure. I don’t want
to keep you too long. Brian, I do appreciate you coming out, helping explain some of these
important issues and things going on in the city. Thank you. I appreciate you being with us.
Brian: [00:29:25] Thanks for letting you know, creating this communication vehicle for us to get
some information out.
Rico: [00:29:30] Sure. So we’ve been listening to Brian Johnson, City Manager of Peachtree
Corners. Listen up for more podcasts coming out. And we have, we’re going to be doing a
podcast soon on the Wesleyan Artists Market, going from a real artist’s market to virtual. That’ll
be coming up next week. Actually, depending on when you’re listening to this. But thank you forjoining us. And again, I want to thank Hargray Fiber for being a sponsor of this podcast, as well
as the family of podcasts and the magazine. Check out Peachtree Corners Magazine in another
week or two, and you will see lots of stuff. Our biggest issue yet. See you then
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