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Land Use and Development

NAP Vision Wins Over Peachtree Corners Officials



The Forum at Peachtree Corners

After a lengthy City Council meeting, rezoning for The Forum and Town Center will bring about a boutique hotel and 630 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

After what may have been the longest City Council meeting in the Peachtree Corners history, North American Properties (NAP) received approval for both rezoning requests — to add apartments and a boutique hotel to the area adjacent to The Forum and to add apartments across the street in the area at Town Center.

Although a few other items were on the agenda, the lion’s share of the time was taken up with the matter of mixed-use development in what is quickly becoming downtown Peachtree Corners.

In the end, the vision outlined by NAP Managing Partner Tim Perry won over City Council. At issue was the second read and consideration of The Forum Mixed-Use project, a request to rezone 44 acres from C-2 to MUD to allow for new mixed-use development at 5131 through 5185 Peachtree Pkwy.

The request to rezone The Forum to accommodate residential and temporary housing garnered the most community input, but seemingly convinced most City Councilmembers. After nearly five hours of questions from City Council, a presentation by Perry, comments from the audience, rebuttal from Perry and further discussion by City Council, the vote passed 6 to 1 with Councilman Alex Wright as the only ‘nay.’

There were about a dozen people who spoke out in support of the project, mainly from business interests such as the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber, Explore Gwinnett and Hargray Communications.

Equally, there were close to a dozen who weren’t for the rezoning, but a few qualified their position by saying they were more on the fence than solidly against. “You could put me in the ‘maybe’ category if you had one,” said one speaker.

By the time City Council was prepared for the vote, a few compromises had come about:

  • The number of rooms in the hotel would be between 100 and 250.
  • There would be accommodations for up to two drive-thru type retailers, such as a Starbucks.
  • NAP would work out details for security and the final plans for the parking deck with the city manager or his designee. That portion of the plan wouldn’t need to come back for City Council approval.

The second read and consideration of the Innovation Lofts Mixed-Use project, a request to add 3.73 acres to the existing 20.6-acre Town Center MUD zoning district by rezoning 3.73 acres from C-2 to MUD with associated variance to allow for a new multifamily residential development at 4936 Peachtree Corners Circle, was a separate issue. Still, Perry stated that they were part of the same vision.

North American Properties wants to “…create a true town center around the already magnetic development of The Forum. …The acquisition of both these sites and the opportunity to invest in such a pro-business community with leadership and vision is compelling,” said Perry. “We’ve covered this for a long time to look not just granularly at each one of these individual pieces but combining them seeking density and seeking success for both.”

He added that NAP will invest over $450 million between what’s already been invested in the redevelopment and the multifamily units that it seeks to develop.

The concept of apartments in the Town Center area wasn’t as popular. In the end, the rezoning request was approved, but by the narrowest margin — 4 to 3, with ‘nays’ coming from Phil Sadd, Alex Wright and Lori Christopher.

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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Land Use and Development

New Housing Development Heads Into Second Phase



Waterside offers a variety of options for families, seniors and everyone else.

With residential real estate being on a bit of a rollercoaster ride now, a new cluster of housing that’s been in the works for a few years has recently entered into its second phase of development. East Jones Bridge River Holdings which includes The Providence Group of Georgia is the partnership behind Waterside in Peachtree Corners. Originally the project was planned as a 55+ community. Around the time the COVID pandemic broke out, leadership decided to seek an exemption on several of the home types to allow for a broader range of ownership, according to Lisa Murphy, vice president of sales, marketing and strategy.

“All of the products stayed the same after that decision. So they still have a master [bedroom] on the main [floor] and we also have townhome products with options for elevators,” she said. ”It is a good community for multi-generational families – a young professional may live in a townhome, his/her parents might live in a single-family home and the grandparent may live in a condo.”

Murphy explained that after the plans were in place for the overall design, look and feel of the properties, the intention was to keep the master plan with all the amenities staying the same. It’s still a gated, master-planned community situated along the shores of the Chattahoochee River with the goal of “aging in place” in mind.

According to Waterside literature,  there’s an abundance of both passive and active amenities for a high quality, low-maintenance lifestyle. It’s about a mile from The Forum and Town Center at Peachtree Corners. Many of the quality-of-life attractions of the area are nearby.

By the time this article is published, Waterside may be sold out of properties in the first phase. At the time of the interview, Murphy said there were about nine single family houses still available. 

Phase Two Underway

The models for the next phase of development are ready for viewing. Similar to the first part, Phase Two will also include:

Single-family detached cottages with open concept designs, 3-4 bedrooms, owner’s suites on the main level and a private side courtyard. 

Single-family three-story detached cottages with four bedrooms, a media room and an optional elevator.  

Two-story front entry townhomes with a 2-car garage, 3 bedrooms and an elevator option.

Three-story rear entry townhomes with a 2-car garage, up to four bedrooms and an elevator option.    

Condos featuring one bedroom, two bedrooms or three bedrooms with direct access (no shared corridors) and a private garage.

The different types of townhomes have proven to be a hit, said Murphy.

“We have a three-story townhome where one of the plans has an elevator and one of the plans has this really neat outdoor living space. So on the main floor when you walk in you have this big covered outdoor living area as you go up to the front door and then behind that on that main floor is a media room that’s been really popular,” she said.

Murphy added that the two-story townhome also has an elevator option.

“It’s frontloaded and lives like a house,” she said. “It has also been quite popular because it feels like a single-family home. You have a yard in the back. People have enjoyed that.” 

The newest products are the condos.

“We have three different floor plans that offer one level living on the bottom level. It’s a one-bedroom condo with a one-car garage,” said Murphy. “This product was designed for typography because if you look at it, the backside has double sided architecture so the back and the front both have full architecture. If you enter from the back, you pull into the garage which is on the bottom floor. If you go around to the other side of the building, you’ll see two stories.”

The look as well as the property “lives” is important, said Murphy. With so many homeowners looking for smaller residences, they still want quality.

“That’s why we say people want to downsize but not downgrade,” said Murphy adding that they consider the properties “shiny and tiny.”

“Compared to the big house that they’re moving out of, they don’t want to give up the finishes and all the things that they’ve gotten used to. So these houses are very well appointed just like a 10,000 square foot house might be in the Peachtree Corners area, but they’re just smaller,” she said.

But don’t think a smaller footprint means squeezing into a little box, she added.

“Our smallest unit is the one-bedroom at 1,564 square feet of living space. And that doesn’t include the outdoor covered spaces. For a one-bedroom that’s big,” Murphy said. “The largest condo is three bedrooms at 2,520 square feet. All the rooms are big and spacious. It will fit big furniture and owner suites are very luxurious with soaking tubs, big showers, big closets and lots of lots of living area.”

Now that the models open, people are encouraged to see for themselves.

Several Options For Senior Living

One thing that isn’t available yet is the options for senior living facilities.

“Our active adult component will come into play in phase three,” said Murphy. “The way the property is zoned, we have the ability to do memory care, active memory care, assisted living and independent living. All of which would be for rental units.” 

The designs for that phase haven’t been finalized and the developers are looking for input from residents before making anything permanent.

“It could be all three of those uses, or it could end up being only independent living,” she said. “We haven’t fully flushed out what percentages of that section are going to be.”

There isn’t a timeline for when that phase will begin.

“Hopefully by the time we’re finalizing that we will have enough owners in the community that we can get some feedback on what they are thinking and what they would like to see here in terms of what their needs are. We’d also have a better read on the overall market and what are the needs of the area at that time, because it’s shifting all the time.”

As a best guess, Murphy said that won’t be in the works for at least another year or maybe 18 months down the road.

But what will be on the horizon is walking trails and the clubhouse.

“Our clubhouse is being completed now. It’s probably going to be finished sometime early fall, but it’s gorgeous. It’s got a beautiful gathering room. It has some meeting rooms. It’s got a card room with a caterer’s kitchen. On the lower level it’s got a couple of massage rooms, an aerobic room and a fully appointed fitness center. There’s also a coffee bar area for people wanting to gather,” said Murphy.

Additionally, there are huge event lawns within the community. 

“One of those is already in place in front of the clubhouse,” she said. “We have a very large pool with a pool house. And then we have decks and pavilions built into the landscape that overlook the river and the fire pits. We have a little bar area that’s under a covered pavilion that’s perfect for a cocktail along the river.”

Waterside sales office information

4415 E Jones Bridge Road
Peachtree Corners
(470) 514-6999

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Peachtree Corners Moves Forward to Phase Two of the Town Green Playground



Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking place in December. (Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners)
Photos Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners

After achieving great success throughout the years in creating a communal space for Peachtree Corners through the Town Green and its fitness trail and playground, the City of Peachtree Corners is moving forward with Phase Two of its playground plans.

The city began constructing the Fitness Trail in 2020 upon realizing a need for amenities in the space created at the Town Green. There was an outstanding positive response from the community, prompting the city to build the first part of its playground. 

However, planners knew there would eventually be a demand for a smaller playground for kids who were too young for the main playground. 

Now, with confidence, the city is pushing forwards to install Phase Two of their playground plan, specifically for kids aged two to five years old. This playground will be placed where the current hill and its associated slide stand, along with the area that currently has two pieces of climbing equipment, near Playa Bowls. 

Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking
place in December. (Courtesy of the
City of Peachtree Corners)
Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking place in December. (Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners)

Construction on the project will begin in early December and is scheduled to finish by the first summer concert in May of the upcoming year. During construction, the hill and slide will be removed. The city is working on donating one of the pieces of climbing equipment to Peachtree Elementary School.

Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking
place in December. (Courtesy of the
City of Peachtree Corners)
Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking place in December. (Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners)

Intentionality in design

The new stunning playground will feature low-to-the-ground pieces of equipment that will take on a whimsical outer-space theming. Additionally, the playground will have wheelchair-accessible sections with ramps to wheel on and off certain pieces of equipment. 

Careful consideration went into the designing and rendering of the playground. Public Works Director Greg Ramsey shared that the team behind this project wanted the theming of this phase to be lasting and interesting for many years to come. 

“We have seen NASA exploring the idea of returning to the moon and perhaps traveling to Mars one day,” said Ramsey. “So, we developed the idea to make our new playground a place where younger children can explore space travel and space transportation structures in their own imaginative ways.” 

Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking
place in December. (Courtesy of the
City of Peachtree Corners)
Peachtree Corners Town Green play-ground renderings of Phase II taking place in December. (Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners)

To keep with the theme of space exploration, some of the creative structures the team plans to include are several imaginative play stations with many moving dials, buttons and movable pieces designed to help grow children’s imaginations and stimulate sensory-challenged children.

“We will also have several areas for climbing, and those climbing areas will be connected to a rocket ship that will be lifting off, a UFO that has landed nearby, a moon rover vehicle and a space car,” said Ramsey.

“We will have a couple of slides coming out of the space vehicles and space structures,” he added. “Outside of those, we will have space rocks for climbing or jumping, bridges connecting several of the structures and an ADA compliant carrousel that will be flush to the surrounding surface.” 

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Land Use and Development

Residential Developments May Be in Pipeline for Ingles Shopping Center



Rendering of option “D” for the Ingles Shopping Center. It’s one of several options in the forthcoming 2045 Comprehensive Plan

City Councilman Alex Wright talks about developers wants versus residents needs and preferences.

NOTE: This article has been updated on July 27, 2023, at 4:36 pm.

Economic development doesn’t seem to take a holiday in Peachtree Corners. While many are enjoying the lazy days of summer, deals are in the works to upgrade some areas that have remained stagnant and refresh others into more modern spaces.

City Councilman Alex Wright recently shed light on a few changes in the works.

Land behind Chase has a buyer

The three acres of undeveloped land behind the Chase Bank on Highway 141 is owned by a man named Charlie Roberts, who at one time owned all of what is now the Town Center, according to Wright in the newsletter he distributes occasionally.

Roberts had planned to sell the land to North American Properties (NAP) last fall as part of its ‘Downtown Peachtree Corners’ project with The Forum redevelopment as its crown jewel.

However, due to increased lending costs, NAP did not have the funds to purchase the land, added Wright.

With the assumption that NAP was purchasing the property, City Council approved rezoning the parcels for apartments. And even though that deal didn’t come to fruition, the new zoning designation remains in place.

“The property was rezoned on August 23, 2022,” said Peachtree Corners Communications Director Louis E. Svehla. “The city does not dictate ownership, so any new builder can proceed with construction in accordance with the ordinance conditions of 2022. However, any substantive change from the ordinance conditions would require a change that goes before the City Council at a hearing.”

This isn’t the first time Roberts tried to sell that property to developers who wanted to build apartments.

“About a decade ago, the land bordered by Highway 141, Peachtree Corners Circle and Medlock Bridge Road was just woods,” said Wright. “Mr. Roberts owned the vast majority of it. …He sold that to a company who builds apartments and houses. This was right after the city was formed and the property had been zoned for apartments.”

The city didn’t want apartments there and ended up purchasing the property that is now Town Center. Back in 2016, Roberts made a deal with the city that another developer would build apartments and a hotel, so the city granted a zoning ordinance for apartments that expired after four years.

“He had to have stuff coming out of the ground within four years,” Wright explained. “COVID came and that deal fell through because hotels were not doing so great.”

With the four years expired, the zoning reverted back to its original zoning which was commercial. “There wasn’t a lot of demand for commercial development at the time, also because of COVID. So, he just sits on it and then several years passed,” Wright continued.

NAP enters the picture

When North American Properties came along with a vision to turn the Town Center complex and The Forum into Downtown Peachtree Corners, city officials bought into the idea of more foot traffic and more people living on site. Now Roberts had a buyer for his “white elephant.”

“Shortly thereafter, the Federal Reserve started to raise interest rates fairly aggressively to try to tame inflation,” said Wright. “That made borrowing more expensive; that was the case for North American Properties.”

Although he didn’t hear this directly from NAP management, Wright said he believes that was the case. He added that NAP probably paid more for The Forum than it had originally budgeted since it was such a desirable project.

Again, Roberts has property he wants to sell. But this time, he doesn’t have to go through the process of getting it rezoned. 

“With several apartment projects locally stalling due to increased borrowing costs and data pointing to the apartments nationwide being overbuilt, I have been curious to see if and when Mr. Roberts would be able to unload this property,” Wright wrote in his newsletter.

“It appears that he now has a buyer — Terwilliger Pappas,” Wright added. “Speculation is that any project would be branded under Solis with a closing date estimated for end of [July].”

Possible changes at Jones Bridge Square

A few months ago, at a City Council work session, the city manager said the owner of Jones Bridge Square shopping center approached him about a redesign for the property, according to Wright.
The owner said Ingles Market said it may be open to working with him regarding to redevelopment, even if it meant the store had a smaller footprint, Wright added.

“I’m paraphrasing, but they basically like what’s going on at the Town Center and want to be a part of that,” said Wright. “Instead of just being a shopping center with all this space that’s unused, they want to put in some things that bring a kind of synergy, if you will, with what’s already there.”

Wright explained further that with the pedestrian bridge, there’s a growing desire to be nearer to where things are happening. Comparing what’s going on at The Forum to many European cities, Wright said that it’s human nature to seek a gathering spot and build things around it.

The current Medlock Bridge Corridor map in the 2045 Comprehensive Plan Update. This has not been voted on by City Council as of this publication. Note the “Charlie Roberts” property circled in red (4)
The current Medlock Bridge Corridor map in the 2045 Comprehensive Plan Update. This has not been voted on by City Council as of this publication. Note the “Charlie Roberts” property circled in red (4)

Opportunity for senior living option

“I don’t know much about the grocery store business, but from what [City Manager] Brian Johnson was telling us, they’ve got about twice as much space as they’d like. Apparently, the thing in grocery stores now is smaller,” said Wright. “This might be an opportunity to redesign the whole place.”

There has been some interest in a housing component. Although Wright hasn’t polled his fellow city councilmembers, he believes it could be approved for residential zoning.

“It would be a mixed-use development, and lately we’ve approved all these apartment developments, so we might not need more for a while,” said Wright.

Johnson showed several different concepts that he thought the landowners might be interested in. One idea that caught Wright’s attention was senior living. 

“I know we’ve got Waterside, but it’s very expensive to get in there. And the other thing about Waterside is you can’t really walk anywhere from there except these trails along the river,” he said.

Senior housing as part of a mixed-use development, with amenities like a grocery store, restaurants, a pharmacy, etc., could fill a current void, said Wright.

“All the new developments like retail right up on the road versus a big parking lot in the front. That’s the trend right now,” said Wright. “Then, behind that would be some parking and also a large senior component.”

Still in concept phase

Will there be a new senior housing development on Peachtree Parkway? Will the Ingles Market take on a smaller footprint? None of these concepts have gotten past the conversation stage, said Wright, but he’s excited about what could come for Peachtree Corners.

“These decisions don’t come lightly. These plans tell developers we’re interested in more housing, more dense housing, more affordable housing,” said Wright. “But many of them are presenting rental housing, and from the public input, we hear a desire for a more balanced and also diverse housing stock with ownership options.”

NOTE: This article has been updated on July 27, 2023, at 4:36 pm.

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