By this time next year, the local landscape will have a new look if the bevy of development proposals receives City Council approval.
On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the Peachtree Corners City Council denied the rezoning request for the Dilweg project.
The Town Center project was approved, and Council agreed with the Planning Commission’s recommendations.
The Sun Court project was also approved by Council, but there were some modifications to the Planning Commission’s recommendations.
The developer is required to work in conjunction with the city to determine the exact path of the trail system through the property. Also, within 30 days of the issuance of a land disturbance permit, the developer must contribute 50% of the base cost of a pedestrian crossing from the property to the Intuitive campus across Spalding Drive as part of the trail system expansion.
There is nothing permanent except change. — Heraclitus
These words from a Greek philosopher who died more than 1,500 years ago ring as true now as they did then. And nobody knows that better than the residents, business owners and stakeholders of Peachtree Corners.
In his most recent newsletter, City Councilman Eric Christ pointed out that change in the city that just celebrated its 10th birthday is coming in droves.
Pay attention and speak up
“It’s summertime and many people are vacationing, going to the pool — in general paying less attention than normal to events around them,” Christ wrote. “I would encourage you to pay attention this summer as the combined impact of the proposed [mixed-use developments] MUDs (and there are most certainly even more coming that we don’t know about yet) will have a profound impact on the future direction of our community.”
During a recent Peachtree Corners Life podcast, Christ talked about how he keeps up with social media, and when misinformation is being shared, he often weighs in to set the record straight.
“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion about whether a particular project is beneficial to the city. But I think it’s important that …everybody has the facts,” he said. “And so, if we’re on Nextdoor, on Facebook — setting aside whether what they’re building is good or bad — if it’s not accurate, …on the size …or the number of units being developed, you often see me chime in and provide the facts.”
Christ said that during his first year in office, he was surprised that so many people he spoke to had no idea about items coming before the City Council.
“People need to, I want them to, know things are being voted on. Because if …no one shows up for a public hearing, I guess there are two …potential reasons,” he said. “One is no one politically cares about that particular development, they know it’s O.K., or they do care, but they didn’t know about the meeting.”
He added that City Council doesn’t always have the best ideas, and hearing from the community members is an important part of the process.
Info on upcoming project requests
“We’re seeing a lot of requests right now in the city to change from various types of commercial zoning to what’s called mixed-use development. And under our ordinance, mixed-use requires three or more different kinds of uses,” said Christ.
Mixed-use zoning can include residential, whereas commercial zoning does not. With housing shortages across the country, developers are looking for solutions like what’s going on up and down Peachtree Parkway or on Holcomb Bridge Road. They come up with lots of ideas for lots of different types of uses. But residents can’t live where it’s zoned commercial. It’s allowed to build a hotel on commercial property, but not a permanent residency.
“That’s why we’re seeing a lot of requests for residential developments,” he said.
Like most cities, Peachtree Corners has a Planning Commission comprised of members appointed by the City Council. They act as an additional filter of sorts, by making recommendations to City Council.
Christ talked about several major projects on the agenda for July.
The Forum at Peachtree Corners
The Forum has a mixed-use request to rezone 44 acres from commercial to allow for new mixed-use development at 5131 through 5185 Peachtree Parkway. Owner North American Properties (NAP) wants to include a 381-unit apartment building, retail space, a hotel and additional parking to the existing 99,050 square feet of office space and to reconfigure the existing 415,350 square-foot shopping center.
The Planning Commission recommended approval with certain conditions including:
■ The building permit for the apartments won’t be issued until the permit for the hotel is issued.
■ The developer must build a pedestrian bridge from the Peachtree Parkway Bridge to the hotel.
■ The developer must build a multi-use trail system through the property.
■ Buildings can’t be higher than 90 feet. Those located within 200 feet of existing residential properties can’t be higher than 50 feet.
■ There can be no drive-through businesses on the property.
•■ Business hours are to be limited, from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends, with the exception of coffee / bagel shops that may open 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.
“When staff researched this, they discovered that The Forum was …zoned light industrial back in the day. So, in the late 90s, it was converted into …a mid-level commercial, and they did include a condition that there would be no hotels,” said Christ.
“So, North American Properties …has taken feedback from the community meeting and they’ve requested two changes. One is changing conditions to permit a hotel and the second is to rezone the 44 acres. That doesn’t actually mean that they’re going to redevelop every piece of that. That’s just how big it is. And they want to change its zoning from commercial to mixed-use, which is what the Town Center is zoned. So, [that includes] the restaurant and the retail and the movie theater and even the townhomes.”
The project called Innovation Lofts, also owned by North American Properties, has requested to add 4.4 acres to the existing 20.6-acre Town Center mixed-use zoning district by rezoning 4.4 acres from commercial to mixed-use with an associated variance to allow for a new apartment building at 5246 Peachtree Parkway and 4936 Peachtree Corners Circle.
[Updated, Correction: The Community Development Department recommended approval with certain conditions on the Innovation Lofts proposal. At its July 19 meeting, the Planning Commission voted to deny the request. Because this was the first reading, City Council didn’t vote on the rezoning request. ]
Planning Department recommended conditions:
■ The site may be developed with up to 249 studio, one- and two-bedroom, multi-family units.
■ The developer must contribute $200,000 by Dec. 31 toward the construction of the Town Center Corners Connector Trail and other associated features in exchange for residential density credit.
■ The developer must construct a pedestrian bridge connecting its property to the Town Center.
■ The developer must provide sidewalk connectivity between all buildings and dedicated trails within the site and to all public streets adjacent to the site.
■ The property will have a resort-style swimming pool and courtyard, but no children’s playground equipment is allowed on the property.
The apartments versus condominiums question came up during a community meeting hosted by the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association. It’s obvious that under the previous owners, there were at least a dozen empty store fronts and North American Properties wants to build density on The Forum property. Popular opinion is that the residential with apartments has a better turnover, and that is a better for retail versus equity ownership.
“Tim Perry [Managing Partner of North American Properties] is looking to create a vibrant retail restaurant shopping center and maintain it,” said Christ. “We sometimes get bored with the same restaurants. …With apartment turnover every two or three years, you have new potential customers.”
Another Town Center rezoning request is for a mixed-use office and retail development. The request is to add 2.31 acres to the existing 20.6-acre Town Center MUD zoning district by rezoning the 2.31 acres from commercial to mixed-use to allow for a new office and ground floor retail development at 3847 Medlock Bridge Road and 5100 Peachtree Parkway. The rezoning also includes the existing Piedmont Bank property.
The 5100 Peachtree Parkway property is currently occupied by the bank with associated parking located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Medlock Bridge Road. The 3847 Medlock Bridge Road property is a vacant parcel located behind the bank at the corner of Medlock Bridge and Town Center Drive. The property is directly next to the Town Center development, which is already zoned for mixed-use development.
The property was the subject of numerous past zoning cases. One was the rezoning in 2013 by the city to the current commercial district to allow for commercial/retail development. Previous requests for apartments, a gas station with auto repair and office buildings were never constructed.
The Planning Commission recommended approval with conditions that include:
■ Retail and/or restaurant use must be located on the ground floor of the office building.
■ The remnants of the former driveway to the bank site along Medlock Bridge Road must be fully removed. The sidewalk must be returned to standard condition and the unimproved yard area must be landscaped.
A foreign limited partnership out of North Carolina, according to its Georgia business license, has requested to rezone 9.68 acres from light industrial to mixed-use development to allow for a new mixed-use development at 2 Sun Court. The Sun Court project will consist of an existing four-story office building, a new mixed-use apartment building which will contain 170 residential units, ground-floor retail space and an extension to the public trail system.
The Sun Court property currently consists of a large office building and associated surface parking located near the southeast corner of the intersection of Spalding Drive and Engineering Drive. The site has some wooded areas remaining along its periphery; however, the remainder of the site is developed with the office building and parking lots. Access points exist on Spalding Drive and Sun Court.
The property does not include the International Charter Academy school located at the immediate corner of Spalding and Engineering.
The property is across Spalding Drive from the Intuitive Surgical corporate campus. Adjacent to the east along Spalding is the Peachtree Corners Post Office. To the south and west are additional Technology Park office park buildings.
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the request with conditions that include:
■ The property must retain the existing office building in its existing configuration, square footage and use.
■ A minimum of 4,935 square feet of retail and/or restaurant uses must be located on the ground floor of the apartment building. The entirety of the space must be occupied and operational (as evidenced by a business license) before a Certificate of Occupancy for the apartment building will be issued.
■ The trail must be completed before a Certificate of Occupancy for the apartment building will be issued.
Ensuring that the trail system be completed has been a major concern of City Council. “We’ve become pretty bullish on that, you know, on the trail system. We are starting on our master plan of 11 plus miles of trails, …the exact location and how we do it is starting to really kind of coalesce more than it did in the past to where we’ve now started to see exactly where we are going to weave it through some of these developments. And as a result, we’re requiring some of them to have the trail be part of their property,” said Christ. “I think this trail system is going to come to life a lot quicker than we thought it could have even as recent as a year ago.”
Changes are inevitable, so make sure they’re positive
At the end of the day, Christ reminds residents and businesses that Peachtree Corners can’t remain the same. “Change is one constant in the world. Peachtree Corners won’t remain static,” he said. “However, considering one of the main reasons we became a city was to, at a minimum, maintain our existing ownership to rental split, I have felt it very important to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to doing just that.”
He added that all the projects that have come before City Council have had their merits. “But ultimately, the ones I voted against I didn’t believe had favorable prospects for being a long-term value creator for our community,” said Christ in his newsletter. “Just because something will be better than what is there right now, doesn’t mean we should vote to approve something.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by noted author Victor Hugo more than a century ago when he wrote, “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”
Peachtree Corners Welcomes Solis Apartment Development with Groundbreaking Ceremony
A new apartment development, Solis Peachtree Corners, will hold its groundbreaking ceremony on December 6 at 2:30 p.m. The event marks the addition of 249 luxury apartment units to the Peachtree Corners Town Center area.
The ceremony will be attended by Mayor Mike Mason, who will deliver a keynote speech to celebrate this achievement. Key development team members will also be present to discuss the project’s vision and design inspiration.
Solis Peachtree Corners represents a milestone for the Fortune-Johnson firm. This is the company’s 150th multifamily project since inception and its 15th collaboration with Terwilliger Pappas.
Following the groundbreaking, a reception will be held at the Fortune-Johnson office, offering an opportunity for attendees to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages while networking and celebrating the occasion.
Guests are encouraged to register for the event here. For more information, contact Leah Singleton at 770-458-5899.
Click here to read more Peachtree Corners redevelopment news.
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 Moves Forward to Phase Two of the Town Green Playground
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
Don't miss out on news and events in Peachtree Corners.