BuckheadView was first to report the story, although Atlantic Realty Partners had taken its plans before the Development Review Committee for SPI-12 (special public interest district) in the first week of November, before the company had submitted any plans to the city for approval of a special administrative permit.
|The initial architectural renderings shown to SPI-12's DRC|
At that pre-application meeting in November, the DRC recommended a number of changes the developers might consider to the initial plans and Atlantic Realty Partners returned at the DRC’s Dec. 5 meeting confident it had addressed all the items on the DRC’s punch list.
But, after Atlantic Realty Partners senior director of development Ben Curran and his team finished going over the changes they had made to the initial plans, they left the meeting with a new punch list of items the committee wanted to see addressed for the project on the 2-acre parcel across from Lenox Square.
The high-rise tower, which is expected to break ground in the spring of 2013, will be located in the heart of Buckhead’s business and shopping district adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the new Del Frisco Grille.
|Aerial view of the location for the 10-story apartment building|
(cener of photo where white low-rise structure is shown) is
next to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and new Del Frisco
Grille, at left in the aerial photo.
The initial punch list from the DRC in November, included making the back of the building—essentially the parking deck—a more interesting back door to the property off of the ally so that it ties into the Community Improvement District’s new pedestrian circulation plan for that area.
DRC member Denise Starling explained to the development team that the CID is working to create “an awesome pedestrian space” back there to tie into the new MARTA pedestrian bridge that crosses GA 400 from Stratford Road to Tower Place and connect to the Buckhead rail station.
The committee suggested making the bottom level of the parking desk more interesting to promote that ally off Stratford Road as a pedestrian walkway. But that was just some of the suggested changes.
So, Atlantic Realty Partners’ design team returned to the DRC in December to outline the modifications made to the development as a result of the comments received by the committee in the prior meeting. Those modifications were:
|Atlantic Realty Partners' senior director of development, Ben|
Curran (standing), explains to DRC members at the December
meeting the changes made since November suggestions.
- Pedestrian circulation opportunities have been added to the eastern side of the site as well as the rear.
- A crosswalk has been added across the back parking lot to facilitate pedestrian flow to the future greenspace should it be developed.
- The lower level park deck has been aligned and adjusted to incorporate a knock out wall to provide for future connectivity to the street network proposed in the Buckhead CID’s pedestrian circulation study should it occur with the redevelopment of the Lenox Towers Property to the east.
- A new sidewalk has been incorporated to provide connectivity to Stratford Road and the northern concourse of the Buckhead MARTA station.
- Bike parking will be incorporated to exceed requirements giving the connectivity to the PATH GA 400 multiuse trail.
- Public art will be incorporated on the Peachtree frontage to activate the front space.
- The main roof will be a white roof and the amenity lid will incorporate planters and green roof components.
- The alley on the east side of the building will be covered by a proposed wing wall.
- The back of the parking deck will be “greened” using plant materials that grow up the structure from the ground level.
- The plaza area on the front of the building has been expanded to the width of the building.
- Incorporation of a dog walk into the eastern side of the site providing both upper and lower level connectivity.
The DRC seemed appreciative of the efforts the company had made to address its recommendations from the November meeting, but felt there still was more that could be done.
The committee noted the importance of providing active uses on the Peachtree frontage and recommended the front of the building be activated more significantly than was proposed:
Create a more direct visual connection to the front door through the incorporation of an awning or open colonnade or similar architectural feature;
- Create a direct connection to the proposed cyber café;
- Activate the proposed “wing wall” with public art and or articulation of the architecture; and,
- Provide connectivity with adjacent Mandarin property to extent feasible.
The committee’s report recommended the developer address the sides of the parking deck fronting Peachtree Road with architectural features that mirror the building design and break the scale of the structure.
|Above is a site plan graphic that the development team showed to|
DRC members at the December meeting. View is from Peachtree Road.
The committee also recommended the developer address the rear parking deck to ensure it does not “turn its back” to the pedestrian activity that will be present due to the MARTA access and potential future pedestrian connectivity plan access. The DRC said the deck should include a more overtly stated and inviting back door/entryway.
And, the committee recommended working with the adjacent property owner to the extent possible to create an inviting pedestrian and bicycle connection to the northern concourse of the Buckhead MARTA station that is currently under construction treating transit and trail accessibility as a site amenity rather than an afterthought.
The DRC recommended approval of the requested reduction from three to two loading spaces.
However, the committee reluctantly approved the variation to allow the active use height requirement to be articulated in the architecture rather than incorporated in the actual space. The intention of this requirement is to facilitate the incorporation of active uses such as retail and restaurants on the street frontage. The proposed variation will limit the flexibility of this space in the future should its use be redefined.
The committee also “felt strongly that the proposed design, while technically meeting the zoning requirements and very early in the design process, does not yet reflect the intended spirit of the zoning and desired future outcome for the area,” according to the DRC written report.
The committee said it would like for the applicant to revisit the design to more thoroughly reflect the intentions of the ordinance and return before the DRC once the design is more fleshed out.