Developers unveil major plans near Perimeter Mall


As many as 10 new high-rises could propel the urbanization of the Perimeter Mall area in coming years if two projects announced this week ever take off.

On Friday, longtime Atlanta area developer Charlie Brown and partners unveiled Crown Towers, a planned five-tower project just south of the mall. Brown and Crown Holdings Group plan as many as two condo towers (one potentially with a hotel on its lower floors), two 24-story office buildings and a high-rise hotel on the site along I-285 a block south of the Dunwoody MARTA station.

That came just days after a mysterious group proposed three high-rise residential buildings and two office towers around an existing hexagon-shaped office building at 1117 Perimeter Center West in neighboring Sandy Springs, about a mile north.

At this stage both proposals are little more than developers’ dreams. Neither have tenants and both need to go before local governments for crucial zoning changes.

Both projects are tied to neighboring MARTA stations and will likely be pitched as self-contained, live-work-play projects, but they also will likely bring loads of traffic to already congested areas.

“Traffic mitigation is a very big factor,” newly-elected Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said Friday. The mammoth overhaul of the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange is the area’s most important transportation initiative, he said, and it will likely take into 2020 to complete.

Dunwoody is working on new zoning standards to encourage more density near its MARTA station, with less density in residential areas to the north, he said.

Crown took control a few years ago of the site near the mall, which now has a dated, low-rise office building previously used by poultry producer Gold Kist. Redevelopment was expected, and the land is already zoned to allow the office towers and standalone hotel. However, the developers would need zoning changes for high-rise residential.

Brown said the residential could be condensed into a single 40-story tower if the state’s plans to overhaul the nearby 400/285 interchange infringes on too much of Crown’s land.

Expanding giant

Crown Towers sits along the route of a planned road, to be called the Westside Connector, that would link I-285 to the expanding campus of State Farm. The insurance giant is building the first of a group of new offices adjacent to the MARTA station. Brown and his partners are donating land to the city of Dunwoody to build the new road.

Brown acknowledged the growing road congestion in the area.

“That traffic is killing the goose that laid the golden egg in Dunwoody,” he said.

But he said Crown Towers is “a solution” to traffic problems rather than a cause, because residents could use MARTA and walk to work.

Along with State Farm, Mercedes-Benz is also set to start its U.S. headquarters this year along Abernathy Road in Sandy Springs. Seven Oaks Co. is set to start an office building just south of I-285 at Perimeter Summit in Brookhaven, and longer range plans for the Central Perimeter area include thousands of apartments along the traffic-clogged top end of the Perimeter.

The Crown Towers site is also hemmed in by a retail strip center to its north. Just to the northwest across Hammond Drive, a partly-vacant tract called the High Street site is expected to be redeveloped with new office towers, residential units and retail in coming years. (The AJC is currently in a building on the High Street site.)

Beyond the 400/285 project, the biggest step to relieve current and future congestion is the proposed $16 million to $21 million Westside Connector. It is in advanced planning now.

The road would take westbound motorists from I-285 under Ashford Dunwoody Road to Perimeter Center Parkway near State Farm’s new campus. The road would also feature an eastbound lane giving motorists another option to connect to westbound I-285. Another road in Sandy Springs would connect the State Farm site to Peachtree Dunwoody Road.

Neighborly talks

Brown said he is in discussions with neighboring property owners about ways to connect his project to Hammond Drive and help improve traffic flow.

Brown said the team is probably on “plan 43A” after years of tinkering.

The condos would be marketed to workers in nearby office developments and aging suburbanites looking to downsize from their homes, stay in their current community and rid themselves of yard work. He said it is likely few tenants would have young children and it would not overly burden local schools.

The condo units would likely cost about $250,000 to more than $1 million.

Brown, 77, was a co-developer of Atlantic Station and Technology Park Atlanta.

He also was also involved in the proposed Roswell East mini-city along Ga. 400 before the real estate collapse scuttled plans there. A Crown partner has proposed a lower density project on that site, known as Riverwalk Village, but development so far has not gone forward.

Though building activity for office campuses with dedicated tenants is hot in metro Atlanta, few speculative office projects in metro Atlanta are underway, despite limited office vacancy. But more development proposals are likely, as witnessed by the week’s announcements.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police: Driver shot multiple times in aggressive driving incident in Atlanta
Police: Driver shot multiple times in aggressive driving incident in Atlanta

A driver was shot multiple times in the leg Saturday morning after an alleged aggressive driving incident in south Atlanta, police confirmed. Atlanta police responded to the 300 block of Cleveland Street and determined that a man was shot in his car after engaging with other people in another car over aggressive driving, Channel 2 Action News reported...
21-year-old ID’d who shot self after 5-hour SWAT standoff in DeKalb, police say
21-year-old ID’d who shot self after 5-hour SWAT standoff in DeKalb, police say

Police have identified the man they said took place in a five-hour SWAT standoff Friday night in a DeKalb neighborhood, Channel 2 Action News reported. Blake Howell, 21, allegedly barricaded himself in a home in the 600 block of Valley Brook Road, police told Channel. After about five hours, he allegedly shot himself in the chest and is now in stable...
Atlanta man shot, killed in Pittsburgh, police say
Atlanta man shot, killed in Pittsburgh, police say

An Atlanta man died Thursday after being shot earlier this week in Pennsylvania, authorities confirmed. Antwon Jones, 36, was shot early Monday morning in the Bedford Dwellings section of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Lamont Pendleton, 40, of the Hill District, was arrested after a brief chase by a Pittsburth...
Reports: Ruptured gas line causes coffee shop blast in South Ga., injuring 3
Reports: Ruptured gas line causes coffee shop blast in South Ga., injuring 3

An explosion destroyed a coffee shop and seriously injured three people in South Georgia Friday, authorities confirmed. Investigators determined a nearby construction crew installing fiber optic cable ruptured an underground gas line, causing natural gas to leak into a sewer line connected to the coffee shop, Glenn Allen, Georgia Insurance and...
Duke University says Robert E. Lee statue won't return to chapel entrance
Duke University says Robert E. Lee statue won't return to chapel entrance

Duke University announced the spot where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee once stood will remain empty.  >> Read more trending news  A year ago on Aug. 19, crews removed the statue from the iconic chapel entrance. The removal came several days after the statue was defaced in the wake of the protests that turned violent...
More Stories