Members of the Midtown Development Review Committee, as well as representatives from Midtown Alliance and the City of Atlanta, examine a scale model of a proposed development project at the December public meeting.
With the final meeting of the year in the books, the Midtown Development Review Committee has now reviewed 17 major development projects in 2018 alone. Since 2010, the committee has reviewed a staggering total of 131 development projects.
Comprised of nine community-appointed volunteers, and aided by City of Atlanta planning officials who help interpret zoning rules, the DRC has contributed to the skyline and ground-level experience in Midtown since 2001 by consistently guiding developers and landowners toward high-quality design and architecture in their proposed projects. In the meetings, the discussions can become intense—applicant requests for variations against the zoning code to accommodate curb cuts are often challenged by the committee—but the common goal is to make sure that the relationship between the building and the sidewalk is centered around people.
DRC by the Numbers
The DRC reviews every new development proposed, planned and delivered in Midtown. So far this year, 14 new projects have been delivered with 17 more in construction, accounting for a combined 4,734 residential units, 290,403 square feet of retail space, and 4.3 million square feet of office space.
The People Behind the Committee
The DRC membership purposefully reflects the many facets and interests of Midtown. Among the volunteers are architecture and design professionals, MARTA and Georgia Tech employees, retail and real estate experts, Midtown business owners and residents.
While developers and architects approach projects from the perspective of the client, the DRC lends perspective for the long-haul to analyze projects from the community’s point of view. After all, what is built today could ultimately last 100 years or more.
“The DRC plays a significant role in the enforcement of a higher standard of urban design and streetscape activations in Midtown,” said committee member Tony Rizzuto who is also a Midtown resident and professor of architecture at Kennesaw State University. According to Rizzuto, the most important role of the DRC is to negotiate the needs and aspirations of the residents with those of the business community to maximize the urban experience for everyone.
Among the committee’s notable achievements this year is the collaboration with the City of Atlanta and Noble Investment Group to improve the facade design for a planned Midtown hotel to account for historical context.
The partnership between the City of Atlanta planning committee, the Midtown Development Committee, and developer Nobel Investment Group led to a beautiful redesign of the proposed hotel's facade that matched the caliber of its historic neighbors.
“As a member of the Midtown DRC I get to make a difference where I live, work and play,” said Penelope Cheroff, longtime committee member and president and owner of Cheroff Group. “I use my experience in retail and restaurants, both operations and real estate, to improve our streetscape, amenities and pedestrian environment.”
For a complete idea of the vision informed by decades of community input and upheld by the Midtown DRC, download the Midtown Atlanta Owner's Manual, an instructional and aspirational design guide for building the future of Midtown.