January 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) convened on Tuesday, January 13 to review the proposal for a multi-story hotel project developed by North Point Hospitality Group, the same team that developed the dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites located at the northeast corner of Williams and 10th Street.
The hotel, which is proposed to be branded as a Hampton Inn & Suites, will include 152 rooms on 10 floors above 8 levels of enclosed parking at the southeast corner of West Peachtree Street and 15th Street. The development is a refresh of a project that was presented to the DRC in 2007. The committee recommended design modifications to better integrate the ground-floor restaurant space with outdoor seating and adjacent open space. The team will revise their application and return to the DRC for a follow-up presentation.
The next Midtown DRC meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. 
Midtown Alliance staffs and coordinates the Midtown DRC which meets monthly to review all proposed Midtown projects. Meeting summaries are posted the next day on the Midtown Alliance website at www.MidtownATL.com/DRC.


February 2015

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The Midtown SPI-16 & SPI-17 Development Review Committee (DRC) met on February 10th to follow up on two proposals.
Hampton Inn & Suites (1231 West Peachtree Street) – The DRC revisited a proposal for an 18-story hotel on the corner of West Peachtree & 15th Streets. Revisions since the last presentation at the January DRC meeting include a reconfiguration of the ground floor to add an interior dining area and activate the space along West Peachtree Street. The space is complemented by an outdoor dining area at the southwest corner of the site. The team has been and continues to work with MARTA to identify a solution that mitigates the obstruction of a MARTA access vault on site located in the future 15th Street streetscape.  The DRC recommended support for this project.
Alta at the Park (205 12th Street) – Wood Partners returned to the DRC to present an update for their proposed, 19-story apartment tower at 12th Street between Juniper and Piedmont. Since their last review, the development team has shifted the building to set back in alignment with neighboring buildings. They have also added a ground-floor retail space on 12th Street and an active use area fronting on Dickson Place. Additionally, the team plans to maintain a pedestrian pathway that currently exists midblock running north-south between 11th and 12th Streets via Dickson place and a parking lot. The DRC noted with appreciation the willingness of the development team to work with the neighborhood to find a solution amenable to everyone. The DRC recommended support for this project.
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, March 10th at 5:30 pm. Meeting summaries are posted the next day on the Midtown Alliance website at www.MidtownATL.com/DRC.

 

March 2015

This week the Midtown Development Review Committee reviewed Cocke Finkelstein Inc’s (CFI) proposed upgrades to The Solace on Peachtree, an 18-story, 533-unit high-rise apartment tower that sits atop Baronda, a street-level restaurant, located at 710 Peachtree Street (the NW corner of Peachtree and 3rd).  
In January, CFI purchased the tower, which is currently 95% occupied, and has plans to relocate its corporate offices, their sister company CFLane and nearly 90 employees, from Buckhead to a 20,000 SF space on the second floor of the building later this year.
The proposed scope of work for the tower includes modifying the exterior façade of the building with new windows facing Peachtree Street and 3rd Street to increase the amount of natural light in the second floor office space. They plan to add new full height windows that will enhance the quality of the interior space as well as the overall streetscape. The DRC was unanimous in their support for the façade enhancements acknowledging that the new windows would be a significant improvement.  The committee requested additional information including rendered images depicting materials to be used and specific glass color. Additionally, clarification is needed about how the windows would relate to anchor restaurant Baraonda's existing patio at the street level and the deck above. The applicant may provide follow-up information for electronic review. 
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, April 14th at 5:30 pm. Meeting summaries are posted the next day on the Midtown Alliance website at www.MidtownATL.com/DRC.

 

 

April 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) heard a proposal last night for 1140 Crescent Avenue, occupied by the restaurant Flip Flops, to expand the outdoor dining facilities. The project proposes extending the existing deck on the front of the building and adding a deck to the rear for outdoor dining. The plan also includes screening the dumpster and adding one new parking space behind the building. Although there were no variations requested, the DRC asked the applicant to provide a site plan detailing the available parking to demonstrate compliance with the zoning codes prior to making their recommendation to the City for final approval.
The next Midtown Development Review Committee meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, May 12th at 5:30 pm. Meeting summaries are posted the next day on the Midtown Alliance website at www.MidtownATL.com/DRC.

 

May 2015
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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) reviewed two projects last night - a mixed-use development by The Simpson Organization (TSO) at Peachtree and 17th Street, and proposed enhancements to the existing Biltmore located at West Peachtree between 5th and 6th Streets.
Peachtree at 17th - A new mixed-use project is planned for the northeast corner where three existing commercial buildings and a ‘pocket park’ currently exist. The new development will include two buildings: a 190,000 sf office building with 11,000 sf of street level retail and structured parking; and a residential/hotel tower with approximately 206 luxury apartment units and 140 hotel guestrooms, along with various amenity spaces and a street-level retail café on the corner of 17th Street. The committee requested additional details from the development team on elements impacting the street-level experience, including façade materials, parking screening, signage, and a proposed plaza space along Peachtree Street. The committee also recommended that the team present their project to the Ansley Park Neighborhood Association. The committee will coordinate with the applicant to return to the DRC for a follow-up review. 
Enhancements to the Biltmore - The Biltmore is proposing modifications to the northeastern corner of their site to accommodate a pizzeria in the ground-floor retail space. Modifications to the 6th Street elevation include expanding the existing fresh air and exhaust air louver openings. Modifications to the patio on the West Peachtree side include reconnecting the existing patio to the public sidewalk as per original condition, adding an additional step and 6.5” of slab to existing patio to align exterior and interior grades for ADA accessibility, and expanding the original patio to increase exterior pizzeria seating. The committee recommended that the applicant explore extending the patio out further to increase visibility of the patio and provide a more substantial amenity. The committee will conduct a follow-up review with the applicant electronically before making its formal recommendations to the City. 
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, June 9th at 5:30 pm. Meeting summaries are posted the next day on the Midtown Alliance website at www.MidtownATL.com/DRC.


June 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) met on June 9th to review a new application for an organic grocery store at 14th Street & Spring Street. 
Planned as the second phase of The Related Group’s mixed-used development on the block bound by Spring, 14th, West Peachtree and 13th Streets, the project consists of two levels of retail - a 50,040 SF organic foods market and an additional 21,907 SF of restaurant and retail space - above three levels of parking (286 spaces). Access to the parking will be provided off Spring and 13th Streets. Unique features include a 5,000 SF brew pub, a 4,000 SF cooking school, green walls, and two outdoor patio spaces, one located on Spring Street and one located at the corner of 14th Street & West Peachtree Street. The committee asked that the development team revisit the street-level façades to provide a more pedestrian friendly scale and to engage the supplemental zone as an area for merchandising and display.  The committee also asked the team to explore options for a green roof to meet the sustainability objectives of the Midtown Eco-District, to comply with the open space requirements for the SPI-16 zoning ordinance, and to provide a visual amenity since the rooftop will be in the direct line of sight from adjacent office and residential towers. The applicant will continue to develop their proposal further and return to the DRC for a follow-up review. 
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, July 14th at 5:30 p.m. 


July 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) met on July 21st to review three new proposals: NCR Corp's headquarters; a residential and retail development at 1270 Spring Street; and a mixed-use project at 1400 West Peachtree Street. 
NCR Corp. Headquarters – Cousins Properties presented their proposal for NCR’s new corporate campus to be located on the southwest corner of Spring Street and 8th Street.  Designed by Duda-Paine Architects, the first phase includes a 15-story tower facing the interstate and a 4-level structure along Spring and 8th Streets.  The completed project will deliver approximately 516,000 SF of office space, labs, amenity space and an integrated multi-level parking garage.  A future phase is planned on the remaining 1.5 acre portion of the site adjacent to Square on Fifth.  The most unique aspect of the design is the concentration of active uses organized along the Spring Street frontage.  This includes a large, multilevel lobby space intended to function as a community gathering area to showcase cutting edge design and innovation.  Almost the entire length of the street-level frontage along 8th Street as well as the entire Spring Street frontage are glazed in transparent vision glass to provide views into the NCR corporate office.  This intent is carried through to the plaza space along Spring Street where casual outdoor living rooms are created on three terraces activated with informal seating and lawn games.  The result is an inviting street-level experience that welcomes pedestrians and showcases the positive interaction between work and play.  The DRC requested additional information about the screening proposed for the parking structure and more detail about a drop-off lane proposed on Spring Street.  It is anticipated that the applicant will provide that follow-up material at the August DRC meeting.          
1270 Spring Street – Developer Pollack Shores presented their proposal for a new multifamily residential project bounded by Spring Street on the east, 16th Street on the north, and Williams Street on the west. The program includes 256 apartments and resident amenities on five levels; three levels of parking; 13,500 SF of street-level retail on Spring and 16th Streets; and 2,500 SF of active use on 16th Street.  The DRC was complimentary of the manner in which the design team incorporated the unique natural features and topography of the site into the design.  This was most successful along the Williams Street frontage where a granite rubble wall wraps the parking structure.  The committee requested additional information about the retail façade along Spring Street.  The applicant is expected to present detailed street level elevations at a subsequent meeting.  
1400 West Peachtree Street – Seeking preliminary feedback from the DRC, Greystar Real Estate Partners provided a preview of their proposed mixed-use project on the southwest corner of West Peachtree Street and 18th Street.  The project includes a 24-story residential tower with 356 units on the southeast portion of the site; an 8-story hotel with 150 rooms on the northeast corner of the site; approximately 3,000 SF of restaurant space on West Peachtree Street; 3,000 to 5,000 SF of retail and bike facility space on Spring Street; and 547 parking spaces.  The committee was supportive of the overall design direction and asked the applicant to focus on circulation through the site as it relates to curb cuts and pedestrian access.  There is also a site plan issue related to a large piece of transit infrastructure on the West Peachtree frontage and the committee asked for more information about how that element would be integrated into the design.  It is anticipated that the applicant will make a formal presentation in August.   
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, August 11th at 5:30 p.m. 


August 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) reviewed five projects in total on August 11th.  
Mixed-Use at Peachtree and 17th Street by The Simpson Organization (follow-up review) - The new mixed-use project is proposed on the northeast corner where three existing commercial buildings and a ‘pocket park’ currently exist. The new development will include a 190,000 SF office building with 11,000 sf of street level retail and structured parking; and a residential/Hotel tower with approximately 206 luxury apartment units and 140 hotel guestrooms, along with various amenity spaces and a street level retail café on the corner of 17th Street. The DRC requested additional information about the service and loading area at the rear of the building. Specifically, the applicant was asked to provide more detail about the screen for the loading bays and the landscaping to provide an attractive buffer between the project and the alley that separates the site from the adjacent single-family residential neighborhood. The applicant was also asked to provide more information on building materials as the design is refined. It is anticipated that this follow-up information will be submitted electronically to the DRC before the committee offers formal support for the requested variations.   
1400 West Peachtree Street by Greystar (follow-up review) - The new mixed-use project proposed at the southwest corner of West Peachtree Street and 18th Street will include a 24 story residential component (323 units) on the southeast portion of the site; an 8 story hotel component (+/- 160 rooms) on the northeast corner of the site; approximately 4,000 SF of restaurant space on West Peachtree Street; and 3,000 - 5,000 SF of retail and bike facility space on Spring Street. The overall design of the project evolved significantly since the previous DRC meeting and the committee was very supportive of the refinements. In particular, the applicant has engaged MARTA to discuss options for addressing the existing transit infrastructure on the site and they presented creative solutions that will benefit the pedestrian environment. The committee requested more detail about the screening material proposed for the parking structure and expressed strong support for the use of green walls as focal points on the façade. It is anticipated that follow-up materials will be submitted electronically to the DRC prior to final approval of the SAP.
 Dual-branded hotel between 13th and 14th Street by Noble (new application) - A dual-branded hotel proposed on the parking lot at 14th Street between the Four Seasons and the Marriott Suites Midtown will include approximately 300 hotel rooms and 300 parking spaces, a portion of which will be allocated for public use. There will also be a publicly accessible pedestrian connection between 14th Street and 13th Street running along the western edge of the property. While the DRC supports the applicant’s intent to create a convenient pedestrian connection between 13th and 14th Streets, they requested additional focus on this element to enhance safety and comfort for pedestrians. Suggestions included adding an intermediate landing to reduce the run of stairs and improve sight lines and also adding width and lighting to the path at the south end. The DRC requested more detail on the proposed screening for the parking deck as well as modifications to the 13th Street façade and streetscape. The applicant will make a follow-up presentation at the September DRC meeting. 
1270 Spring Street by Pollack Shores (follow-up review) - A new multifamily residential project bounded by Spring Street on the east, 16th Street on the north, and Williams Street on the west. The project consists of 256 apartments, 13,500 SF of street-level retail on Spring and 16th Streets; and 2,500 SF of active use on 16th Street. The DRC was complimentary of the applicant’s updated design for the retail façade along Spring Street. The revised concept highlights the southeast corner of the building with a creative vestibule and signage opportunity. It also creates a more comfortable experience for pedestrians traveling or shopping along Spring Street. 
165 6th Street by EpiCity (new application) - Three new construction townhouses are proposed on the south side of 6th Street between Juniper and Piedmont. The committee withheld approval until the applicant has the opportunity to meet with the HOA of the adjacent property to present the project and obtain a letter of support for the requested variation to reduce the side yard setback. 

The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, September 8th at 5:30 p.m.

 

September 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) met on September 8th to review five proposed development projects – two follow-up presentations and three new applications.   
Whole Foods by The Related Group (follow-up review) - Planned as the second phase of Related’s mixed-use development on the block bound by Spring, 14th, West Peachtree and 13th Streets, this project consists of a new organic grocery store, brew pub and cooking school. The building program provides two levels of retail (72,000 sf) above three levels of parking with a total of 286 spaces. Since the previous presentation in June, the applicant made strides to activate the street level with enhancements such as: increased storefront glass along the 14th and Spring Street façades, an additional store entrance and flex space with the potential for outdoor dining on two levels along 14th Street. There is also a new rooftop terrace above 14th Street. The committee recommended support for the project. 
Dual-Brand Hotel by Noble Investment Group (follow-up review) – The project will feature the AC Hotel and Moxy brands nested together in a new building located on a mid-block site between 13th and 14th Streets. The building will include approximately 300 hotel rooms and 300 parking spaces, a portion of which (+/- 130 spaces) will be allocated for public use. There will be a publicly accessible pedestrian connection running along the western edge of the property providing convenient access between 13th and 14th Street. The most significant changes since the previous presentation in August were focused on the passenger drop-off and loading areas for the Moxy on 13th Street. Additionally, positive changes were made to the ground level of the Moxy to add more glass and increase transparency along the pedestrian walkway. Planning staff noted the need for landscaping between the drop-off areas on both 13th and 14th Streets and the public sidewalk to comply with zoning regulations. The committee recommended support for the project.
Peachtree Street at 7th Street by Hanover (new application) - This new mixed-use project is proposed on the NE corner of Peachtree and 7th Street and will include 11,220 sf of ground floor retail, 350 residential units and 43,025 sf of office uses in a 28-story building. Though this was a preliminary presentation to introduce the project and receive initial feedback, the quality of the design and building program was completely aligned with the vision and objectives of Blueprint Midtown. The committee was complimentary of the architecture and the manner in which the project enlivens both the Peachtree Street and Juniper Street frontages with appropriate massing and a rich palette of materials. The applicant plans to return to the DRC in October for a final presentation.
Juniper at 5th Street by Southeast Capital Companies (new application) - A new six-story midrise multifamily project is proposed on the east side of Juniper Street between 4th and 5th Streets. The project will have 158 one- and two-bedroom units, with some homes as large as 1,650 sf. The committee requested additional information about the streetscapes along 4th and 5th Streets to evaluate their conformity with the surrounding neighborhood context. The committee also requested more information on the landscape plan that will provide the buffer between the project and the adjacent alley. The applicant will submit additional materials electronically to determine if a follow-up presentation is needed. 
Peachtree at 3rd Street by JPX Works (new application) – This unique residential tower is proposed on a 0.3 acre site at the SE corner of Peachtree and 3rd Street. The 24-story building will have approx. 150 residential units, approx. 4,000 sf of ground level retail, and access to 193 parking spaces in the existing adjacent parking deck shared with the Georgian Terrace. The committee recommended support for the project.
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, October 13th at 5:30 p.m.


October 2015

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The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) reviewed four new projects on Tuesday, October 13th, each characterized by site planning and design efforts to increase space and utility in a dense, urban environment. These latest proposals add more diversity to the current mix of development in the pipeline and underscore Midtown’s across-the-board growth lately in commercial and residential facilities, strengthening the District’s foothold as a premier place for business, education and living.
715 Peachtree Street by Carter - Renovations to the Class B office building located on the northeast corner of Peachtree and 3rd Streets include a refurbished plaza, a new street level retail presence adding 11,000 SF, a relocated entrance lobby, and aesthetic and screening modifications to the existing parking deck. The intersection of Peachtree and 3rd Street is poised to benefit from development activity on three of its four corners, and Carter’s project will have a significant impact on the street level experience on the east side of Peachtree.
Overall, the Committee was supportive of the plaza enhancements and opportunities for outdoor dining and attractively landscaped seating areas. The Committee encouraged the applicant to open up the street corner to create a more inviting path for pedestrians by removing a small portion of the existing granite wall on 3rd Street. Regarding upgrades to the parking garage, the committee also urged the applicant to include more comprehensive screening to shield neighboring residents from automobile headlights. The applicant is expected to submit revised plans to the DRC electronically prior to Special Administrative Permit (SAP) approval.
1470 Spring Street (Spring House) by SCAD - The Spring House is a multi-phased student housing project for the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus. This project includes phased demolition of the existing dormitory building currently used by the College and construction of a new 6-story, 113,000 square foot, 500-bed dormitory with surface parking, landscaping and site amenities.
The Committee asked the applicant to explore design alternatives on the ground floor façade that would differentiate the publicly accessible, street level retail from the residential located above it. As the future home of ShopSCAD and the college bookstore, this space could become a local attraction, and it would benefit from a façade treatment that highlights its unique retail offerings and reflects the design focus of the institution. 
The project includes an expansion site for a future phase, and this space will be programmed as a campus courtyard in the interim. Current plans propose a 10-foot high garden wall along the Spring Street frontage.  This approach does not comply with SPI-16 zoning regulations and the applicant was asked to rethink the wall in a manner that would be less imposing and more visually permeable. The Committee also noted that the wall presents an opportunity for a more creative approach reflective of SCAD’s influence in the visual arts.  The applicant will present revised plans at the November meeting.     
238 14th Street by Kim King Associates – This project consists of a new 8-story, 14-unit boutique condominium building located on the north side of 14th Street, two blocks west of Piedmont Park. All parking will be covered. The committee requested a more complete site plan that illustrates how the project fits within the context of the existing streetscape and aligns with the profile of adjacent buildings.  The applicant will follow up with the requested information electronically, at which point the committee will determine if a second review will be needed prior to SAP approval.
208 Twelfth Street by Elmhurst Capital – A new 4-story apartment building is proposed on the north side of 12th Street between Piedmont and Juniper.  This urban infill project includes 10 apartment units and a ground floor coffee shop with accessory parking located behind the building.  Given the tight dimensions of the site, the committee suggested modifying the site plan to address side yard setback requirements more effectively. The applicant will revise the site plan and resubmit for electronic review by the Committee. 
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, November 10th at 5:30 p.m.

 

November 2015

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Two major development projects returned on Tuesday night to the November DRC meeting. Discussions around the revised proposals centered on moving the needle in design quality, particularly regarding elements directly impacting the pedestrian experience. 
Hanover Midtown 
The Hanover Company returned to the committee for a second review of its proposal to redevelop a 1.3 acre site at Peachtree and 7th Streets, currently a surface parking lot. The development will be a mixed use project with 10,995 square feet of ground floor retail, 342 residential units, and 44,705 square feet of office space. Parking will be provided in a shared deck with access provided by curb cuts on Juniper Street and 7th Street. The committee commended the applicant for the quality of the design and the integrated building program, both of which are completely aligned with the vision and objectives of Blueprint Midtown. The rich palette of exterior building materials and the creative use of open space both for office tenants and residents differentiate this project from others in the Midtown market. 
Spring House (SCAD)
The first phase of this project will be the demolition of the existing 4-story former motel to make way for a new 6-story, 500 bed dormitory with 6,000 SF of retail, parking, and site amenities. The committee originally reviewed this project in October and encouraged the applicant to explore design alternatives on the ground floor façade that would differentiate the publicly accessible, street level retail from residential units and amenities located above it. Per the committee’s request, the applicant also presented revised plans for a temporary garden wall that wraps the expansion site for a future phase (an area that will be programmed in the interim as a campus courtyard with recreational amenities for the students). The original plans for a 10-foot high wall along the Spring Street frontage were replaced by a less imposing and more visually permeable 5-foot wall with views into the quad. The committee also recommended opening up the north corner of the Spring Street façade with added storefront glass to increase visibility and create a focal point for pedestrians and motorists traveling south on Spring Street. Overall the improvements were well received and the committee recommended support for the project.
Daniel Corp. Preview Gallery
The DRC provided feedback on two smaller projects. The first, presented by Daniel Corp., consists of a temporary preview gallery for their 60 Eleventh Street project, which is currently under construction with a target completion date of May 2016.  The preview gallery would be located  at 1125 Peachtree Street (between 12th & 13th Streets - the location of Food Truck Thursdays) and would offer prospective residents a way to experience the project and all its amenities. The preview gallery will not interfere with food truck parking or access, but Daniel Corp. and Midtown Alliance hope to temporarily transform this section of the surface lot into an amenity that can be shared with food truck visitors. The committee was supportive of the concept and commended the applicant for the creative approach to marketing their project while also activating the street life in Midtown. The preview gallery would be installed in March and remain on site for 90 days, pursuant to a temporary Special Administrative Permit (SAP).    
160 Ponce de Leon Avenue (BP Gas Station)
Lastly, the BP Gas Station located at 160 Ponce de Leon Avenue presented a proposal to remove the pumps and canopy on the Piedmont Road side and rearrange the remaining pumps on the Ponce de Leon frontage, while reducing the total number of pumps from six to four. This change is intended to improve the congestion on the lot and facilitate traffic movements to and from the property.  The committee was supportive of these plans, provided that the applicant complies with City’s Parking Lot Landscape Ordinance, which requires landscaping between the drive aisle and sidewalk. 
The next meeting will take place at 999 Peachtree Street in the 5th Floor Conference Center on Tuesday, December 8th at 5:30 p.m.