Midtown Development Review Committee: October 2015

Four New Projects Come Through October DRC 

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.