By John Schaffner
The Cathedral of Christ the King has developed a 20-year conceptual plan for its campus at the corner of Peachtree and East Wesley roads that would expand green space, improve traffic flow, add a multipurpose community building and renovate buildings.
Although the plan was formally developed in the past year, it is the outgrowth of efforts over a decade, according to a newsletter sent to parishioners and residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the cathedral, which is at 2699 Peachtree Road NE.
The mailing says several hundred people, including neighbors, helped develop the plan. It focuses on:
• Expanding green space in the form of a courtyard park and other landscaping to add to the attractiveness of the campus and provide environmental benefits to the neighborhood.
• Improving traffic flow and a low-profile parking deck extension to alleviate overflow and congestion from Sunday services and daily carpool lines.
• Renovating campus buildings including the Hyland Center, the Parish Center and the school.
• Adding a multipurpose facility, the Commons Building, along East Wesley west of the gym. It will serve the parish, the school and the community. The upper level will offer flexible space. The middle school will occupy the lower level.
Bob Connelly, a longtime parishioner and local builder and remodeler, co-chairs the planning committee with Steve Callaghan, another longtime parishioner. Architectural firm Surber, Barber, Choate and Hertlein was chosen to develop the plan, and engineering firm Kimley-Horn is providing guidance in traffic engineering.
The plan will require a special use permit from the city and will first be considered by Neighborhood Planning Unit B, which meets monthly at the cathedral’s Hyland Center. The church has hired real estate lawyer Carl Westmoreland to assist with that process.
Connelly said the church is about to file for the special use permit and has received a letter of support from the Garden Hills neighborhood. He said negotiations continue involving Peachtree Heights East.
The church leadership says it “has deemed it imperative” to engage the neighborhood in the plan from the onset and has made changes based on neighbor feedback after frequent meetings over more than a year.
No property would be acquired east of 66 Peachtree Way. But the plan calls for replacing “several rental properties abutting the campus on East Wesley and Peachtree Way.”
Connelly said the archdiocese cannot purchase property for the expansion until the use permit has been obtained and a plan for the property approved. So a group of “friends of the church” put the properties under contract.
Connelly said he does not expect any groundbreakings in the next couple of years. The first projects likely would be the Commons Building and the courtyard park.
He added, “There will have to be a major capital fundraising campaign.”