Buckhead residents are opposing a proposed development near the Lindbergh MARTA station, saying the plan isn’t “urban” enough.
Sally Silver, chairwoman of Neighborhood Planning Unit-B, said Fuqua Development Co.’s plans for a mixed-use development failed to provide the kind of multi-story, urban development residents envision for the area. She said Fuqua apparently doesn’t understand residents’ concerns over the project or the city’s master plan for the area.
“We’ve been trying to stress to [Fuqua] that the city has proposed this area to be developed as a transit-oriented development,” says Silver. “We’re trying to get people out of their cars.”
But developer Jeff Fuqua said he believed his proposal met city requirements for the area.
“It is a very urban, dense plan that includes 240 residential units, 180,000 square feet of retail and a three-acre-park, which I think would be the largest park in the district,” he said of the proposed development.
Members of NPU-B voted against the proposed plan at the neighborhood group’s July 2 meeting.
Fuqua said his company will continue to try to work with residents on a plan that will please everyone involved, but disagrees that the current plan is not right for the area.
“We’re not really sure what they want,” Fuqua said by phone of the NPU’s refusal to back the development. “We’ve made scores and scores of changes to accommodate their requests, at the cost of millions of dollars.”
The proposed project would cover land along Morosgo, Lindbergh and Adina drives. The property now is a vacant lot and apartments. Sembler Co. first sought to have the area rezoned for commercial use more than a year ago. Then Sembler president, Jeff Fuqua, split with the company in March 2012 to begin Fuqua Development, which has continued to pursue development on the partially vacant parcel of land.
Silver specifies that the ideal sort of urban mixed-use development envisioned for the area is multi-story construction with street-level commercial space beneath dense residential space, similar to other new developments along Piedmont Road. The plans provided by Fuqua, she says, have been for one-story commercial space and huge swaths of surface parking, with the exception of a single parking deck.
“Each time we have met with them, they’ve tweaked one or two things, but missed the point,” Silver said. “They continue to move the pieces around but it’s always the same pieces.”
The current plans call for a 150,000-foot “anchor” commercial space, which would presumably be home to a major “big box” retailer, along with surface parking would account for more than half of the development’s footprint.
Silver describes it as the kind of development that is better suited for suburban areas. She said neighbors would be receptive to a big-box store, if it were done as a multi-story space to reduce the footprint for the same amount of retail space.
“We don’t care if it’s a Walmart, or a Target or a Macy’s, as long as it’s done in an urban manner,” she said.