Drive through Brookhaven and you’re likely to notice a lot of construction.
New apartment buildings, new homes and even a new hotel are all coming to Brookhaven.
“We’ve been busy,” said Kevin McOmber with Brookhaven’s Community Development Department.
McOmber said as of March 19, 426 projects had been submitted to the city for permitting. So far, 253 have been issued building permits.
Of that number, 27 applications are for commercial projects, he said.
“There’s a lot of residential. That’s been the primary activity we’ve seen,” McOmber said.
Much the residential construction is remodeling and renovation of existing homes, he said.
“Homeowners are making improvements to property they already own,” he said.
There is also a lot of infill development in established neighborhoods, where “smaller homes are being replaced with newer, often larger homes,” McOmber said.
The city is also seeing some new subdivisions, or renewed activity in the development of subdivisions started years ago that were stalled during the recession.
Brookhaven also is taking over some projects from DeKalb County, such as the Hyatt hotel under construction at Villa Christina. DeKalb issued the foundation and land disturbance permits for the hotel, but Brookhaven will issue the building permit and conduct inspections.
“They’re putting in the foundations for the buildings now and we’ll start going vertical very soon,” McOmber said.
Brookhaven officials implemented a development moratorium when the city was first starting up to allow time to establish a community development department.
Once the moratorium ended, there were a lot of projects waiting to get started, McOmber said.
“We’ve certainly been more busy than we anticipated,” McOmber said. “That anticipation was based on what DeKalb County was experiencing in the boundary that is now the city of Brookhaven. There was historical information from 2011 and 2012.”
McOmber thinks Brookhaven is part of an improving housing market in metro Atlanta.
“I can tell you for the region, activity does seem to be trending upward,” McOmber said. “The region is seeing a bit of an upswing.”
Mikel Muffley, of real estate firm Muffley & Associates, said there’s a lot of demand for new homes in Brookhaven.
“We probably built in the Brookhaven and Ashford Park area 25 homes last year and we’re projected to do more than that,” Muffley said. “People just want new.”
Muffley said people are very drawn to Brookhaven’s central location, especially the neighborhoods around the Village Place development on Dresden Drive.
“Ashford Park is definitely one of the big hotbeds,” Muffley said. “That area has become the new Virginia-Highland. People are attracted to live-walk environments.”
He thinks the new apartment developments will also be a benefit for the area.
“That creates a buyer base for those businesses and keeps them alive, and that’s good for everyone,” Muffley said.
Muffley said though people are interested in new houses, they are building more modest homes with higher quality materials than they were before the recession.
“It’s not about lots of rooms,” he said. “People are being smarter about what they’re doing.”