A Texas-based developer says it is considering cutting its proposed office tower at Northpark 100 to 42 stories, from the 50 stories originally planned.

To address residents’ concerns about a project they say would bring too much traffic to the area, real estate developer Hines has asked for more time to work on plans for Northpark 100 to make the proposed mixed-use development less dense.

The Sandy Springs City Council voted to delay consideration of the project for 30 days. In addition to the 50-story office tower, the original proposal included 500 apartments, hotel and retail space. The new proposal could decrease the office tower to 42 stories and the apartments to 325 units.

“What we’ve looked at and really challenged ourselves with is [maintaining] viability for our development and maintaining the quality characteristics of our conceptual plan” while driving projected traffic generation closer to what the existing zoning would produce, said Mark Ferris, a managing director at Hines.

The company has requested a zoning change for 14.3 acres of land at Peachtree Dunwoody, Abernathy and Mount Vernon roads from office to mixed use, which would allow for the apartments, as well as a use permit for the office tower to exceed maximum height requirements.

In July, the council deferred a vote on the project for 60 days to study traffic in the area. City staff members and the city Planning Commission have recommended the council approve the Northpark project with some conditions, saying it fit into Sandy Springs’ Comprehensive Plan and Live Work Regional district.

Critics have said a 50-story office tower would be the tallest in the area and would change the city’s landscape. They say the project would bring too much traffic to an already-congested area.

Ferris said he requested the deferral so that city staff could analyze the new proposal, which also reduces office space by 150,000 square feet and retail by 50,000 square feet.

“We think we’ve made significant improvements and are very close” to a solution,” Ferris said, adding that the company is still willing to make road infrastructure improvements that it had previously proposed.

Those improvements include a northbound and additional southbound turning lanes on Peachtree Dunwoody, dual eastbound turning lanes on Mount Vernon, restriping the Mount Vernon bridge for two westbound lanes, constructing a dedicated westbound right turn lane on Mount Vernon, a left turn eastbound lane on Mount Vernon, pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes.

Councilman Gabriel Sterling, who represents District 4, where the project is located, made the motion to defer the vote.

“I think we want to see mixed use and good quality mixed use,” he said. “We gave the 60-day deferral so that we could get a handle on traffic [in the area].” But, he expressed frustration that a new proposal had not been worked on earlier.

Councilman John Paulson said he liked the idea of mixed-use projects in the area, and that the Northpark project would change office space to a place where people could both live and work. It’s a “great direction for this property,” he said.

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In other business, the council granted a 60-day deferral to a proposed development at Franklin and Roswell roads that would replace the Park 225 apartments.

The delay will allow The Providence Group to continue working with neighbors to address concerns that the project is too dense.

On Aug. 21, the city’s Planning Commission recommended the deferral, stating that while redeveloping the property is needed, the proposed density is too high.

The developers have requested rezoning the property to allow a mix of townhomes and apartments as well as a permit to exceed the height allowance.

“We are in support of the deferral,” said resident John Stembridge, who was speaking to the council on behalf of the Westfield Park neighborhood, next to the site. He said neighbors think the development as proposed would destroy the character of the area. But, he said that talks with the developers were going in the right direction. “We did feel like there was positive momentum from the developer,” he said. “They did propose some revisions.”

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.

2 replies on “Developer may cut height of Northpark project”

  1. Is the Sandy Springs council INSANE?!!! Have any of them been on or even near the Peachtree Dunwoody/Mount Vernon/Abernathy area during any rush hour period? Even non rush hour periods are horrible. I live on off of Peachtree Dunwoody and it can take 30 minutes or more just to go from the North Springs MARTA Station to Abernathy just during the lunch time rush. Evening rush hour? Forget it. You have ALL of the Dunwoody business district trying to get to 400 and those of us who live in the area have learned, DON’T go out between 4pm and 7pm unless you absolutely must. You will sit and sit and sit while all the loony tunes clog the intersections.

    The Peachtree Dunwoody corridor, especially from Abernathy to Spaulding, already has more residential housing that it can support and more is already being built. The Sandy Springs government uses that area as it’s money maker so it doesn’t have to impede on the life style of those residents on the north west side of river. There are massive amounts of open land in that area and plenty of room for road expansion. There is NOT room for any further large development adding to the traffic nightmares of the Peachtree Dunwoody/Abernathy area.

    Sandy Springs council spread the tax base and the city’s growth to areas that are NOT already so congested!

  2. What commercial tenant would want to rent space where the only egress is a bunch of short-access left turns?

    The traffic is bad enough already for us people who are just passing through.

    The traffic will be much worse for those poor souls whose employers choose to locate there and have to make left turns 3 times to get onto 400.

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