A new “Main Street” bordered by a bicycle trail is among the new details in the massive mixed-use redevelopment of Pill Hill’s Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion office park revealed at a March 22 community meeting.

A rendering of the Pavilion redevelopment as seen from Lake Hearn Drive, with the housing to the left and the hotel to the right, as presented at a March 22 community meeting. (Photo John Ruch)

The Buckhead-based Simpson Organization has big plans for the 20-acre site the intersection of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Lake Hearn Drive in Sandy Springs. They include a hotel and retail space; a 250-unit multifamily housing complex; an 8-story, 200,000-square-foot office building atop three levels of parking; a 6-level parking deck; and new restaurants around an existing pond—the “lake” of Lake Hearn Drive. Three of four existing office buildings on the site would remain and be renovated.

At the preliminary meeting, held at the Pavilion, project architect Bill Halter of the firm Cooper Carry showed “our big idea, the Main Street.” The new road would curve through the site, connecting Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Lake Hearn Drive through what is now a patchwork of parking lots. The current Peachtree-Dunwoody driveway would be moved about 120 feet north for the new road.

A site plan of the Pavilion redevelopment, presented at the meeting, showing the new “Main Street” through the center and the bike path running behind the housing at the right. (Photo John Ruch)

A paved bike trail would run partly alongside the road and partly behind the housing at the site’s rear. Halter said a “bike valet” for visitors is a possibility.

Halter said the plan would create a “village-like environment” and enhance access to the pond. Along Peachtree-Dunwoody, he said, “the idea is we’re getting a more urban edge” with some streetfront retail space and the hotel.

The plan includes indirect access to the adjacent Medical Center MARTA station. The developers were considering a possible pedestrian bridge, but Halter said the plan now is for access via the new parking garage with elevators that could carry bicycles. The access would not be directly into the station, but to an outdoor area near its entrance.

Boyd Simpson, president of the Simpson Organization, said after the meeting that he is close to a deal with a hotel chain, but cannot reveal who it is yet. “It’s a well-known national or international brand,” he said, adding that it would include some extended-stay rooms meant for the market of people visiting Pill Hill hospitals.

A rendering, presented at the community meeting, of what Lake Hearn might look like after the Pavilion redevelopment. (Photo John Ruch)

The developer is still seeking a partner for the multifamily housing portion and no decision has been made on whether they would be rentals or ownership units, Simpson said.

Only about a half-dozen community members attended the meeting. Sheila Koestner, facilities manager for CGI Technologies and Solutions, a current Pavilion tenant, said she likes the plan even though she expects rents to rise.

“I love it,” she said. “It may mean that we may have to look somewhere else…but it’s about time they do something. It’s a great location.”

Trisha Thompson, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, said it’s good that the project includes much less density than allowed under its zoning. But, she added, “connectivity” and Peachtree-Dunwoody traffic increases will be a concern. A traffic study is still pending and project officials said a widening of Lake Hearn Drive at Peachtree-Dunwoody is a possibility.

Lake Hearn as it looks today from Lake Hearn Drive. (Photo John Ruch)

“It’s nice that it’s a downsizing,” Thompson said. “It’s nice that it’s a mix [of uses]. It’s nice that it’s going to be bringing retail and restaurants into this area, which is very needed.”

With the developers intending to give the pond more public exposure, Simpson talked about its origin. “A point of historical interest—the lake is here because when the property was first developed in the 1960s, there was an active spring on the west side of the lake,” he said, explaining that the pond was created to hold its outflow. “The spring is not nearly as active as it once was.”

The developer is seeking rezoning to allow the mixed use and a use permit for increased building height. The project is in an early stage and has not been formally filed with the city yet. If the project is approved, the earliest construction start would be late this year, Simpson said. He estimated the new road and parking garage would take about a year to build, with the hotel and multifamily portions taking another 18 to 24 months.

The Simpson Organization owns many prominent local commercial properties, including the office park where Sandy Springs City Hall rents space and Dunwoody’s Sterling Pointe office complex where Mercedes-Benz USA is temporarily headquartered. Simpson said he is considering a mixed-use redevelopment of the buildings where his own company is headquartered at 1389, 1401 and 1409 Peachtree Street N.E.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

2 replies on “A new ‘Main Street’ is part of Pill Hill mixed-use plan”

  1. More excess density and over-urbanization in a beautiful suburban city that really has the feel of a town but will sadly resemble Midtown after City council continues to approve that which they fought against for 30 years prior to being incorporated, namely apts. Except this version of density and apts is not like your father’s – this is high-rise on small plots of land with a multi-story garage putting too many folks in too small of an area. A victory for those who think every sq inch of land should be developed and love urbanization. A loss for 99% of residents who chose a suburban oasis and heped maintain it only to see it slowy slide away with excess traffic to arrive soon. West Nacy Creek Dr neighborhood has become bumper to bumper traffic. It will get worse there and everywhere.

  2. I disagree completely. Note that the developer is planning less density than what is allowed. And what a great thing to have a major hotel and apartments in the area of the hospitals. This might actually reduce traffic with the availability of housing to hospital personnel and convenience of hotel space for out of town folks using the hospitals. If you’re not for quality continued development in Atlanta, suggest you move to a slower paced city.

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