A megadevelopment including four towers and hailed as the “gateway” to Dunwoody was pulled from the City Council agenda May 23 when representatives for the developers said they were uncertain their rezoning request would be approved.
The Crown Towers mixed-use development that would include a 35-story residential tower and 29-story hotel for a total of 380 residential units and 150 hotel rooms at the former Gold Kist site will now go back to the drawing board.
“We didn’t know what the council might do so we had to withdraw,” said rezoning attorney Doug Dillard. “We’re very disappointed.”
Charlie Brown, consultant with Crown Holdings Group, developers of the project, said it was surprising when the council did not vote two weeks ago on the project. The council deferred second and final reading of the residential rezoning request and also a Special Land Use Permit request that would allow for the two highrises.
“We’re going to work on [the project] and come back,” Brown said. When the project would be presented again to the council was unknown, Dillard said.
Dillard said the project was also withdrawn so as to not put at risk the current zoning of the property that allows for 2.5 million square feet of business development, a performance center and a hotel.
“We couldn’t jeopardize what we already got,” he said.
Dillard and Brown said they hope they can work with the council to understand what members want and also to hopefully better “communicate all the assets” of the proposed development.
“It’s a nice piece of property and a terrific gateway for Dunwoody,” Brown said.
Had the vote moved forward and the rezoning request been denied, the property would have been forced to sit unused for two years, Brown said.
Dillard told council members he hoped he and the developers could meet with the council in the future to discuss the project.
“This has been a 2-year project and we have got thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars invested,” he said. “We don’t intend to walk away from that.”
At the May 9 meeting, several snags developed causing the delay of the vote, including the question of the donation of 2 acres of the former Gold Kist site for right-of-way for a proposed Westside Connector.
There have been ongoing disagreements with developers and city staff about how many of the residential units are to be owner-occupied and how many are to be rental.
The developers said to make the project economically feasible, the ratio needed to be 50 percent rental and 50 percent owner-occupied, with the owner occupancy rate becoming 75 percent after five years. City staff was recommending 75 percent owner-occupied and 25 percent rental while Mayor Denis Shortal has publicly stated he supports 90 percent owner-occupied. Shortal declined to comment on any specifics of the project after Monday’s council meeting.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association entered into a contract with the developers for a $760,000 “voluntary impact fee” – or $2,000 per condo unit – to be paid to the city for park space in the Perimeter Center as part of DHA agreeing to support the development with 50 percent owner-occupied and 50-percent rental with the number of owner-occupied jumping to 75 percent after five years.
However, at the May 9 meeting, the city’s attorney said there is no way for the city to legally accept the money because developers cannot pay for a rezoning request.