Three properties at Peachtree and Roxboro roads are being sold in a “once in a generation” offering that could bring another landmark luxury tower to Buckhead. But the existing BP gas station on the corner is among the commercial and residential tenants uncertain or unhappy about being swept up in another old neighborhood’s rapid redevelopment.

“That’s a legacy corner,” said Steve Massell of Lee & Associates, the broker who worked to assemble the gas station, the Roxboro Apartments and the House at Phipps condos for the sale. “I’m confident it will sell to a great user that will deliver a great addition to Buckhead.”

The BP gas and service station at the corner of Peachtree and Roxboro roads. (Google Earth image)

Massell said he hopes to have all or some of the properties under agreement by the end of September. “I’m getting very strong interest,” he said, “from luxury hotel developers, luxury residential condo developers, office users who would like to put a headquarters there, apartment developers, and some senior living developers.”

Reaction from the site’s current residents varies widely. Most of the condo owners have agreed to sell, one of them said. But a manager at BP who asked to remain anonymous said the station is not happy at possibly being displaced after 35 years.

“To me, Atlanta doesn’t have that small-town feel anymore,” the manager said of redevelopment that has replaced most of the area’s gas stations with towers and malls. The station leases the land, which is owned by a separate limited liability company; another LLC owns the apartments.

Luxurious redevelopment has moved ever closer to the southeast corner of the Peachtree and Roxboro intersection. The BP is catty-corner to 3630 Peachtree, a 40-story glass tower built in 2009. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan reportedly owns a condo in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, which occupies upper levels of the tower.

A map of the three parcels offered for sale at Peachtree and Roxboro roads, as seen in Lee & Associates’ marketing materials.

Steve Massell is a former Buckhead Business Association president and the son of former Mayor Sam Massell, who now heads the Buckhead Coalition. With his perspective, Steve Massell says such redevelopment of Buckhead’s older sections is inevitable in the current market. “It’s an evolution of highest and best use,” he said.

“Once in a generation, a piece of land so special surfaces that it is impossible to ignore,” reads the Lee & Associates marketing flyer for the Peachtree-Roxboro offering, which amounts to about 2 acres. The flyer notes the location on “world-famous Peachtree Road” and cites the area’s “highest demographics and luxury market potential in the entire city of Atlanta.”

Massell emphasized the flexibility in the offering, which is for any or all of the properties. He also said that displacing the gas station or apartment tenants is not a required part of any sale. For example, he said, a “savvy investor” might find a way to keep the gas station while using its air rights to build elsewhere on the site.

The Roxboro Apartments at 3607 Roxboro Road, with the House at Phipps condos behind it. (Photo John Ruch)

At the Roxboro Apartments, a 12-unit, 50-year-old building at 3607 Roxboro, a new sign out front advertises units for rent. Horace Johnson, a tenant there since 2003, said he’d heard word from neighboring House at Phipps residents about the property sale. He was heading to the management office for more details and to consider extending his lease for protection.

Meanwhile, Stephen Bush, who just moved into the apartments in March, said, “I was not aware that the property was being sold…I didn’t hear anything.”

At the House at Phipps condos at 3645 Peachtree, a resident who declined to give his name said that 39 of 40 unit owners have agreed to sales terms. Massell declined to comment directly on talks with condo residents, but said, “Every owner of the House at Phipps condos is receiving the same amount of money for the same size unit as their neighbor.”

The owner who spoke about the deal said he’s happy with the offer for his unit.

“I think most of the people would like to stay in the area,” he said, but added that it is time to redevelop the older building.

John Ruch

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

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