A developer hoping to avoid the controversy of past rezoning requests to build apartments in Brookhaven’s Lenox Park on the Buckhead border is proposing to build 62 for-sale townhomes it says would be the “best fit” for the currently vacant property.
Atlanta-based Minerva Homes seeks to rezoning the approximately 5-acre grassy field at 1035-1065 Lenox Park Blvd. from “office institutional” to a residential townhouse district. The developer was scheduled to go before the Brookhaven Planning Commission on April 1.
The developer’s application, filed with the city in February, notes that past attempts to build apartments on the site have failed due to community backlash.
“The site has been zoned for 6-8 story office buildings for almost 20 years, and those plans have failed to materialize,” the developer said in the application. “Of the other potential uses, the community has been strongly opposed to rental units. We feel townhomes are the best fit and are a perfect balance between the nearby residential uses and the dense commercial uses.”
In a letter to the city, representatives from the developer said they held meetings with a group of homeowners and leaders from nearby neighborhoods and “have received feedback that our proposed high-quality for-sale townhomes will be a welcome addition to the community.”
The property is owned by AT&T, which has not been able to find a developer to build anything other than residential on the site. Two previous attempts by different developers to build apartments on the site were soundly rejected following organized opposition by single-family homeowners in the area. The homeowners said apartments would increase traffic and their property values would sink if the city approved them.
The Planning Commission rejected last year recommending approval of a 199-unit apartment building for those 55 and older after the developer sought a waiver to the city’s workforce housing mandate. The city requires new apartments to include at least 10% of their units as workforce housing. The developer withdrew its rezoning request after learning it would not receive the waiver.
In 2017, another developer withdrew its $65 million plans to build more than 200 apartments on the site following community backlash.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the number of townhomes in the proposal.