A plan to expand the parking garage at Buckhead’s Capital City Plaza skyscraper includes topping it with a park open to the public, with connections to the proposed HUB404 green space and another yet-to-be-built tower in the rear.
Cousins Properties showed the plan for the 3350 Peachtree Road skyscraper Oct. 7 to the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 12, a local zoning district. DRC member Sally Silver called it a “vast improvement… Keep buying up those old places and make them new again. We love it.”
However, she raised one point that DRC members said will need research: whether the plan to cease using some surface parking spaces in an adjacent lot at 3354 Peachtree could remove that lot’s grandfathered status under zoning and render it illegal.
For Cousins, the project and its connections to other potential improvements are ways to put a fresh shine on a 30-year-old tower that, according to Executive Vice President John McColl, just lost the major tenant Anthem to Midtown office space.
The plan involves expanding the tower’s current parking garage roughly 120 feet to the rear, increasing its spaces from 663 to 1,004. Cousins plans to cease using 431 spaces in 3354 Peachtree lot, which it co-owns with Regent Partners; because that is a separate property, it cannot be considered a net decrease in parking for zoning purposes, project engineer Charles Zakem said. Under zoning, Zakem said, the project could have a maximum of 1,133 parking spaces of all types.
Atop the expanded parking garage would be a park depicted in conceptual illustrations as having lawns, plantings and winding paths. Also planned are a cafe or bistro with restrooms. The park and those amenities would be privately owned but open to public access.
The project is intended to tie into the proposed neighboring developments. The 3350 Peachtree tower sits right next to Ga. 400 and the Buckhead MARTA Station. Thus, it is also next door to the site of HUB404, a plan for a park capping Ga. 400 between Lenox and Peachtree roads; fundraising for that plan is currently dormant amid the pandemic. And the 3354 Peachtree parking lot is where Regents and other partners have have proposed a roughly 40-story, mixed-use tower, also with a HUB404 connection.
Zakem said the 3350 Peachtree plan includes a spot where a fence could be removed to create HUB404 access. An “art installation” could be placed there to draw attention to people using the park, he said.
The park space could connect with open space at the future skyscraper, and the garage also could tie into that project for shared use by removing “kick-out panels” in its wall, McColl said. A more cumbersome feature in the meantime would be a large staircase rising up the parking garage wall from the surface lot.
The plan also involves improving the driveway at Peachtree for better pedestrian and vehicle access, while installing utility ducts that could be used by the future skyscraper as well, the Cousins team said.
The project does not need zoning variances, according to Cousins and an Atlanta Department of City Planning official.
Earlier this year, Cousins undertook another green-space-oriented remake of another major local property, the Buckhead Plaza complex at Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads.