ARC hands possible Walmart project in Buckhead to Atlanta; suggests other uses for the 18-acre site

By David Pendered

The fate of a proposed 18-acre retail/residential project in Buckhead near the Lindbergh MARTA station, possibly including a Walmart, is now completely in the hands of the city of Atlanta.

Lindbergh project

This is the site plan of a proposed retail/residential center in Buckhead. Credit: Fuqua Development, David Pendered

The project has been moving in fits and starts through the various review processes for about a year. The Atlanta Regional Commission handed the project to Mayor Kasim Reed in an Aug. 28 letter that said the ARC doesn’t have purview: The project isn’t big enough to qualify as a “development of regional impact.”

The development is proposed by a duo that has retooled the face of several urban neighborhoods – Sembler Co. and Jeff Fuqua. The total square footage being proposed, 400,000 square feet, is roughly a third the size of Lenox Square.

In the past decade, Sembler and Fuqua produced game-changing projects including the former Lindbergh Plaza in Buckhead; Little Five Points’ Edgewood Retail District; the Prado in Sandy Springs; and TOWN Brookhaven. Sembler also developed Perimeter Place, north of Perimeter Mall.

Regional planners are well familiar with the Sembler/Fuqua development model and have suggested some significant alterations in the current proposal.

The main suggestion is to not build a retail center.

According to the ARC’s analysis that was sent to the mayor:

  • “The ideal development on this site would include additional residential and office uses. If the developer is not able to or interested in providing additional density on this site at this time, the development proposal should be structured in a way as to allow incremental increases in density in the future.”
Lindbergh area

The proposed development would be built across Piedmont Road from MARTA’s Lindbergh Station. Credit: Mapquest, David Pendered

MARTA raised concerns that range from a potential loss of riders to the prospect of shopping carts being taken from the shopping center to the transit station and abandoned.

The Atlanta chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism wrote a letter against the project. The letter cites Atlanta’s 40-year effort to foster walkable, mixed-use neighborhood and says the project defies that effort:

  • “We believe the Lindbergh proposal would represent a step backwards if approved. While the proposed site plan is clearly not consistent with any recognized principles of good urban design or transit oriented development (including those established by the Congress for the New Urbanism), we recognize that design specifics are always subject to change as projects move forward. What concerns us more is the precedent that this disregard for the sound planning would represent.”

The Atlanta City Council has been poised for a few months to vote on a rezoning application and a related change in the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan. The matter was expected to have come up for a vote at the council’s Sept. 4 meeting, according to some documents, but it wasn’t called for a vote.

The development site is located across Piedmont Road from the Lindbergh City Center project, which is a transit oriented development at MARTA’s Lindbergh Station. Another reference point is that it is immediately south of the Home Depot and Target section of Lindbergh Plaza, which Sembler demolished, rebuilt and reopened in 2006.

The proposed development would provide 216,399 square feet of residential space and 183,600 square feet of retail space. There also would be a three-acre park, which was endorsed by Livable Buckhead in the package the ARC sent to the mayor’s office.

The big box tenant would have 150,000 square feet, about the size of the Walmart in the Selig Enterprises project located at the corner of I-75 and Howell Mill Road.

Walmart is widely rumored to be the major tenant of the Buckhead project. The company did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

Walmart has been on a roll the past year, with its stock price climbing from just above $49 a share a year ago to just over $75 on Monday. Part of the growth stems from the company’s focus on opening in cities because it has exhausted opportunities in rural and suburban markets, according to the company.

The mayor has made glowing remarks about the company’s investment in Atlanta. At a groundbreaking ceremony this year for a store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Reed noted that Walmart is strengthening the community through its investment in a shopping center that Publix left – Historic Westside Village.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

9 replies
  1. Henry Batten says:

    Regardless of the fits and starts, this project is suddenly being rushed through two committees and Council. This whole process smells worse than rotting fish. There is a tremendous amount of public opposition, so who is greasing this process?Report

    Reply
    • Catherine Owen says:

       @Henry Batten If this development goes forward and the SPI is completely thrown out the window, then no neighborhood can feel that it’s zoning is protected. What’s the point of engaging citizens in a zoning overlay if the city is willing to sell them out to the first developer that comes along, regardless of the fact that the project brings no value to the neighborhoods surrounding it and will most likely have a detrimental impact?
       
      Wonder what made the city change it’s tune about this? Hmm.Report

      Reply
  2. rguinn says:

    Traffic around the Piedmont and Lindberg is intersection is already a major “clogged artery” during most of the day. Drop in a 150,000 SF, surface parking, big box retailer and you will have the making of a major traffic “heart attack”…a real killer!Report

    Reply
    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

       @rguinn
       Like realistic traffic considerations have ever stopped any well-connected developer from (over-) building anything in Metro Atlanta in the past.
       
      We live in a town where pleas of “that piece of overdevelopment will create too much traffic” always seem to fall on deaf ears, no matter how correct those pleas are (which they always are). Report

      Reply
  3. local says:

    One thing of note:  The developer was clearly interested in avoiding a DRI review, which it likely could not pass.  The minimum threshold for a DRI is 400,000 sf.  If you add the residential and retail components above you get 399,999 sf.  Hardly unintentional.  Report

    Reply
  4. sgestates says:

    SG Estates Limited – Residential Apartments, Office Space in Vasundhara, Residential Flats in Ghaziabad
    SG Estates Ltd. was incorporated in the year 1986 under the aegis of its Managing Director Mr. Subhash Gupta. It’s most important resource i.e. Human Resource comprises of highly qualified, young, dynamic, creative professionals with extraordinary business acumen and insatiable thirst to work with passion.
    Keywords-> Residential Projects, Residential Projects in raj Nagar, Residential Projects in Raj Nagar Extension, and commercial Projects in Vasundhara
     
    SG ESTATES LTD 105-106, Deepshikha Tower, Rajendera Place, New Delhi-110008
    Telephone: 011-42323230 (Hunting Lines)
    Fax: 011-42323244
    Email: [email protected]
    [email protected] 9999008503
    http://www.sgestates.in/
     Report

    Reply
  5. sgestates says:

    SG Estates Limited – Residential Apartments, Office Space in Vasundhara, Residential Flats in Ghaziabad
    SG Homes, SG Impressions 58 Phase-2, Ivory Tower, SG Impressions 58. SG Impressions Plus, SG Beta Tower, SG Alpha Tower, SG Residency, SG Centuary Plazaa, SG Centuary Plazaa, Maa Shakti Apartments
    SG Estates Ltd. was incorporated in the year 1986 under the aegis of its Managing Director Mr. Subhash Gupta. It’s most important resource i.e. Human Resource comprises of highly qualified, young, dynamic, creative professionals with extraordinary business acumen and insatiable thirst to work with passion.
     
    Keywords :-> residential apartments in vasundhara, residential apartments in noida, residential apartments in indirapuram, residential apartments in Raj Nagar extn, residential apartments in Ghaziabad, residential apartments in Delhi.
     
    Contact Us
    SG ESTATES LTD 105-106, Deepshikha Tower, Rajendera Place, New Delhi-110008
    Telephone: 011-42323230 (Hunting Lines)
    Fax: 011-42323244
    Email: [email protected]
    [email protected] 9999008503
    http://www.sgestates.in/
     Report

    Reply
  6. sgestates says:

    SG Estates Limited – Residential Apartments, Office Space in Vasundhara, Residential Flats in Ghaziabad SG Estates Ltd. was incorporated in the year 1986 under the aegis of its Managing Director Mr. Subhash Gupta. It’s most important resource i.e. Human Resource comprises of highly qualified, young, dynamic, creative professionals with extraordinary business acumen and insatiable thirst to work with passion. Keywords-> Residential Projects, Residential Projects in raj Nagar, Residential Projects in Raj Nagar Extension, and commercial Projects in Vasundhara SG ESTATES LTD 105-106, Deepshikha Tower, Rajendera Place, New Delhi-110008 Telephone: 011-42323230 (Hunting Lines) Fax: 011-42323244 Email: [email protected] [email protected] 9999008503 http://www.sgestates.in/Report

    Reply
  7. MikeMorgan1 says:

    It should be assured that the development of this land is something other than a giant single use super somethingmart. This land should have real usable urban space, with good bike and ped access to the station, and it should be dedicated to residential mixed use. Another sprawling big box with a giant parking lot next to the transit oriented developments that are coming in around the station will stall the overall redevelopment of the area, it will put a massive barrier in the way of access to the station, and could fatally damage many of the small street level businesses in the surrounding mixed use developments.
     
    The City and the surrounding property owners should be doing everything in their power to set up these transit accessible areas to take advantage of the urban development potential of land within an easy walking distance of the stations, and not allow more barriers than now exist. As the residential markets come back this area could continue to be a very desireable place to live, unless it is subverted to a more suburban, auto dependent sprawl.Report

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.