BeltLine a player in dense projects near Piedmont, Fourth Ward parks

By David Pendered

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with information from Atlanta BeltLine and includes a comment from the developer of a potential project near Historic Fourth Ward Park.

The Atlanta BeltLine has a hand in two projects that could add 22-story structures next to the Historic Fourth Ward Park, and eight-story apartment buildings a half-mile north of Piedmont Park.

The Atlanta BeltLine has sold development rights that may be used to build 180 apartments and other structures along Piedmont Road near Fat Matt's Rib Shack. Credit: ohmyomiyage.wordpress.com

The Atlanta BeltLine has sold development rights that may be used to build 180 apartments and other structures along Piedmont Road near Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Credit: ohmyomiyage.wordpress.com

At Historic Fourth Ward Park, the BeltLine is seeking to rezone land to a classification that allows buildings up to 225 feet high. The site includes the Masquerade nightclub, located in a stone structure built in 1900.

The planned development is a five-story structure.

Near Piedmont Park, a developer is seeking permission to use development rights it purchased in January from the BeltLine. The additional density would allow 180 apartments, parking deck, and a building to be built along Piedmont Road near Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. A related rezoning request would authorize a height of up eight stories.

The BeltLine is not involved in the proposed development because it terminated its interest in the development rights when they were transferred to the new owner.

The two main proposals were presented Monday to the Atlanta City Council.

The council could vote on the requests before the end of the year. However, such a schedule is ambitious, given that the council is slated to meet just twice before beginning winter recess on Dec. 15.

The BeltLine is the sole applicant on the rezoning request for 3.3 acres that’s adjacent to Historic Fourth Ward Park. The addresses are 670 Dallas Street and 695 North Avenue. The property has 243 feet on the southeast side of North Avenue, across from Ponce City Market.

The request involves three parcels: Two parcels that total 2.1 acres, and involve the Masquerade nightclub and surrounding property; and about 1.1 acres that’s owned by the BeltLine or Invest Atlanta – the city’s development arm that oversees the BeltLine and is chaired by Mayor Kasim Reed.

The site of the Masquerade nightclub could be developed with 22-story buildings, under a rezoning application submitted by the Atlanta BeltLine. Credit: atlantavampirealliance.com

The site surrounding the Masquerade nightclub could be developed with 22-story buildings, under a rezoning application submitted by the Atlanta BeltLine. Credit: atlantavampirealliance.com

Invest Atlanta put its parcel out for sale in April but remains the owner. The owner of the other property is Poncey Highlands Investors 1, LLC.

The Masquade and its site once was owned by Dean Rioppole, who died in Milton of a heroin overdose last year while seeing a prostitute now charged in the heroin-related death of Google executive Forrest Hayes. The woman, Alix Tichelman, entered a not guilty plea in the death of Hayes, according to latimes.com.

The Georgia Secretary of State has no information about the owners of Poncey Highlands Investors 1, LLC, which was incorporated in 2005.

The BeltLine has asked the city to change the zoning from PD-MU to MRC-3. Here are highlights from the city code about the two categories:

Planned development-mixed use (height limit not mentioned):

  • “PD-MU development shall be in complexes within which mutually supporting residential, commercial and office uses are scaled, balanced and located so as to reduce general traffic congestion by providing housing close to principal destinations, and where convenient pedestrian circulation systems and mass transit facilities further reduce the need for private automobiles.”

Permitted uses include residential and business uses including banks, shops, bars and restaurants, pool halls, and dry cleaners.

Mixed residential commercial, category 3 (height limit 225 feet):

  • Development rights that were transferred from the site of Amli Ponce Park could be used to develop 180 apartments and other structures along Piedmont Road north of Piedmont Park. Credit: amli.com

    Development rights that were transferred from the site of Amli Ponce Park could be used to develop 180 apartments and other structures along Piedmont Road north of Piedmont Park. Credit: amli.com

    “The city finds that highway-oriented retail, service, office and dining uses which are intended to serve larger areas of the city instead of a single neighborhood or small group of neighborhoods must be located on streets that are suited for this type of development and must be done in a manner which is compatible with the adjacent neighborhoods or group of neighborhoods.”

Bike/moped parking must be provided at a ratio of 1 bike space for each 20 vehicle spaces. Permitted uses include residential, and business uses similar to PD-MU, plus funeral homes, gas stations and car washes.

Over on Piedmont Road, BeltLine President/CEO Paul Morris has signed an agreement to sell the development rights associated with a parcel near Historic Fourth Ward Park to Adams Ponce Park South, LLC. The deed did not disclose the price.

In this case, the Atlanta City Council voted in 2013 to remove the development rights from a parcel at 641 North Avenue. The tract also is known as 665 North Avenue and has been developed as an apartment complex, AMLI Ponce Park.

The donor parcel has already been turned into greenspace and dedicated to the city, according to the legislation. The development rights involve 51,430 square feet of residential space, and 64,288 square feet of non-residential space.

The pending legislation would authorize a special use permit to enable Adams Ponce Park South to provide the development rights to an apartment project at 1791 Piedmont Avenue. The proposal involves just the residential portion of the development rights.

The 51,430 square feet of additional residential density would enable Oak Knoll Apartments, LLC to build a proposed multifamily develop described as consisting of 180 units, 166,500 building and 272 parking spaces within a parking deck, according to the pending legislation.

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.

10 replies
  1. Fed Up says:

    Shouldn’t the price of the development rights be available under the Freedom of Information Act? With the transfer of development rights from North Avenue to Piedmont Road, the city is saying that zoning and the city’s comprehensive development plan do not matter. 
    I am in favor of the Beltline as a recreational trail and possible transit corridor, but not as a development entity that trades building rights in neighborhoods that are not adjacent to the Beltline.

    Eight story apartment buildings should not back up to single family homes, as the Oak Knoll Apartments back up to homes in Morningside.Report

    Reply
  2. Ross Wallace says:

    Please see the actual zoning application submitted to the city. The historic building is clearly and explicitly exempted from the rezoning. A press release from the developer was drafted and sent to the media outlets to clarify this point. The current proposal is a 5 story structure with approximately 225 units, located at the rear of the Masquerade site, where the current outdoor music venue is located.Report

    Reply
  3. Guest says:

    From the developer.
    Received from Southeast Capital Companies
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014 – 2:59 PM
    “In response to the recent media attention spurred by the submittal of an application to rezone property including the existing Masquerade concert venue, the developer and owner of the majority of the property, Poncey Highland Investors I, LLC, would like to provide the following corrections to the information being circulated in the media.
    First, the rezoning application does not propose the demolition of the existing historic Dupre Excelsior Mill Building, known as the Masquerade. The new development will occur at the rear of the existing Masquerade building. The existing Masquerade building will be retained and rehabilitated as the centerpiece of the new development. The existing Masquerade building is designated as a Landmark Building or Site by the City of Atlanta which precludes demolition without express approval by the City of Atlanta Urban Design Commission. No application to demolish the existing Masquerade building has been filed or is contemplated in connection with the rezoning or redevelopment.
    Second, the rezoning application does not propose a 22 story building. The proposal is to develop a five story multifamily building with a maximum of 238 units and a 6,148 square foot commercial space fronting the Old Fourth Ward Park.
    Third, the property is currently entitled for development of a similarly sized, five story multifamily building. A rezoning is necessary to incorporate additional land into the project and to provide a commercial space as an amenity to the Old Fourth Ward Park. The project, including the existing Masquerade building, will also have a new direct connection to the Beltline.
    Poncey Highland Investors I, LLC has been working closely with the Atlanta Beltline Inc. for many months to develop a plan that is consistent with Atlanta Beltline Inc.’s vision for the area. The concept incorporates urban design features found throughout the district and responds aesthetically to the context of the surrounding area. The local, award-winning firm of Smith Dalia Architects, who have worked extensively in and around the Old 4th Ward and Beltline areas, will be producing the new design. We believe this adds assurance that the best interest of the neighborhood is being served by such an experienced and recognized firm.”Report

    Reply
  4. Guest says:

    From the developer.
    Received from Southeast Capital Companies
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014 – 2:59 PM
    “In response to the recent media attention spurred by the submittal of an application to rezone property including the existing Masquerade concert venue, the developer and owner of the majority of the property, Poncey Highland Investors I, LLC, would like to provide the following corrections to the information being circulated in the media.
    First, the rezoning application does not propose the demolition of the existing historic Dupre Excelsior Mill Building, known as the Masquerade. The new development will occur at the rear of the existing Masquerade building. The existing Masquerade building will be retained and rehabilitated as the centerpiece of the new development. The existing Masquerade building is designated as a Landmark Building or Site by the City of Atlanta which precludes demolition without express approval by the City of Atlanta Urban Design Commission. No application to demolish the existing Masquerade building has been filed or is contemplated in connection with the rezoning or redevelopment.
    Second, the rezoning application does not propose a 22 story building. The proposal is to develop a five story multifamily building with a maximum of 238 units and a 6,148 square foot commercial space fronting the Old Fourth Ward Park.
    Third, the property is currently entitled for development of a similarly sized, five story multifamily building. A rezoning is necessary to incorporate additional land into the project and to provide a commercial space as an amenity to the Old Fourth Ward Park. The project, including the existing Masquerade building, will also have a new direct connection to the Beltline.
    Poncey Highland Investors I, LLC has been working closely with the Atlanta Beltline Inc. for many months to develop a plan that is consistent with Atlanta Beltline Inc.’s vision for the area. The concept incorporates urban design features found throughout the district and responds aesthetically to the context of the surrounding area. The local, award-winning firm of Smith Dalia Architects, who have worked extensively in and around the Old 4th Ward and Beltline areas, will be producing the new design. We believe this adds assurance that the best interest of the neighborhood is being served by such an experienced and recognized firm.”Report

    Reply

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