Glenridge Hall site to have 1,000-plus homes, 460,000 square feet of office space

By David Pendered

The Atlanta Regional Commission soon will begin its review of plans to redevelop the site of Glenridge Hall, in Sandy Springs, to a live-work-play community that’s to open in 2020.

Glenridge Hall

An exterior view of Glenridge Hall.

Plans call for 1,058 residences; 460,000 square feet of office space, to be built in two phases; and a commercial building with 36,401 square feet, which is about half the size of a typical chain grocery store.

Mercedes Benz intends to occupy 250,000 square feet of office space. The company expects to employ 800 workers in the office building, according to a form the automaker filed with Fulton County development officials. The New Jersey office Mercedes is leaving employs about 1,000 workers, according to published reports.

The residential component includes a mix of townhomes, flats, and apartments:

  • 281 townhomes, attached and detached;
  • 378 flats;
  • 399 apartments.
Glenridge Hall locator map

Glenridge Hall is located on a site of more than 70 acres (marked by the red dot) that’s about 2 miles northwest of the intersection of I-285 and Ga. 400. Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered

The first phase is to be complete in 2020. The overall project is to be complete in 2025, according to the Development of Regional Impact form submitted April 8 by Sandy Springs to the Department of Community Affairs.

The filing of the DRI form initiates a review process in which the ARC and state agencies identify the expected impact of large-scale developments and address them before conflicts arise.

The DRI filed for the Glenridge site provides scant information is provided regarding the impact the development will have on water, sewer, traffic, solid waste, and economic development – such as whether the regional workforce is capable to meet the demand created by the project.

The segments on those questions are answered, “Not Selected,” on the DRI form.

The property is owned by SunTrust Bank NA as trustee of Caroline Glenn Mayson Trust No. 2, according to the DRI. Ashton Woods Homes is serving as developer.

Ashton Woods is seeking to rezone the property and receive variances to enable the development.

Recent changes in state law have eliminated the ARC’s ability to determine if a project is in the best interest of the region, and therefore the state. A ruling of “not in the best interest of the region” was a virtual death knell for major developments.

Mercedes Benz site in New Jersey

Mercedes Benz is relocating to Sandy Springs from Montvale, N.J., where it’s been located since 1972. Credit: northjersey.com

In 2013, the Georgia Legislature revised the Georgia Planning Act of 1989 in order to, “streamline processes and enhance flexibility for local governments and regional commissions in the exercise of their responsibilities,” according to a page on the website of the state Deparment of Community Affairs.

Lawmakers eliminated this section:

  • “The review shall result in a public finding by the regional commission or the department, as the case may be, that the action will be in the best interest of the region and state or that it will not be in the best interest of the region and state.”

And replaced it with this section:

  • “The department [DCA] may establish rules and procedures which require that local governments submit for review any proposed action which would, based upon guidelines which the department may establish, affect regionally important resources or further any development of regional impact.”

 

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. inatl says:

    It is a shame we gave tax breaks to Mercedes to merely re locate jobs in the U.S.   And to make things even worse they are building a campus style HQ vs. locating and building something that would have better access to  transit.  Though the Sandy Springs station is down the street the design of the area roads and GA 400 doesn’t make it very accessible –  Unless of Course Mercedes will fund a meaningful pedestrian connection and locate its site appropriately.Report

    Reply
  2. JamesTola says:

    I find it incredulous that Ashton Woods and Mercedes could not find a way to tie in the magnificent, historically significant home with 1000 new residents enjoying it as a club house, coffee hang out, restaurant, etc.  I worked and lived on the Glen Hall property for three years in the late 1980’s and know that the home once sat at the center of the 50 acres that was left of the original 400 acres and just can not believe that once again metro Atlanta paves under anything that does not pad the pocket of the high tier executives.  Driving Miss Daisy was filmed there in 1989 The owners had strong ties with the Sandy Springs Historical Society.  Americans flock to Europe because we love the history, quaint streets, pedestrian friendly city centers with charm.  Shall we have nothing left in North Fulton that speaks to our past?Report

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  3. PamErdman says:

    Thanks , James.  Well said!  I could not agree more.  Unfortunate that we are powerless and leaderless and too few that are informed.  The developers will make money,the owners will sell it off in 15 years when renters wear the construction into shabbyness, a newer area will become  fashionable, rents will stagnate, and the only memory that will remain of a lovely, quality built home which once existed will be in
    people like you who make passing mention of it to your grand children as you drive by.Report

    Reply
  4. PamErdman says:

    Well said James!  It is sad and unjust that we, the folks with nothing to gain and a lot  to lose have no say.  We are powerless, leaderless and too few  in  informed number.  The developers will make money, the owners will sell out just before maintainence  and shabbiness become a problem in about 15 years, another newer area of Atlanta will become more desirable, rents will stagnate , and the only memory that such a lovely home ever existed will be as people like you  mention it to your grandchildren as you happen to drive by.Report

    Reply
  5. tgordon says:

    The Fischer Mansion on Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. is a good example of how an historic piece of property can be saved and developed. I hope they don’t tear down the Glenridge Hall mansion.Report

    Reply
  6. Sdarter says:

    I understand there was a 2 year search for a white knight to rescue the Hall but it just didn’t work out. Most of this development will be south of Abernathy so maybe at least some of the beautiful woods and Marsh creek can be protected. It is sad to see States fighting over Corporations giving them tax breaks so they can create (or steal) a few middle class jobs. Meanwhile the middle class keeps shrinking. I don’t think giving the wealthy and corporations tax breaks will help improve our economy, after all they are already awash in cash and capital. I seems like everything proposed especially by “the tea-party” will just make things worse.Report

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  7. MediateIt says:

    The mayor of Sandy Springs is taking immediate advantage of the new legislation by proposing a tax subsidy for developers to allow them to profitably build “affordable housing” in Sandy Springs because “some Mercedes employees” are buying homes elsewhere.  Has the mayor determined that the primary reason that these new Georgia residents are buying homes elsewhere is because of the cost of housing, or are they looking for better schools, larger homes, golf communities and the like?  Has Mercedes requested this?  I doubt it, and certainly not publicly.  After all, they manufacture and sell the very automobiles that many Atlanta residents use in their lengthy commutes to and from work.  This confluence of events cannot be a coincidence.  The mayor has manufactured an excuse to benefit developers (Ashton Woods, perhaps?) at the expense of current homeowners in the city.  I’m sure Sandy Springs residents are looking forward to the additional traffic and school overcrowding that will inevitably result from the potential overbuilding in their city wherever the city approves it, and the increase in their taxes to pay for the subsidies and additional infrastructure that the city will have to provide.  Which city will be next – Dunwoody?  Brookhaven?  And which developers will benefit?Report

    Reply

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