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House where ‘Gone with the Wind’ was written to help develop a 47-story building

Margaret Mitchell House, horizontal The Margaret Mitchell House and Museum will enable the development of a 47-story apartment building in Midtown if the rights to develop 154,000 square feet of residential space is transferred from the house to the planned construction site, at 1138 Peachtree St. Credit: Kelly Jordan

By David Pendered

The house where Margaret Mitchell wrote most of Gone with the Wind is to enable a 47-story apartment building to be developed a few blocks north of the historic site in Midtown. Terms were not disclosed

Margaret Mitchell House, horizontal

The Margaret Mitchell House and Museum will enable the development of a 47-story apartment building in Midtown if the rights to develop 154,000 square feet of residential space is transferred from the house to the planned construction site, at 1138 Peachtree St. Credit: Kelly Jordan

This is a type of real estate deal that could warm Scarlett O’Hara’s heart: A property right the owner never intends to exercise is transferred to another property at, presumably, a significant price paid to the owner.

In this case, the Margaret Mitchell House is transferring the right to develop just over 3.5 acres of residential space.

This density is essentially useless at the historic site because of the complexities of ever developing a big residential building there.

This density is extremely useful at the address 1138 Peachtree St. This property could face difficulties in gaining approval to build the planned apartment tower. One way to sidestep the regulatory process is to acquire development rights from another parcel.

By transferring the rights to develop about 154,000 square feet, the receiving property will be able to add well over 100 additional units. That presumes units ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, of the size of units being built in this market.

This is the second time the Margaret Mitchell House property has been involved in efforts to develop 1138 Peachtree St.

In 2016, a transfer was not completed and those terms have expired, according to a Jan. 16 memo from Atlanta’s zoning administrator to the city’s Zoning Review Board.

The Margaret Mitchell House had, and still has, a treasure trove of development rights. The rights evidently came with the property when it was acquired Aug. 16, 2012 by the Atlanta Historical Society.

Since 2013, the house has transferred a total of nearly 171,000 square feet of residential development rights, according to the memo from the city’s zoning administrator. Even after the pending transfer to 1138 Peachtree St. address, the house will still have the capacity to transfer 52,600 square feet of residential development rights, according to the memo –  that’s more than an acre of developable residential space.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell. 1941. Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.

The previous transactions cited in the administrator’s letter include:

  • 2013 – 120,290 square feet transferred to the addresses 207-205 13th Street;
  • 2014 – 50,583.1 square feet transferred to multiple addresses on 11th Street and 10th Street.

The project at 1138 Peachtree St. relies significantly on the transfer of development rights.

The mixed use development is to contain up to 380,000 net square feet of residential space. All the units are to be contained in one 47-story building that’s to be constructed of steel and concrete. Exterior finishes are to be comprised of glass and metals, or precast concrete, according to the administrator’s letter.

Other terms cited in the letter note that all trees are to be removed from the existing site. Trees are to be replanted and recompense paid, in accord with the city’s Tree Protection Ordinance. The site plan shows landscaping and buffering that “seems sufficient.”

The administrator’s memo observes that the proposed transfer of development rights is appropriate in this case:

  • “The proposed transfer of development rights to allow fo rhte development of more residential units for a mixed-used project at the subject location is reasonable. The proposed development conforms to the intent and requirements of the City of Atlanta transfer of development rights program.
  • “The proposed transfer of excess development rights agreement assures future protection of public interest and achievement of public objectives to the same or a higher degree than would application of the regulations to the individual properties.”
Margaret Mitchel House, vertical

The Margaret Mitchell House will still have rights to develop 52,600 square feet of residential space if a proposed transfer of 154,000 square feet of development rights is completed. Credit: Kelly Jordan

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David Pendered

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.

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2 Comments

  1. Kev K January 23, 2020 8:09 am

    The MM house also transferred 60,000 sq ft of development rights to Coda in 2017Report

    Reply
  2. JB January 23, 2020 7:53 pm

    1138 Peachtree Street is the approximate site where Margaret Mitchel was hit by the taxi that led to her death.Report

    Reply

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