‘Marietta Design District’ pitched by Atlanta developer | News

An Atlanta-based developer is asking the city of Marietta for the go ahead to build five buildings off Atlanta Street. 

Once the site of an historic home from the 1800s that was used as a hospital during the Civil War, the 3.6-acre property at the corner of Atlanta Street and Kings Court has been vacant since 2006 after the home was demolished following a fire that destroyed the structure, according to Marietta zoning documents.

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Joe Knight of Tanalta LLC is applying to rezone the property from office institutional to office services to create an office park designed to draw “independent furniture stores, lighting bathroom and kitchen fixtures and other home good and decorating showrooms.” The overall feel of the development, Knight writes in his application, would be “classic and traditional with a modern edge.”

Plans call for the office park to have two two-story office buildings fronting Atlanta Street and three larger showroom and distribution buildings towards the rear of the property. The development would also include 150 parking spaces.

Dubbed the “Marietta Design District,” the site would be aimed at attracting “high-end design” business tenants.

That area deserves some attention. I’ll be interested to see what the plans are … That area could use a little help,” Councilman Johnny Walker said Thursday when told the gist about the developer’s proposal, but said he personally had not seen the rezoning application or any related documents.

Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson, who represents the area, said she has not yet made a determination on the proposal.

“I would like to see something go there, and I haven’t talked to any of the neighbors at this point, so I don’t know how the neighborhood thinks of the proposal, and that’s my first stop,” Richardson said. “I want to see that area developed − it’s just what’s going to go there will be a question of what the neighborhood would be willing to accept.”

Surrounded by some light industrial buildings but primarily by residential properties, ranging from single-family residences to boarding houses, Knight in his application says the property, which is less than a mile south of Marietta Square, is “primed for redevelopment.” He compares the property’s potential to that of an Atlanta development.

“The mix of single-family homes and light industrial buildings reminds us of the City of Atlanta’s fastest-growing neighborhood: West Midtown or more commonly called the Westside, which over the past 15 years almost $2 billion of private capital has poured into the Westside,” Knight wrote. He added that the once-industrial neighborhood now features restaurants, shops and loft offices along with hundreds of new single-family homes.

“We see no reason why a similar renaissance couldn’t happen along Atlanta Street and some of the side streets like Glover Street and E. Dixie Avenue,” Knight added.

But city zoning staff note that neither the property’s current office institutional zoning nor the proposed office services category is supported by the city’s comprehensive plan, which has in its future land use plan that property zoned as medium-density residential.

“This district is designed to support warehousing and distribution uses and light assembly uses. However, a development consisting of office space and showrooms can generate a substantial amount of traffic, noise and light, and most of the surrounding area would not be protected by any buffer,” read a staff analysis of the rezoning application.

A variance waiving the city’s 5-acre minimum for an office services zoning would be needed in order to move forward for the rezoning, according to the developer, while city staff also note a needed variance to reduce from 50 feet to 30 feet an undisturbed buffer on the property’s southeastern corner adjacent to residential property.

The project is scheduled to be heard at the city’s Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. April 2, while the City Council could consider it at its 7 p.m. meeting April 10.


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