Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest donaltopablo

Buckhead High-Rise Hopes

18 posts in this topic

High(-rise) hopes in Buckhead

Upscale apartments to be ready in 2004

By GREG BLUESTEIN

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As construction cranes loom over the Buckhead skyline, so do hopes of developers for an upturn in Atlanta's shaky economy.

With almost 600 of what will be among the city's priciest apartments set to open in two separate developments totaling more than $100 million across the highway from each other, developers are betting that the soft economy will improve before the 2004 projected openings.

On one side of Ga. 400, Regents Partners' 35-story, $66 million Regent high-rise at Tower Place is set to be complete next spring. Future residents, who'll pay about $1,440 to $6,060 monthly -- or about $2 a square foot -- will be treated to a penthouse clubroom, fitness and business centers and an outdoor swimming pool.

Across 400, Hanover Co.'s 39-story development will sport a 30-seat movie theater, an Internet cafe/coffee bar and wine room, rooftop tennis courts -- and rents that start at $1,500 and could top out at $10,000 a month.

"When you see two high-rise structures going up in such close proximity, it validates the location," said David Allman, president of Regent Partners. "You're creating a community that wasn't here five or eight years ago. How does that compare to the negative of having more supply? We'll see. That's the big question."

Get ready for even more supply. After some financing delays, Novare Group, developer of the Metropolis Midtown project, is hoping to start construction on a new 21-story tower on Pharr Road in the next few months. Teamed with Wood Partners, Novare President Jim Borders hopes the project will be completed by late next year, joining the two other behemoths. These latest developments are quite a contrast from the mid-to-late '90s, when most apartment high-rises were converted to condominiums after developers decided to cash out, removing huge amounts of apartments -- luxury or not -- from the Buckhead market.

"There was a short supply," said David Tufts, executive vice president of the Condo Store. "These were beautifully built buildings that were crying out to be condos."

It wasn't until the 19-story Post Peachtree opened in 2001 that Buckhead had another modern high-rise apartment building.

"It's astonishing to most people in town that if you want to rent at a high-quality high-rise, you've only got one place to go in all of Buckhead," said multifamily consultant Dale Henson.

Despite its 92 percent occupancy rate, the Post tower is offering up to three months of discounted rent for one-year leases because of the poor economy.

From her location near Peachtree Battle -- a distance from the commercial center where the towers are currently being built -- Susan Ryan is hopeful.

"It's a long way away," said Ryan, Post Peachtree's senior leasing consultant, of the completion of the new towers. "Who knows? There may be plenty for everybody."

Rebound needed

But in order for these high-rises to succeed, experts say, the Atlanta market must rebound from the dot-com implosion of the late 1990s. Companies like WebMD and IXL faded, taking jobs, residents and income with them.

"[Developers'] optimism is pinned on the fact that we're going to have a lot of corporate relocations to replace the vacant space the dot-coms have left in their wake," said Joseph Rabianski, chairman of Georgia State University's department of real estate and the Richard Bowers & Co. professor of real estate.

"The only way those kinds of rents and prices will be met is if you have upper-level executives in corporate and national headquarters moving into the Atlanta area and the Buckhead area," he said, predicting their salaries would have to be in the $400,000 range. "Not a whole lot of guys are making that."

But developers are heartened because higher rental rates tend to minimize economic damage during times of fiscal turbulence. Or, as Henson puts it: "The people paying $2,000 rent can afford it anyways."

Plus, while office closings hurt Buckhead and the rest of Atlanta, the harm was lessened by the fact Buckhead doesn't have a lot of large space users.

"We have major firms here, but they're small users of space," said Sam Massell, a former Atlanta mayor and president of the Buckhead Coalition. "This is healthy, because when you get vacancies, you don't lose a whole building."

Touting intown benefits

And Buckhead boosters are hoping that more than a convenient location of 16 million square feet of office space will lure residents.

Although would-be renters could start paying off a home in the suburbs for the same annual price as the high rents, developers are banking that the benefits of intown living, including close proximity to upscale restaurants and public transportation, will draw residents.

Plus, funding from the Buckhead Business Improvement District, which totals about $2 million a year and $6 million more from the state, has spurred renovation plans to make Peachtree Road a "world-class boulevard," complete with wider sidewalks, a landscaped median and custom-designed street furniture, Massell said.

Those kinds of features influenced Hanover to head for Buckhead. The Houston-based company originally sought to build a tower downtown, near Centennial Olympic Park. But when former Mayor Bill Campbell tied the downtown area's tax breaks to a demand that 10 percent to 15 percent of the units should cater to lower- or middle-income tenants, Hanover bolted.

With early marketing set to begin in the fall, developers have much at stake if the economy doesn't grow.

"It's going to be a surprise to them," Rabianski said. "If the economy hasn't turned around by 2004, the units will sell, but they'll sell much slower than in an expanding economy."

Multifamily consultant Henson agreed, but said the developers knew they were in it for the "long haul" -- economic downfall or not.

"It will be a struggle to get [the apartments] leased up in 2004, but it should be better in 2005," he said. "We've got to believe in something. If we don't believe it's 2005, we might as well close up shop."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It just doesn't stop :)

Crescent buys tract adjacent to Phipps

A prominent site in Buckhead near the heart of the area's debate on density has a new owner.

Crescent Resources LLC bought a 3-acre tract from the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Details of the sale and development plans were not released.

The site is adjacent to Phipps Plaza and across the Buckhead Loop from the Ritz-Carlton hotel. It is zoned for a 500,000-square-foot tower. Crescent Vice President Michael Fletcher said it will be an office building of up to 20 stories, possibly with retail.

Some Buckhead boosters envision the nearby intersection of Peachtree Street and Lenox Road becoming the high-rise district of the South. Others fear that such density will imperil the small-town feel of surrounding neighborhoods.

-- David Pendered

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It just doesn't stop :)

Crescent buys tract adjacent to Phipps

A prominent site in Buckhead near the heart of the area's debate on density has a new owner.

Crescent Resources LLC bought a 3-acre tract from the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Details of the sale and development plans were not released.

The site is adjacent to Phipps Plaza and across the Buckhead Loop from the Ritz-Carlton hotel. It is zoned for a 500,000-square-foot tower. Crescent Vice President Michael Fletcher said it will be an office building of up to 20 stories, possibly with retail.

Some Buckhead boosters envision the nearby intersection of Peachtree Street and Lenox Road becoming the high-rise district of the South. Others fear that such density will imperil the small-town feel of surrounding neighborhoods.

-- David Pendered

Amazing! I hope that the Buckhead Coalition and affiliated groups push forward with plans to create more urban, pedestrian friendly streetscapes as the skyline continues growing and new residents begin occupying the new highrise apartment and condo towers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having never actually been in Buckhead how is it laid out? Is it more like Southpark in Charlotte or does it actually have streets laid out like in a downtown?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buckhead isn't really a urban experience like DT, nor is it truly suburban. From what I recall (besides the money), South Park seems more like Alphretta or Dunwoody than Buckhead. Buckhead is a strange mix of high rises, malls, urban developments, and strip shopping centers. It's laid out more like a dense suburb and is mostly based around a couple of mainstreets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great News for Buckhead! :D

Now cityboi...where's that famous avatar? LOL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Having never actually been in Buckhead how is it laid out?  Is it more like Southpark in Charlotte or does it actually have streets laid out like in a downtown?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is another thread about this:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...8087#entry59931

Buckhead is more similar to SP in its layout, but it is fairly urban. It has quite a few high-rises, but its not really a downtown layout.

atl-buckhead.jpg

The red box is Lenox Mall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has more towers than downtown Charlotte, but it is spread out more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't agree with that, but I have no proof otherwise. Charlotte has a fair amount of towers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you been to Buckhead lately? The place is crazy with towers and new towers under construction. If they were all clumped together it would put Charlotte to shame. There are 6 or 7 on the way. I have been to Charlotte, and it does have a nice skyline. Buckhead and Atlanta are just in a different league when it comes to skyline and new construction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, its also not fair to compare the two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It has more towers than downtown Charlotte, but it is spread out more.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have been to Downtown Charlotte, the South Park area, Buckhead and the rest of Atlanta. You could squeeze Buckhead's buildings together as much as you want and they would not even compare with Downtown Charlotte. The amount of office space and tall buildings in Downtown Charlotte outdoes Buckhead by a very long shot!!

South Park is basically Buckhead about 30 years ago. It's moving in the right direction. The mall needs to be more upscale and biggger and there need to be more 4 star hotels and 20-30 story office towers and a lot of fairly expensive 20-30 story condominiums. The South Park area is very nice in its own way right now though, am I'm not saying it is destined to become like Buckhead or even needs to become like Buckhead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

South Park is basically Buckhead about 30 years ago.  It's moving in the right direction.  The mall needs to be more upscale and biggger and there need to be more 4 star hotels and 20-30 story office towers and a lot of fairly expensive 20-30 story condominiums.  The South Park area is very nice in its own way right now though, am I'm not saying it is destined to become like Buckhead or even needs to become like Buckhead.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think SP mall is very comparable to Lenox with the exception of not having 2 or 3 levels. I do agree that it appears to be moving in the right direction. The problem with SP is that it is still heavily car oriented, Buckhead (at least around Lenox) is much less traffic oriented. Having the Marta stop there helps alot. Don't hold me to it, but I think that Charlotte's LRT plans include a stop at SP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have to disagree with you Chachi. I just looked at a good picture of Charlotte and it wasn't as impressive as I thought. There are only 2 buildings that stand out. Other than that, Charlotte's skyline isn't much to talk about. If you have been to Buckhead lately and seen the skyline, I think you would change your mind. Also, take a look at all the new construction that is going up in that area. The new construction alone could rival Charlotte's skyline. Charlotte is a great city, but in reality it can't even come close to what Atlanta and Buckhead offer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.