Thursday, September 3, 2009

1500 condos, 1500 apartments




Any time I'm at a city council meeting or a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting and a bunch of guys in dark suits with fancy charts show up, you know it's something big.

Tonight's ZBA hearing at city hall was no exception. What may not be news to all, is news to some. Tonight a development group cleared their final hurdle for a massive development in Dunwoody. This new mixed use development will add 1,500 apartments and 1,500 condos to the Austin Elementary School zone (and to Dunwoody Elementary 4th, 5th school, Peachtree Charter MS, and Dun High School).

The development also claims to include two hotels, with 400 rooms total between the two (Not huge hotels, about 200 rooms each. To compare, La Quinta on Peachtree Dunwoody has 142 rooms and the 'W' has 225 rooms).

Also they say 400,000 sq feet of new office and 400,000 sq feet of retail. The blue rectangular building on the far right of the map above is where the AJC headquarters will be later this year. I think I'll contact the developer and lock in the retail spot next to the AJC and put in a bar.

This deal has been in the works for a couple of years. This thing (the development) started in DeKalb County, then was inherited by the City of Dunwoody. Don't go getting mad at our ZBA members for approving the three variances. (Side note: the variances tonight were for piping 400+ feet of a stream, yet no one from Vernon North showed up to protect THIS stream. I guess some streams are more important than others).

This deal had already received the seal of approval from DeKalb, US Army Corp of Engineers, State EPA, State DNR, GRTA, ARC, FBI, CIA, DHA, DPT, Lemonade Days, Vernon North Canal Company, Kettle Brazen Bleu Chip Company, and a few others I can't remember. Tonight's vote was just a formality to a project with greased wheels.

This will surely add some tax revenue to the city but will also demand service in return. Of course the biggest issue here will be schools. Numbers vary, but expect at least 21 kids per 100 apartments. I could not find a number for condos so I'll use the same number (could be more or less). Simple math tells me at least 630 kids will be living there when the place is complete and rented full.

The name of this development is High Street.

The big concern here now that this thing is all approved will be the stages of development. No doubt the apartments and condos will be first. This will provide some cash flow to get things rolling. Plus, there is no need for retail there until after the apartments and condos are rented. No retailer is going to build there until people are living there.

Once this thing gets built we'll probably need a mini police precinct on the west side of the mall. Dunwoody Police already spend a lot of time at the mall. Police reports are filed daily with shoplifting and thefts from autos and car accidents from Perimeter Mall. Add more shops and 8,000 more residents (along with the current MARTA station) and you'll have lots of action.

The true danger, as a wise bow tie wearing man said to me, is a repeat of the Sembler situation at Brookhaven. There, Sembler had grand plans like you see in the photo above. Sembler built the apartments......then stopped. The same thing could happen here. The site plan for High Street shows green space, trees, sidewalks, a few more trees and the apartments and condos. I know one thing - those condos and apartments will be built. Not holding my breath on all of it.

The economy and housing is showing somewhat of an improvement lately, but commercial real estate is now crumbling all over the country, Atlanta included. The commercial side of things may take years to recover.

I hope they put lots of nice restaurants in High Street and offer free parking. Perhaps then Perimeter Mall will remove their huge valet lot so I can park close to a door. As mentioned before on this blog, I take my money to the North Point Mall because they don't 'reserve' all the front spots for valet. It's their mall (Perimeter) and they can do what they want, as can I.

Time to watch the end of the Boise State / Oregon game so enough for tonight. More on the ZBA hearing later.



New Chips



King John has done a nice job the past couple of days covering local events and I have posted nothing. Tomorrow stop back here for a recap of Thursday's Zoning board of Appeals meeting.

Today I bring you a review on a new item at Costco: Kettle Buffalo Bleu Krinkle Cut Chips.

These are very tasty. It's hard to just have one chip and move on to something else. The 30 ounce bag (851 grams for you wacky metric folks) is priced at $5.29. For a hefty bag like that, I think the price is fair.

The chips do have a "Brazen spice" as claimed, I think. I am not really sure what 'brazen' means. I looked up the definition and could not find an adjective that related to food or a spice. But the marketing folks at Kettle get a thumbs up from me on this one.

I really could not taste the bleu cheese, but regardless, the chips have a distinct taste. I've moved on from the old-school salt & vinegar chips and same for bbq flavor. I needed a new chip flavor in my life and I think these will fill that void.

If you buy a bag for a party, make sure to get the chips at the bottom of the bag as they have more spice on them. Also, I had to use scissors to open the bag as the 'pull sides apart' method did not work for me (I have decent arm strength, but apparently not enough for opening this brand of chips. They must have some special adhesive for sealing the bag).

On the topic of Costco, they need to make that self-checkout for us folks only buying a bag of chips and a Snuggie. If you have a full cart (especially a flatbed cart) with all kinds of stuff and alcohol (alcohol scanned in self-checkout makes a light flash, signaling to everyone that you are having a party I guess) you should not be in the self checkout lane. I highly suggest Jerome's lane, even if it has more people in it. I knew Jerome from his days at Sweet Tomatoes and that guy smiles 24/7.

Yes, Costco is selling the Snuggie now. Guys, have your wife buy this item. When a guy goes in alone to Costco and comes out only with a bag of chips and a Snuggie, it looks a little weird.