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Glenwood Park Builders, Street Design, Main Street, Zoning, Earth Moving Begins - April 2003
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Author: Charles Brewer
Dear Friends of Glenwood Park: This is the first in a series of letters I will write on behalf of Green Street Properties and our Glenwood Park partners to people who have asked to be updated on the development of our new neighborhood. Thank you very much for your interest!
Who is Building What at Glenwood Park
The master developers of Glenwood Park are my colleagues and I at Green Street Properties, along with our partners at The Meddin Company and Novare Group. We are responsible for developing the land itself, putting in the streets, sidewalks, parks, and utilities.
This same group of Green Street, Meddin, and Novare will be developing several of the mixed-use buildings in the neighborhood – buildings with retail on the ground floor and either office space or living space on the upper floors. We have been working on the plans for these buildings for several months now, and are about to move from the schematic design phase into detailed design drawings, then construction drawings, and then into building the buildings themselves.
The approximately 50 single-family houses in our neighborhood will primarily be built by a group of builders that we have selected for our Glenwood Park Builder’s Guild. We have agreed to sell the first batch of 21 lots to the three in itial members of our Builder’s Guild.
We also have approximately 50 townhouse lots at Glenwood Park. We are particularly excited about bringing a really great townhouse product to Atlanta. We love this kind of house, and Atlanta is sorely lacking examples of great townhouses on great streets with great neighborhood amenities within a pleasant walking distance. Several builders have expressed a strong interest in building townhouses in Glenwood Park, and over the next couple of months we will figure out who will participate, and what role Green Street Properties will have in these buildings.
In addition to the mixed use buildings that Green Street will build with its partners, and the houses that our Builders Guild will build, and the townhouses I just talked about, and of course the school that The Children’s School is planning to build, there are a few other building lots at Glenwood Park that are reserved for later development.
The Work of Creating Glenwood Park
Our work on Glenwood Park began in earnest in November of 2001 when Green Street Properties took over the lead developer role. We knew from the beginning that our general intent was to develop a lively new neighborhood with great streets, great public areas like parks and squares, a good mix of retail, and a range of appealing houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartments. Our first assignment was to develop a plan that expressed that intention in a specific layout of streets, blocks, lots, and public spaces. To create this plan, we assembled a group of about 20 friends, advisors, and neighbors for a “charrette” – a fancy word for a planning meeting. We worked together for four days, from December 9 to December 12, 2001, and at the end of that time emerged with a rough version of the plan that has been in place ever since.
The next phase of work involved zoning. We took the master plan that emerged from the charrette process, refined it, and got approval from the city to build it. This involved lots of meeting with our neighbors and City of Atlanta NPU W. This was actually a lot of fun for us, because our neighbors have been very enthusiastic and supportive about our plans. The zoning plan that we moved forward with is very specific about street locations, but provides a good amount of flexibility about exactly what building with what use goes where. We divided the site up into sub-segments, each of which has some usage restrictions, building height limits, and caps on how much can be built there. Overall the zoning process took us from December of 2001 until July of 2003, and produced a zoning plan that is very good.
In order to build the neighborhood that we envision, we need to provide streets that will be great places for pedestrians and cyclists – places where cars will move slowly, and where the design will maximize pedestrian safety and comfort. This meant getting permission to build streets with narrower widths and tighter corners than has been the normal recent practice.
The Atlanta City Council passed an ordinance that allows these tighter street dimensions in traditional neighborhood developments like ours. Our work on this issue took up a great deal of our time between January and July of 2002.
Another absolute must-have for us in order to build the Glenwood Park that we envision is to make the Glenwood-Memorial Connector into our “main street”, where most of our retail and commercial activity will front. Fortunately we own the land on both sides of this street, so we can create a main street with two sides. But, the on-street parking and slower-speed traffic geometries that are needed to create a great main street environment are at this point not something that the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) can easily deal with. So, we needed to have this ownership of this street transferred from the DOT to the City of Atlanta. This process took a full year to accomplish – from January of 2002 to January of 2003.
With our zoning in place, the next major step was to get a building permit to do the site work, put in the streets and utilities, and create buildable lots. After getting zoning approval, our engineers spent several weeks completing much more detailed drawings showing exactly how the grading, the streets, and the utilities would be done. We filed this “permit set” with the City of Atlanta on August 7, 2002. On December 27, we received our permit.
So now, the physical work is finally underway at Glenwood Park. Before we can begin building any buildings, quite a bit of work has to be done to the land itself. Most of the site is covered with concrete of varying thickness. This needs to be broken up. The big concrete block retaining walls need to be removed. There is a big pile of old wood chips in one area that needs to be dug out and removed. Major new storm and sanitary sewer lines need to be put in place. Streets, sidewalks, parks, and utilities need to be built. As you pass by the site over the next few months you will be able to see all of this happening.
The southern part of the site is where the first buildings will be built. We are eager to get the land there ready for buildings as soon as we can. The exact date depends on how rapidly we can get the site work done, but we hope to have buildable lots available by sometime this summer.
Thanks again for your interest in Glenwood Park. We are very pleased that so many people are so interested! We can see more strongly than ever that Glenwood Park is going to be a neighborhood that many of us will love.
Chairman, Green Street Properties
An Earthcraft Community
:: Est. 2003