For this segment of Please Build Here we ask - have you ever left a mid-afternoon Sunday brunch at Buckhead stalwart Treehouse and wondered when anything was going to happen to the vacant tracts alongside Peachtree Hills Avenue? We have, and it's not just because after a gut-busting meal of the legendary Breakfast Burrito and Bloody Marys we were looking for a field to lie down in (there's chain-link fencing, unfortunately). The planned senior-living development for the land, Peachtree Hills Place, has been in limbo so long we're having trouble remembering the Soviet Bloc-style apartments that existed before the demolition.
The most recent news was that lender BB&T brought a lawsuit, against the developers which include family members of Senator Johnny Isakson. Since then there's been little word of any new developments. The Peachtree Hills Civic Association is a very active organization, and there's no question they are closely monitoring the situation. What have our Peachtree Hills readers out there heard?
And what do you want to see developed here? The tract of land is a very unusual opportunity. 23 acres of mostly contiguous vacant land nestled into one of the most desirable and well-located in-town neighborhoods that also features some light commercial use opportunities don't come along very often. The play of a senior-living development always seemed a bit odd to us at CA. While the neighborhood does have many families, it tends to skew younger. Many of the homes are occupied by young professional couples and the nearby apartments also keep the demographic young. Chef Kevin Rathbun just announced a new concept nearby (and he's not known for his gentrified locations). Dropping 300 units of "continuum of care" housing in the middle of the neighborhood just doesn't seem to quite jive.
There is some shine, however, in the opportunity to provide upscale housing for aging Buckhead-ites looking to stay in their neighborhood once they age out of larger homes. And the prospect of younger families being able to relocate Baby Boomer parents nearby could have appeal. Land use experts have long-said that an important aspect of building strong communities is to have a healthy mix of ages in a neighborhood as people care about different things at different stages of life and bring a diversity of skills and concerns to community efforts. So maybe it was the right development to build there, but like everything in life timing is critical, and the Great Recession took no prisoners.
So what next? Is a residential use with a more diverse mix - maybe high-end apartments or townhomes focused on single or child-less young professionals plus a component of retiree-age units more appropriate? Should the property corners be used for some another restaurant or coffee-house and the rest of the land be crammed with as much single-family housing as setbacks will allow? Should it be used for a new school (there were rumors)? Or should the original vision be realized? We'd love to hear from neighbors about what they'd like to see built there. (A rolling, green extension of Peachtree Hills Park would be lovely, but will not be accepted as a submission. See BB&T for questions).