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Potential Student-Tower Showdown: Ambling Vs. Centergy

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Two neighboring plots of Midtown land could play host to an old-fashioned developers' race as Georgia Tech's need for additional student housing pushes the market for infill development in the area. Last month, Ambling University Development Group unveiled plans for a 17-story, students-only tower on Spring Street kitty-corner to the Cheetah strip club. That development's amenities — a clubroom, 24-hour fitness center, retail space on the ground floor and a large outdoor pool — would set it apart from existing student housing options, Ambling officials said. Now, as the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports, a somewhat similar proposal (with similar amenities) for Midtown's Centergy project is calling for a 23-story tower with more than 500 student beds and 100,000 square feet of new office space for tech companies, which have flourished in the area. Centergy's project would rise from an existing parking lot. The two mid-rise towers would be neighbors, but could they coexist?

As the newspaper reports, Gateway Development and South City Partners LLC are in early stages of planning the Centergy expansion, which could break ground at the end of 2013, at earliest. In coming weeks, the developers could bring their plans before the Midtown Alliance, where further details should emerge. What's known now is that the project calls for: retail space facing Spring Street; a second level that connects to the Centergy Plaza and its office tower; and a link to the existing Centergy shops and The Spence, a Concentrics restaurant helmed by Richard Blais, the newspaper reports.

Meanwhile, Ambling, which built the hulking GSU dormitories downtown, is flipping an abandoned Courtland Street hotel into a student housing project, as well as an 18-story student-housing tower known as One12Courtland Street on an adjacent site.

But are developers overestimating the Midtown market for off-campus student housing? A Georgia Tech Department of Housing official recently told the school's newspaper that a maximum of only 300 to 400 students could be served by another private residence hall. Currently, there are three such halls in the vicinity of Tech — WestMar Student Lofts, The Flats in Atlantic Station and 100 Midtown Apartments —with no plans by the school to build more.

· Centergy expansion would add housing near Tech [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· Midtown's Proposed Student Housing Looks Rather Lavish [Curbed Atlanta]