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Townhome Pitch on Historic O4W Site Alarms Residents

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John Weiland Homes reportedly wants to demolish several decades-old buildings in the Old Fourth Ward and put up townhomes —

and the locals aren't too happy about it. According to information distributed to residents by Kit Sutherland, president of the Old Fourth Ward Alliance, Weiland has proposed building 24 townhomes at 345 Glen Iris Drive, where that road intersects with Ralph McGill Boulevard. The site is home to several buildings, some dating back as far as 1929, that would all be demolished, but according to Sutherland, razing those structures would not be a popular option. "Many attendees" at the group's meeting last week, Sutherland wrote, "expressed concern over this proposal, indicating that they would prefer to see a mixed-use development that would retain the oldest buildings and add new development to the rest of the site."

Property records back up Sutherland's statement that Weiland doesn't yet own the 1.55-acre lot at the southeast corner of Glen Iris Drive and Ralph McGill Boulevard, just a few blocks from Historic Fourth Ward Park and Ponce City Market. "If public objections to their proposed project are substantial," Sutherland wrote, "the property owner might seek alternative development proposals."

In an email, Weiland spokeswoman Jennifer Nilsson said the company is still in the early stages of project planning and is "working actively to gather and review feedback from area residents as well as the city of Atlanta as a part of that process." No renderings or more specifics on the townhome proposal are available yet, Nilsson said.

The main building on the property — the large brick one that faces Glen Iris — was originally a factory for James G. Dodson's Ironized Yeast Company before it was bought by the Creomulsion Company, which still makes cough syrup. As Sutherland points out, the Old Fourth Ward master plan encourages historic rehabilitation and specifically recommends the site in question for mixed-use redevelopment. Weiland already has a foothold in the O4W with Highland Park, a cluster of townhomes right on the Beltline near Inman Park with prices now starting at $459,000.

Last November, the owner of the property in question — Harold Wyatt, of Wyatt Realty Company — told Curbed Atlanta the historic building was 100 percent leased by a tenant in the film industry and would remain so for the foreseeable future. Wyatt said the building was in "extremely poor" condition when he acquired it, and no changes were planned while the tenant was there.

According to Sutherland's email, the timeframe for O4W public comments on a "special administrative permit" applied for by Weiland ends today. Given the chance, what would you say?

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep

· In O4W, Competition's Fierce For Beltline Townhomes [Curbed]