Reynoldstown leaders are laying down the law for developers who hope to get their hands on one of the juiciest parcels left near the Beltline's Eastside Trail corridor. Manufacturing company Leggett & Platt is selling roughly 17 acres on Memorial Drive, just north of Interstate 20, where it has operated a 300,000-square-foot plant for some 40 years. The site is practically next door to Paces Properties' Atlanta Dairies redevelopment and is one of many large-scale projects along Memorial Drive that hope to capitalize on the area's momentum, largely generated by the promise of the Beltline's planned southward extension. The company's decision to cash in is understandable — even if it means uprooting 150 manufacturing jobs — as the sale could fetch up to $30 million, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported last month. Word around Reynoldstown is that proposals from developers are due by the end of October. And neighborhood leaders have a very specific set of requests for what the future of these 17 acres should hold.
According to a letter the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League's board sent to developers this week, the Leggett & Platt site should be broken down from its "superblock" status to best jibe with the neighborhood's goals of being, well, neighborly. Specifically, they're calling for a small network of streets that would dice up the acreage — a new north-south connector stemming from Holtzclaw Street and an east-west link between Bill Kennedy Way and Gibson Street.
Other interesting passages in the letter:
The warm open …
"Welcome to Reynoldstown, this is an exciting place and time in our history. Never before has this neighborhood seen so much attention in terms of development and redevelopment. It is something we've been actively anticipating for over 15 years and are glad to have you play a part! Because of the scale and important intersection on which your development is sited, we thought it best to open up lines of communication and reiterate in writing, early, our simple [and hope you will find quite reasonable] vision."
The thinly veiled "Don't You Try to Screw Us" …
"As with most intown neighborhoods, we've conducted numerous meetings to envision and plan for this eventual growth period and have ratified numbers of master plans. A common theme, from all the way back to 1999, is that they all emphasized people places, not car places, where all modes of transportation are seriously considered in design. This underlying idea of a healthy, efficient, mobile, inclusive urban form is paramount — we are fixated upon it."
(Pause for golf-clap)
Lastly, the heartfelt explanation …
"We love our streets, we love them small and gridded. As you may know, there are many other adopted city documents over the last decade that extol the virtues of smaller blocks; we truly hope this idea comes as no surprise to you or your designers."
The Leggett & Pratt property is the largest contiguous piece of Beltline-adjacent land on Memorial, and as such, big players like Paces Properties and Fuqua Development are expected to have interest, though none will discuss it publically yet, according to the ABC article. A tipster who cited information from a recent Reynoldstown HOA meeting said Fuqua is indeed in the mix.
The industrial buildings on the site could be repurposed into loft and restaurant space, or the site could be wiped clean for apartments and retail.