A proposal for a sleek office building at North Avenue and Boulevard in Old Fourth Ward was rejected by the Atlanta Zoning Review Board this week, slamming the brakes on a project many thought was a sure bet. The $55 million proposal, billed as 525 North, is intended to replace a block of dilapidated single-family homes that included a notorious drug house, but some Old Fourth Ward residents — and apparently the Zoning Review Board — would like to see the land preserved as housing. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, some of the resistance stems from a yet-to-be-determined second phase on the two-acre site.
Architecture firm Gensler designed the nine-story, 165,000-square-foot office tower, and renderings show an eye-pleasing building that goes beyond the all-to-present dumb box architecture being thrown up. The intention of the design was to mimic the vibe of other new intown workplaces in reused older buildings, both locally and nationally. The market for urban offices in the area is heating up as projects like Ponce City Market and the nearby Willoughby proposal drive development near the Beltline.
The rejection caps a five-month process since the plans were submitted back in March to the city, leaving developer RPG Holdings in limbo. The final step will be for the building to come before the city council later this year. Despite the rejection by the Zoning Review Board, the district's councilman, Kwanza Hall, has voiced support for the project.
· Atlanta zoning board denies $55 million Old Fourth Ward project [Atlanta Business Chronicle]