Brand Properties, facing serious backlash over a proposed building on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, has asked to defer its presentation at the Zoning Committee of Neighborhood Planning Unit-B at the end of this month. Their planned boutique office and retail building would replace the Garden Hills Shopping Center, which was razed earlier this year after a fire had ravaged the midcentury (and some would argue, historic) strip in 2013. According to BuckheadView, neighbors have expressed displeasure with the "size, scope and character," citing the appearance of the building, its effect on traffic and the proposed tenants. In other words, neighbors feel that everything about it sucks.
To put things in perspective, let's consider the project's context: Traffic-clogged Peachtree Road in Buckhead is changing rapidly, with low-slung development and parking lots being scarfed by high-rise development. And the Brand Properties proposal for a nine-story building is actually pretty tame considering its taller neighbors. But because the site had previously been low density development, neighbors are concerned that the six-story parking deck — with entries and exits off Peachtree Road and Vivian Lane, a dead-end residential street — will exacerbate traffic woes both on Peachtree and in the surrounding single-family residential neighborhoods. While that's likely true, let's not forget the permissions granted to adjacent buildings regarding height, density and site access. And after all, this area is trending toward urban.
The more understandable ire stems from the lackluster — figuratively; the renderings actually show a strange shiny material on the facade — design proposal. The building design is an unapologetically quasi-Second French Empire meets 1970s office development
train-wreck composition that doesn't quite jibe with surrounding context. However unlikely a redesign is, the brief hiatus from the zoning meeting will give Brand Properties time to go back to the drawing board.
Originally, Brand Properties hoped to start construction in the next few months. But with the next review meeting not scheduled until late October, it's unlikely they'll be able to keep their timeline. Until then neighbors can enjoy the view of a non-traffic causing, unobtrusive grassy lot.