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Midtown officials to Gothic-style tower developers: Do better

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Corner retail presence, stronger exterior aesthetics requested of Dallas-based development team

The tower proposal in Midtown.
The tower’s proposed Juniper Street elevation, as submitted to the Midtown DRC.
StreetLights Residential

At its inaugural 2019 meeting, the Midtown Development Review Committee wasn’t exactly blown away by initial plans for what’s been pitched as a “Gothic-style” high-rise, meant to echo a historic Peachtree Street church’s architecture next door.

Dallas-based StreetLights Residential brought its proposal for a 26-story tower at 5th and Juniper streets to the DRC on Tuesday.

The project would replace surface parking and several vacant structures behind Saint Mark United Methodist Church, a Peachtree landmark since the early 1900s, with 299 market-rate apartments.

Also planned are 4,000 square feet of retail and 568 parking spaces—150 of which would be reserved for church patrons and staff.

But first things first, said the DRC.

According to Midtown Alliance officials, the DRC recommended that StreetLights work with Atlanta City Studio, a city-backed urban design pop-up currently located in Cascade Heights, to strengthen the tower’s exterior.

“[T]he building’s prominent scale and its location adjacent to the historic church” warrant aesthetic improvements, the DRC found, according to a meeting summary.

Also recommended: Moving retail space to the corner of Juniper and 5th streets. Doing so would take advantage of the pedestrian experience along 5th Street, the committee advised.

After addressing the development committee’s concerns and working with the Design Studio, StreetLights reps are expected to come back before the board. The company hopes to break ground in early 2020.

Streetlights’s portfolio includes a few larger projects with a more classical bent.

In Midtown, the company plans a broad mix of rentals, ranging from studio to three-bedroom units, with rents between $2,200 to $5,000, according to earlier reports.

Find blueprints and alternate views of the current tower proposal at What Now Atlanta and Atlanta Business Chronicle. Below is what the site looks like today.

The tower would lord over the back of Saint Mark United Methodist Church, where 5th Street meets Peachtree, as seen here in October.
Google Maps
Vacant structures now stand behind the church.
Google Maps
Along Juniper Street, the tower project would claim surface parking and more boarded-up buildings where repurposing plans haven’t been realized.
Google Maps