Roswell Roads, Density Battle 2, Buckhead and the Beltline

Roswell News

Norcross-Grimes Roundabout Update - The roundabout is finally functional.  I’ve used it about 10 times in the past few weeks and so far I love it.  I have seen a couple of confused drivers and I’ve heard one honk at someone who wasn’t paying attention.  I’d love to see some stats on how many accidents there have been since it opened.  If there have been any, they surely can’t have been too bad as the speed within the roundabout has been low as predicted.  

Midtown Streetscape Project - The finishing touches are being put on the landscaped islands on Alpharetta Hwy.  The first one is just north of the Norcross St intersection and the last on is at the Hog Creek Bridge.  This one will be the largest.  I’m still concerned about the lighting and overhead wires.  To spend all of this money on streetscape improvements and overlook the most unsightly piece of the streetscape (aside from the crappy buildings along the corridor) is a disappointment.  

Historic Gateway Project - This project was included on the final list of projects submitted to the regional transportation roundtable.  It will be reviewed for potential inclusion in the list of projects that will be included in the regional sales tax initiative that is going to be on the ballot next year.  

Comp Plan Undergoes Changes After Residents Sound Off - Roswell Neighbor

There was a vocal contingent that voiced its concern over the types of uses the Roswell Comp Plan (Roswell 2030) was proposing for the Holcomb Bridge and GA400 interchange.  There are still thoughts of Charlie Brown in everyone’s minds.  I’m in favor of a massive revitalization of that area for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is a dysfunctional area in our city that has the potential to be a major jobs, residential and transportation center that Roswell and North Fulton can use.  Here’s a quote from the Roswell Neighbor article that outlines the types of changes that were made after the ‘sound off:’

Among the changes sought, according to Tolleson, is shifting density from the southeast quadrant of Ga. 400/Holcomb Bridge to the northwest quadrant. And instead of designating Holcomb Bridge Road as a commercial corridor, it would be the lower impact designation of neighborhood commercial, which would allow businesses “that support people who already live here, not the people passing through,” he said.

You can take that for what it’s worth but I think it’s a classic case of ‘we don’t want that type of people getting any closer to our space here in East Roswell.’  Also, what in the world is ‘lower impact’ ‘neighborhood commercial?’  If that is another way to say, ‘exactly what we already have,’ then I’m 100% against it because it’s not going to work in the years ahead.  

Regional News

Regional Light Rail All About Jobs North Fulton Chamber CEO Says - Alpharetta-Milton Patch

image: Metro Atlanta Northern Crescent Transit

Brandon Beach has been lobbying pretty actively to get transit into the northern burbs of late.  Most recently a public/private consortium of regional leaders met at the Cobb Galleria Centre to discuss the prospects of transit in the burbs.  It seems to have been an optimistic meeting with a caveat that most of the people there stand to benefit financially from transit development especially if it is primarily publicly funded.  Here’s a quote that I found interesting:

A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2008 found that by investing $26 billion to $46 billion in transportation infrastructure, including light rail, Georgia could increase its gross domestic product by $114 billion and create 230,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

35% of Atlanta Homes Underwater - Atlanta Business Chronicle

YIKES!  This is well above the national average of 22.7% according to CoreLogic.

Stalled Alpharetta Project to Get New Life - AJC

Prospect Park is about to have a new owner.  North American Properties plans to purchase the land and build a more realistic and less grandiose mixed-use center on the 106 acre property.  They will begin community outreach in the coming months.  You may recognize North American Properties as the company that purchased the retail and some of the office space in Atlantic Station last year.  I believe they have done a good job engaging that community thus far to find out what they want to see at Atlantic Station.

MARTA Takes A $14M Step Toward Linking its Buckhead Station With Adjacent Developments - Saporta Report

image: Atlanta Business ChronicleBidding will open at the end of this month to improve linking the Buckhead station with developments on the north side of the station.  This is a great step to making MARTA more functional within neighborhoods (albeit wealthy a wealthy neighborhood) and job centers.

City Hall East Deal Could be Derailed by Feds - Creative Loafing

image: Creative LoafingThis is complicated and I find that generally when things get complicated, we’re doing something wrong.  My understanding is that the deal is being held up because the US Parks Department of the Dept of the Interior is not comfortable with what potential owner/devolper Jamestown Properties wants to do with the long vacant building.  Jamestown is applying for some $15M in tax credits???  Do they really need $15M in tax credits to make this thing work?  It’s a gem in an area that is revitalizing.  I think both sides need to give a little here.  I’d love to see this building get put to good use.  It’s a great pice of historic architecture in our region.

Go East, Young Beltline Fanatic - Creative Loafing

image: Historic 4th Ward Park ConservancyThe loaf has a good quick update on what is going on with the parks and trails along the Beltline.  The park in Old Fourth Ward was recently ‘officially’ opened and it has been getting rave reviews.  Just from the images I’ve seen, it looks incredible.  One of these days, I’ll make my way down to check it out.

Streets of Buckhead now Buckhead Atlanta - Atlanta Business Chronicle

image: Oliver McMillanSay what you will about the name of the project but I am certainly glad to see new ownership and the potential for progress.  The eyesore in Buckhead has been a horrible scar on our region’s most prosperous area.  You personally may never buy something from the shops that will be at ‘Buckhead Atlanta’ but the county’s tax base will reap benefits.  The new developer said this about the project:

One of the highest profile developments in the country halted by the economic downturn and financing drought. The new name signifies a departure from the concept of a single destination development and a move toward a mixed-use community that will fit seamlessly within the existing Buckhead Village

Atlanta Grants Siemens Contract for 4 Atlanta Streetcars - Green Building Chronicle

image: SiemensThis is a $17M+ contract with Siemens.  The city is expecting delivery of the first car in September 2012 with revenue service starting up in early 2013.  The Siemens facility in Alpharetta will be doing much of the work on the propulsion systems for the new cars.  

Bike Trails Proposed along GA 400 - Reporter Newspapers

image: Reporter NewspapersThis is a win in the Buckhead area.  Buckhead is great but it does have Atlanta’s lowest acreage of parks per capita.  The trail system is a partnership between several organizations including the PATH foundation, Buckhead CIT, Atlanta City Council and others.  The trail will begin at Loridans Drive just south of the toll booth and will continue 4.5 miles into Midtown also connecting with the Beltline trail system.  

GA400/I-85 Interchange Work Set to Start - Atlanta Business Chronicle

image: GDOTWill we finally be able to go northbound on I-85 from GA400 South?  Will those traveling south on I-85 be able to get on to GA400?  Looks like it’s happening.  You can thank the GA400 toll for this one.  

Plans for Upscale Apartment Tower at 12th & Midtown

image: Midtown PatchThis looks like a nice project.  It’s interesting to see another tower going up in Midtown in this environment.  The economics of apartments are definitely different than those of condos/lofts right now.  I’ll be interested to see how this one pans out.  Midtown is obviously doing well but I’m not sure it needs another tower right now.  However, it’s definitely better than a surface parking lot.  

Regulator Calls for 20-30MW Solar Projects - Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Georgia Public Service Commission would like to see plans in place to significantly increase the state’s renewable capacity given the increasing volatility in traditional energy markets.