Plans are coming into clearer focus for what’s envisioned as one of the tallest new towers pieced together from mass timber in the United States.
The Buckhead Village proposal by Harbor Bay Ventures, a real estate investment and development firm based in suburban Chicago, has been titled “Intro Atlanta,” according to the project’s engineering firm, Forefront Structural Engineers, also based in Chicago.
That name echoes another mass-timber project by the same team in Ohio, the 115-foot-tall Intro Cleveland, that briefly enjoyed status as America’s tallest mass-timber building two years ago. It’s since been eclipsed by a 25-story apartment project called Ascent in Milwaukee.
Buckhead’s wood-boned, 20-story building will rise to heights right in between those projects, should the development team’s plans come to fruition.
Developers are increasingly embracing mass timber as a more environmentally friendly construction material that provides warmth and throwback vibes that concrete and steel can’t match. Other recent Atlanta projects incorporating heavy timber include Hines’s T3 West Midtown at Atlantic Station, Waldo’s Old Fourth Ward, and Jamestown’s 619 Ponce.
Forefront has put together details for Intro Atlanta that could make development wonks rejoice. As designed by Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, the 225-foot mixed-use project plans to blend concrete and mass timber to fill a vacant 1-acre lot at the corner of East Paces Ferry and Grandview Avenue, across the street from the adaptive-reuse Kimpton Sylvan hotel.
According to Forefront, four stories of the tower’s concrete podium will be buried underground, with four additional stories above housing retail spaces, a lobby, parking, and other uses.
On top of that, plans call for 17 stories of mass timber with 314 apartments, ranging from studios around 500 square feet to three-bedroom units, some clocking in at more than 2,600 square feet, per Harbor Bay.
According to Forefront, an amenity level with an outdoor pool will crown the building on the 20th floor. Concrete walls at stair cores and the elevator are designed to provide sufficient lateral support to keep it all standing.
The East Paces Ferry building will top out at 225 feet tall—the maximum height allowed for the Buckhead Village district, per Harbor Bay’s plans. In addition to stacked multifamily units, four townhomes would be blended into the base level along Grandview Avenue.
The engineering company lists the 516,160-square-foot project as “in progress,” but City of Atlanta building permit records show no recent activity at its address. We’ve reached out for information on when a groundbreaking might potentially come and will update this story with any further details.
Buckhead’s SPI-9 Development Review Committee applauded the tower proposal at its May meeting and green-lighted Harbor Bay’s plans to advance to the city level for review. The DRC did recommended developers include art murals on the south and east portions of the tower along Buckhead Avenue, to boost the area’s pedestrian experience. Project reps ensured DRC members in May that concerns about vehicle traffic loading and unloading along that avenue will be mitigated by measures such as new lighting and convex mirrors.
At one corner (East Paces Ferry and Grandview Avenue), plans call for a 2,400-square-foot coffee shop space with a patio and adjacent greenspace. The building will also include 36 bike-parking spaces. Harbor Bay’s plans for constructing the building with mass timber, including composting areas for future residents, as well as low-flow toilets, were applauded by the DRC.
It’s not the only relatively tall proposal from out-of-town developers around Buckhead Village.
The East Paces Ferry building would join a 21-story tower in the works from New York-based Tidal Real Estate Partners about a block away, to the south; that project expects to transform a Pharr Road block and deliver in 2025.
A few blocks west, Dezhu US is angling to build a 17-story venture with for-sale condos.
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