A prominent corner site across the street from Perimeter Mall could still be transformed into a mixed-use node, just not as quickly as developers had planned and city leaders had hoped.
By now, metro Atlanta development watchers might be familiar with the 2.86-acre property, situated at the northeast corner of the Ashford Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center East intersection, just north of Interstate 285. It’s currently home to a vacant one-story building (formerly a branch) and has been the subject of various zoning amendments over the past 15 years.
Previous plans have called for a mid-rise hotel (2008) and a mixed-use development with an 11-story hotel (2019), but the COVID-19 pandemic eventually nixed hotel plans.
In 2020, the owner and developer, JSJ Perimeter LLC, swapped hotel plans with a 14-story building that would feature 225 units of age-restricted housing, neighboring a smaller structure with mixed uses that would front Ashford Dunwoody Road.
Those plans narrowly passed the Dunwoody City Council in March 2021, with some city leaders airing concerns the age-55-plus housing component was little more than a means of slyly slipping apartments into the city that would otherwise be shot down. One city councilmember likened the senior housing to a Trojan Horse.
Here’s the kicker: The city’s PC-2 zoning approval at that time carried a stipulation that developers would have to apply for a land disturbance permit within 30 months—or the site would revert back to its previous commercial-only zoning. That leeway period is set to expire September 8.
According to a memorandum sent by Dunwoody senior planner Madalyn Smith last month to other city leaders, the JSJ Perimeter development team has encountered problematic headwinds in its attempt to get the 84 Perimeter project off the ground—a refrain that’s become common in parts of Atlanta lately, including South Downtown and West End.
“The current economic conditions have severely financially impacted the [84 Perimeter] project and the prescribed deadline cannot be feasibly met,” Smith wrote in the July 10 memo.
JSJ Perimeter officials asked that special land use permit conditions be removed; Smith recommended that be allowed, as challenges with financing and construction have become common, and not lifting the requirement could jeopardize any future redevelopment of the site, per the memo.
JSJ Perimeter’s vision for the site remains unchanged. It includes a two-story commercial building that would face Ashford Dunwoody Road, with the 14-story, age-restricted multifamily building behind that, facing Perimeter Center East. (Although renderings appear to depict a shorter structure).
Other aspects would include sidewalks, a 16-foot-wide patio and dining area along Ashford Dunwoody Road, and a five-foot bike lane running along Perimeter Center. A parking garage would be placed to the rear of the multifamily building and a smaller surface parking lot would be “completely interior to the site,” according to Smith.
Smith noted that mix of uses would be in line with Dunwoody’s 2020-2040 Comprehensive Plan.
“This project is aligned with the kind of redevelopment that is needed in the Perimeter Center,” Smith wrote, “and is one of the very few properties in the area where the zoning and proposed development is reflective of the future goals for the Perimeter Center.”
Head up to the gallery for additional renderings and context.
[CORRECTION: 1:57 p.m., August 14: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified which corner is expected to be redeveloped.]
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