New City Properties is preparing to expand the sizable footprint of its Fourth Ward project and add hundreds of housing units to a new district that already counts four towers on former parking lots and vacant land in a red-hot BeltLine neighborhood.

New City filed plans with the City of Atlanta’s Office of Zoning and Development on June 30 to bring two parcels into its existing master plan for new construction. Both were added to New City’s holdings in the area after the company had bought 12 acres from Georgia Power Company for $34 million six years ago.

The properties in question include the former Venkman’s restaurant and live music venue and a neighboring building where New City currently houses its offices. The developer is asking that both parcels, totaling 1.9 acres, be rezoned to allow for mixed-use development, eliminating a current industrial zoning designation with one of them.

The properties in question along Ralph McGill Boulevard, as seen in January. Google Maps

Where the Fourth Ward phase designed by Barkow Leibinger is expected to take shape, just south of existing office, hotel, and apartment structures. Google Maps

According to paperwork filed with the city, roughly 400 residential units are in the works, with estimated rents to be determined. The project would replace existing buildings and include about 460 feet of frontage on Ralph McGill Boulevard, about a block west of the BeltLine’s popular Eastside Trail.

Jim Irwin, New City president, tells Urbanize Atlanta the design process for Fourth Ward project’s next residential component—following the newly opened, 18-story Overline Residences building—remains in fledgling stages. But New City has hired Berlin-based architecture firm Barkow Leibinger to “bring European sensibility” and design an “incredibly special” building that would act as the project’s southwestern-most front door, per Irwin.

Exactly how tall Fourth Ward project’s next residential structure might stand has yet to be determined.

“We’re still so early in the process, we’re trying to sort through all of that,” said Irwin. “I think you can assume it will be of a similar scale and proportion [to existing Fourth Ward project buildings], but we’ll be sensitive to view corridors and adjacent properties.”  

The parcels in question, as seen from the east. Urbanize Atlanta

Founded in 1993, Barkow Leibinger’s international works range from office and public buildings to residential and industrial interiors. Notable project’s in the firm’s portfolio include the zig-zagging B:HUB building adjacent to a Berlin train station, Chicago’s TRUMPF Smart Factory, and Potsdam’s Biosphere.

“We have the privilege of working in cities across Europe and the Americas, and it’s rare to find a project as unique and compelling as New City’s in the Fourth Ward,” said Frank Barkow, the firm’s cofounder and principal, in a statement provided to Urbanize Atlanta. “We’re honored to contribute another architectural layer to what is already a world-class project.”

Last week’s rezoning application notes that commercial uses will also be included with the next Fourth Ward project phase. It calls the parcels “underdeveloped and underutilized” today, with “large, paved parking areas that are eyesores, while nearby and adjacent properties are developed with a thriving mixed-use development.”

The application promises to incorporate new connective streets, sidewalks, and public spaces to help link the property and neighborhood with Fourth Ward Park and the BeltLine, while “adequate vehicle and bicycle parking will be provided onsite in screened and appropriately scaled parking structures,” per the filing.

Viewed from the north, the Fourth Ward project's next residential phase would rise behind the new 18-story Overline Residences building. Rendering courtesy of New City Properties; design architecture, Olson Kundig

Elsewhere around the property, Irwin said Mailchimp’s buildout of its new headquarters space is “making great progress” in the project’s first office component, with move-ins still on pace for this fall.

A third, taller office tower just south of Mailchimp’s new HQ expected to be under construction last year remains in an “any-minute-now position” but has yet to break ground, Irwin says.

“We’re ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Irwin said of the third office building. “We can start excavation at any point.”


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• Old Fourth Ward news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)