Plans are coming into clearer focus for a mixed-use proposal that aims to infuse housing options, commercial activity, and general vibrancy into the historic core of Lakewood Heights.
St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, a volunteer-driven nonprofit established in 1903 with a focus on providing housing and tackling hunger from 73 service hubs across the state, has owned a corner property at 1700 Lakewood Avenue since 2014.
Formerly home to a SunTrust Bank branch, the parcels are a prominent piece of several intersections that form Lakewood Heights’ commercial district.
SVDP plans to spend about $30 million—an unprecedented private investment in Lakewood Heights, according to neighbors—on a flagship development that would increase density and, in theory, help revitalize the downtown area.
A series of four community workshops have been held to gather input this year. Those included a design update last month for two Cooper Carry-designed concepts as developers start to prepare the project for a rezoning application and civil engineering work.
The 1700 Lakewood Avenue site is situated about a mile east of Lakewood Amphitheatre, roughly four miles from downtown Atlanta. Neighboring properties house historic Lakewood Heights storefronts, an Amoco gas station, idle lots formerly home to fast-food franchises, and a Family Dollar store.
The sprawling, post-industrial property where the Sawtell development has recently shown signs of life is located a few blocks to the northeast in Chosewood Park.
According to SVDP’s latest presentation, the project would create a pedestrian-oriented environment with new living options within the commercial district to help “support a more sustainable and varied business environment.” Two adjacent single-family parcels facing away from Lakewood Avenue would be include in the redevelopment, according to the latest plans.
The most recent design iterations—two configurations are being considered—call for 72 apartments and 7,500 square feet of retail space. One concept calls for a three-story building and the other four, with the massing shifted in the latter to allow for a communal greenspace on one corner.
SVDP officials say the building will have a mixed-income rent structure, with roughly 30 percent of units being three-bedroom apartments that are more conducive to families. A third of the apartments would rent at fair market rates for Lakewood Heights, according to SVDP.
Community feedback so far indicates neighbors want to see the commercial space used for food options such as a sandwich shop, a family healthcare provider, a bank branch, or a combination of those.
We’ve reached out to SVDP officials for information on when they hope to break ground, and we’ll update this story with any additional intel that comes.
According to the latest meeting summary, the Lakewood Avenue project is scheduled to go before the city for land-use amendment and rezoning hearings (from residential to MRC-1 for mixed uses) in March.
Find more context and project imagery in the gallery above.
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