A year after plans emerged for a southeast Atlanta housing development along Moreland Avenue with a startlingly large scope, the project is coming into clearer focus, with a goal of ramping up construction in coming weeks.

Called “Moreland & Custer,” the mixed-use venture by partners Empire Communities and Trammell Crow Residential would wipe away a 1960s-era, suburban-style shopping center called Moreland Plaza.

In its place, some 674 housing units, 14 freestanding buildings, a network of connected greenspaces, a corner building for retail, and a creekside park are planned.

The Moreland & Custer project's 1296 Moreland Avenue location, where suburban-style shopping center Moreland Plaza operated for decades. Google Maps

Saba Loghman, Empire’s director of acquisitions, tells Urbanize Atlanta the project is expected to officially break ground this quarter.

Initially, that will include the demolition of buildings rimming the shopping center’s immense parking lot. Vertical construction is forecasted to start late this year, Loghman said.

The site spans roughly 32 acres, directly south of East Atlanta Village, next to Gresham Park. (For context, Centennial Olympic Park covers 22 acres downtown.)

According to an approved Special Administrative Permit plan, the Moreland & Custer community will be broken down into 260 townhomes and 414 multifamily units situated toward Moreland Avenue, for the most part, with surface parking serving each standalone building.

At the corner of Moreland and Custer avenues, a new retail building with about 20,000 square feet is in the offing.

Loghman said multiple greenspaces and courtyards throughout the property are being finalized with landscape architects now. That includes a planned greenspace, cleanup, and restoration work along Intrenchment Creek, which snakes along the property, immediately to the east.  

Proximity of Moreland & Custer to Intrenchment Creek, at right, where new greenspace and a waterway cleanup is planned, per project officials. Courtesy of Empire Communities

Empire is also continuing to work with the PATH Foundation and other stakeholders regarding a connection to what Loghman called “the new PATH Custer trailhead.”

National multifamily developer Alliance Residential Company had planned a 500-home venture, Broadstone Moreland, at the site but eventually backed away. The shopping center has been mostly vacant for years, and it's almost entirely boarded-up now. 

How a corner retail building and multifamily structures with surface parking would be arranged near Moreland Avenue, according to an approved Special Administrative Permit plan. Courtesy of Empire Communities

Moreland & Custer is the clearest sign to date that intown developers are bullish on the prospects of this section of southeast Atlanta.

Across the street, Royal Oak Development is trying to move the last unsold units at a boutique condo community called Moreland Walk, which was initially priced from the mid-$200,000s.  

Just to the north, another recent mixed-use venture called Halidom on Moreland serves as the national headquarters of IST Management Services. Multifamily and retail components are expected to eventually follow there, also situated on the banks of Intrenchment Creek.

The bulk of the 260-unit townhome section, with Custer Avenue at top. Courtesy of Empire Communities

The southeast section of the property, where the nub at bottom could potentially connect to an adjacent parcel to the south in the future. Courtesy of Empire Communities


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