WESTSIDE—Atlanta’s urbanist community flew into a tizzy this week after Portman Holdings’ top brass hinted a major land purchase is brewing somewhere along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail.

The commotion stemmed from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story published Tuesday that chronicled Portman’s priority shift from the downtown central city to walkable Midtown and BeltLine areas, noting: “Portman is developing three projects along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail and is under contract to buy 15 acres near the Westside Trail for a fourth development.”

Say what!?!

The linear site in question along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. Brock Built's Ten29 West townhome project is seen at left, as construction began a couple of years ago. Courtesy of Allen Morris Company

We checked with Portman reps for details on this fabled purchase, who confirmed a sale is pending but that it’s “too early to share” more details. Could it be a coincidence The Allen Morris Company—the developer behind West Midtown’s growing Star Metals District—happens to own a 15.5-acre parcel at 1060 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Bankhead and, according to the rumor mill, has been looking to offload it? Allen Morris bought the property, which borders the Westside Trail’s under-construction final segment, for $31 million in 2022.

SOUTHSIDE—City of Atlanta officials caused a stir this week when reporting the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is more than 75 percent complete now, despite what was described as “numerous, repeated criminal attempts to sabotage its progress for nearly two years” that have resulted in more than 170 arrests.

Police officials say the disruptions have “contributed significantly” to the training center’s skyrocketing estimated cost, up from $90 million originally to a projected $109.6 million today. (Included in the new number is $6 million for additional security and $400,000 for increased insurance rates, per city officials.) Neither the city nor taxpayers will be on the hook for the additional nearly $20 million, as the original allocation of $31 million for the training center remains unchanged, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ office insists.

Tentative breakdown of planned uses at the now $110-million training complex, as approved by Atlanta City Council in 2021. Atlanta Police Foundation

According to the city, construction on the new training center—what opponents have derisively coined “Cop City”—is on pace to finish in December. Grading, utilities infrastructure, and other site work is ongoing.  

CITYWIDE—As an eagle-eyed reader points out, proposed legislation put forth by Atlanta City Councilmember Marci Collier Overstreet, who represents Southwest Atlanta’s District 11, appears geared toward making the process of building small secondary dwellings on single-family lots more difficult—or at least more complicated.

The legislation would require all detached, single-family dwellings with less than 750 square feet to apply for Special Use Permits that would have to be approved by the city council before building could commence.

According to an overview compiled last month, the legislation’s intent is “not to create a ‘cookie cutter’ effect but to permit structures that are substantially similar to maintain established character in the neighborhoods of Atlanta.” More details here.

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