A petition declaring “No Dorms in Summerhill!” is aiming to galvanize opposition to a new student-housing proposal in the historic neighborhood near Georgia State University’s campus and new sports facilities.

The pushback involves a Parkwood Development project that would replace a vacant church with housing for 63 students in the northern reaches of Summerhill, near Interstate 20 and Georgia State’s new convocation center, basketball arena, and concert hall.

Plans for the 481 Martin Street project were filed with the city on Jan. 12.

Parkwood Development; designs, Place Maker Design

According to the opposition, the 85-foot-tall building would negatively impact Summerhill parking, traffic patterns, and utilities used by many single-family residences in the area. “This development,” notes a flyer circulating online, “may also negatively impact the crime rate and stormwater issues in this area.”

The half-acre property’s former owner, Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church, has sold to Parkwood Development. Public hearings involving the developer’s plans are set for a Summerhill community meeting Feb. 6 and an NPU-V meeting March 13, per the petition.

The project is also scheduled to come before the City of Atlanta’s Board of Zoning Adjustment on March 9, according to the Office of Zoning and Development. (The property is currently zoned RG-3, which allows for general multifamily use with a specific density limit.) 

The petition asks if variances Parkwood is requesting should be denied. Among those is a request to reduce the required 63 parking spaces at the building—one for each unit—down to 24 spaces.  

The reasoning for that potential reduction, according to architects with Place Maker Design, is as follows:

“As the development is targeting Georgia State University students, it is anticipated that not all residents will have cars. The property is less than a half mile from the downtown campus and [thus] is walkable,” according to an application filed with the city earlier this month. “The new residential building will provide increased inside bike storage from that required by the zoning ordinance as residents will also bike to campus. Electric bike charging stations will be provided for those residents with electric bikes.”

The application goes on to note the student housing building would be less than half a mile from a new Publix-anchored shopping center and retail destinations along Georgia Avenue. Bus transit along Capitol and Georgia avenues, Hill Street, and Memorial Drive is also nearby, in addition to a GSU shuttle, per the paperwork.

The Martin Street site (in red) where dorms are proposed, as seen several years ago when Broadstone Summerhill apartments were beginning construction across the street. Google Maps

Current conditions at the 481 Martin Street location, the former Philadelphia Mission Baptist Church that's been sold to developers. Parkwood Development; designs, Place Maker Design

All 63 units would house one student and would be furnished, cutting down on vehicle traffic associated with moving in and out, per the application.

“We believe this proposed development is in line with the City of Atlanta’s vision of having walkable neighborhoods and reducing vehicular traffic in Atlanta,” noted the architecture firm.

While relatively pint-sized dorms might be a new concept for the neighborhood, the project would hardly be the only multifamily build to sprout in the northern blocks of Summerhill in recent years. Others include Alliance Residential Company’s 276-unit Broadstone Summerhill complex (now Victory at Summerhill) across the street.

Parkwood Development; designs, Place Maker Design


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Summerhill news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)