Opponents of a student-housing concept in Summerhill near Georgia State University facilities appear to have succeed in their quest to kill the project.

That’s according to a flyer being circulated for a community meeting this evening. It indicates developers have drastically changed plans for 481 Martin Street, a vacant church property just southeast of downtown near Interstate 20 and Georgia State’s new convocation center, basketball arena, and concert hall.

Parkwood Development filed plans with the city in January to replace the empty church with housing for 63 students in a four-story building in Summerhill's northernmost blocks.

All 63 units would have housed one student and come furnished, cutting down on vehicle traffic associated with moving in and out, per the developer’s application. To encourage walkability, the proposal asked for a variance to reduce the building’s required 63 parking spaces (one for each apartment/dorm) down to 24 spaces.

Those plans appear to have been scrapped.

Parkwood Development; designs, Place Maker Design

On the boards now are 15 townhomes arranged around the corner property, each standing three stories with partial roof decks.

All townhomes would have two-car garages accessed from an internal driveway. Floorplans and other details are pending community input, per the meeting’s announcement.

Exactly why the developer is changing tactics isn’t yet clear. Inquiries to Parkwood officials weren’t immediately retuned today. We’ll update this story with any input that comes.

As student housing, the concept was quick to attract neighborhood concern.

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

Parkwood Development; designs, Place Maker Design

A petition declaring “No Dorms in Summerhill!” aimed to galvanize opposition in January. According to that document, 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,” noted another flyer, “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. The parcel is currently zoned RG-3, which allows for general multifamily use with a specific density limit.

Whatever’s built on site 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 earlier project’s application.

Atlantans feeling a sense of déjà vu might recall how another relatively dense Summerhill project—a stack of for-sale condos on Georgia Avenue—was also scrapped for a corner full of townhomes, which are under construction now.

While relatively pint-sized dorms might have been 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.

Details circulating for a Summerhill meeting this evening. Submitted


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