Developers unveiled plans for a residential high-rise project Tuesday evening they say will innovatively address challenging conditions on a corner lot that’s a relative postage stamp in the northern blocks of Midtown.

The 1405 Spring Street tower proposal, a joint venture by JPX Works and Zeller, is planned to rise 31 stories on a half-acre lot where 18th and Spring streets meet. The palette includes just 150 feet of frontage on both of those streets, which is slimmer than many palatial Atlanta homes.

“This is a very, very small site,” project architect Rob Rule of RJTR Design told members of Midtown Development Review Committee during the group’s September meeting.  

“It’s not just about creating another terrific place to live in Midtown, which it is,” Rule continued. “It actually has a higher aspiration … to bring together really smart design, innovative design, and great creative thinking to break out of the typical, commodity-driven residential mold, while at the same time [solving] a unique challenge.”

The 300,400-square-foot building would bring roughly 325 apartments to the southeast corner of the intersection, across the street from Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts and kitty-corner to The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

To accomplish that, Rule said the building’s nine-story parking deck footprint would be as small as possible and integrated fully into the structure. A 10th-floor amenities level would be more like an open notch in the side of the building, allowing for part of it to be outdoors.

Beginning on the 11th story, residences would have recessed balconies that shift positions going up the tower, tightening its mass and lending the appearance at night of “glowing glass blocks” peering toward the Connector and downtown, said Rule.

The entirety of the building will be skinned in a simple pattern of metal and glass, while designs for resident spaces at street level will emphasize verticality to draw one’s eyes upward, Rule said.

“It’s going to have a great presence over Spring Street and the Connector,” added the architect.

Plans for the southeast corner of Spring and 18th streets. Courtesy of JPX Works; RJTR Design

Since 2012, the site has been home to the 16,500-square-foot Judge G. Alan Blackburn Conference Center, which will be razed. It sold a year ago for $4 million. 

Midtown DRC members generally commended the designs—with one member calling the project “beautiful”—though they emphasized the building could improve its ambitions toward being environmentally friendly. Ensuring the parking structure is fully obscured and burying the power lines at street level is also preferred, per the Midtown DRC.

“We’re not closing the door on burying the utilities, that’s our preference,” though it could be logistically and financially difficult, Rule said.

Otherwise, “I and our DRC members think your project looks quite good,” said Karl Smith-Davids, Midtown Alliance’s senior project manager. The board doesn’t approve or disallow development projects but provides formal recommendations to City of Atlanta staff.

In a press release issued to Urbanize Atlanta during the meeting, JPX Works’ founding principal Jarel Portman said his team “loves this neighborhood” and had spent “a lot of time looking for the right site for our next project. We look forward to adding another boldly designed tower to Atlanta’s skyline.”

The company’s first large venture, the Inman Quarter mixed-use development, transformed the commercial heart of Inman Park and later sold for $72.5 million. Next came the aluminum-clad, puzzle-like Lilli Midtown apartments along Peachtree Street, near the Fox Theatre, which managed to add no new parking by tapping into an existing hotel deck.

Zeller’s founder and chairman, Paul Zeller, complimented JPX Works in the release for “excellent projects that [prove] a well-designed and executed project can lift an area far beyond the site boundary,” said Zeller. “Their excitement for that level of impact is directly in line with ours.”

According to the developers, construction at 1405 Spring Street is scheduled to begin in May and finish in April 2024.

The development team also includes Atlanta’s Square Feet Studio for interior designs, Ironwood Design Group for landscapes, and general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie. Have a closer look at the site and plans in the gallery above. 

View of the project from the south, over Spring Street, according to renderings. Courtesy of JPX Works; RJTR Design

• Recent Midtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)