KENNESAW — The city council was briefed last month on the next step in developing Kennesaw’s downtown area with another large mixed-use project proposed for across from City Hall.
The Dallas Street $20 million development will house 178 one- and two-bedroom rented apartment units located within 24 free-standing buildings, as well as 12,000 square feet of commercial space — including a remodel of a vacant bank building on Watts Drive.
“This is a very big project,” Mayor Mark Mathews said. “This is a very big deal.”
Pace Halter, president of The Halter Companies out of Atlanta, said his company has been acquiring several tracts of land for the 7.5-acre project to be built around existing residential properties just east of Adams Park.
On the site is the historic Lewis House, which Halter said would be restored and preserved as a clubhouse, with offices for the leasing staff next to an added pool.
Construction would begin in the southern portion of the property to redesign public parking lots currently owned by the city. Approximately 83 public parking spaces next to softballs fields at Adams Park would be replaced with about 100 public spaces, some within the development.
As part of an agreement with the city, the developers will also install parallel parking spaces on both sides of Dallas Street adjacent to the proposed site.
The developer will also contribute $5,000 to install shields on the field lights to direct the glow to the fields and away from the new residences.
Halter said the project could be completed in as little as 15 months or as long as 20 months.
Concerns about the increase in traffic going to and from the future apartments was addressed by a traffic impact study from Croy Engineering.
The data was collected over seven days and included workweek commutes and weekend activities.
One example cited in the report stated traffic on Watts Drive past City Hall totaled 5,615 vehicles on weekdays, with 3,630 to 4,063 on weekends.
Daniel Dobry, a transportation engineering manager with Croy Engineering, said an additional 4,000 vehicle trips per day will be generated from the apartments and retail shops at both the Dallas Street Development and the Main Street Development, which has already broken ground a block away.
One way to address the increased flow of traffic will be the installation of a roundabout designed by Croy at the intersection of Dallas Street and Watts Drive, which Dobry said would calm traffic speeds to navigate the circle.
Part of the traffic study was initiated in response to a request by Halter’s company to close a portion of Lewis Street from North Main Street to Dallas Street.
The angled road is often used as a shortcut, with cars traveling 5 to 15 mph over the speed limit, Dobry said. Croy’s traffic report stated more than 650 vehicles travel on Lewis Street on weekdays, with half that amount on weekends.
Even with the speeding and use as cut-through corner, Dobry said, “Closing a street is not an easy proposition.”
Because the necessary advertising has not been completed, a public hearing on the road closure will be conducted at a later time.
Mathews said any approval given for the Dallas Street Development at a council meeting will be for the concept of the design. Further approvals would be needed at various phases of the detailed plan are finalized.
But, if the city council chooses not to close the portion of Lewis Street, Alter said his company would cut back on the plan by four buildings and not develop the property to the Main Street border.
Projects in Kennesaw’s Central Business District require approval from the Kennesaw Development Authority and Historic Preservation Commission prior to approval by the mayor and council.
The HPC approved the concept design 5-0 April 15. The KDDA had a special called meeting on April 22 and approved the project 6-1 with Shannan Smith opposed, who shared concerns regarding the renter versus owner-occupied space.
Mathews said the Dallas Street Development fits the goals of “what we want to see in our downtown Central Business District,” with the project encompassing three blocks designed to give a feel of historic homes.
The newest proposed project is in line with one that was approved a couple months ago for a prominent space downtown.
The Main Street development is composed of more than 250 “luxury” rental apartments, as well as 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.