Buckhead-based Branch Capital Partners plans to file a rezoning application with the city to develop Jonquil Village, an 11-acre site at the corner of Atlanta Road and Spring Street.
The development was first introduced in 2006 and was intended to be a $181 million mixed-use project including 20,000 square feet of office space, 160,000 square feet of retail space, 300 luxury condominiums and an underground parking deck.
It was supposed to open in May 2009 but the development fell victim to the Great Recession and has since changed developers several times.
Now, Branch Capital Partners is moving toward a smaller but still significant project.
A plan submitted to the city in August showed 277 apartments and 17,300 square feet of retail space that is expected to be all restaurants, said Ken Suddreth, community development director for the city of Smyrna.
That proposed plan hasn’t been acted on. Branch Capital Partners has revisited the plan and had sought a rezoning from the city. That request is expected to be tabled at Monday’s planning and zoning board meeting to give the company more time to hash out its plans, Suddreth said.
Those plans haven’t been submitted to the city yet.
Suddreth couldn’t say when construction would begin, when the project might be finished or the cost of the development. Branch Capital Partners did not return phone calls Friday.
The city’s planning and zoning board will hear the rezoning request at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at City Hall, 2800 King St. The City Council will hear the case at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, also at City Hall.
Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz represents the ward in which the development is proposed and is excited to hear the plans are rolling again. She says it’s being viewed as a 50-year project and “has to be done right,” unlike other apartment communities that have been developed in the city’s past — they started out as popular places to live only to haunt the city later on as expensive redevelopment projects.
A history of good apartments gone bad
In recent years, Smyrna leaders have made an effort to raze troublesome apartment complexes. About 10 percent of the city’s rental units have been removed.
Anulewicz says the city lacks attractive rental housing.
“There is a big gap in our residential offerings in Smyrna right now,” she said. “If you’re a young professional with no interest in home ownership … there’s nowhere for you to live in Smyrna.”
Though the city has bought out some apartment complexes and spent taxpayer money to knock them down, Anulewicz says multi-family developments can be attractive and a draw for the community.
“If we’re going to truly be forward thinking … We have to explore different kinds of housing,” she said.
Some residents not on board with plan
Suddreth says he thinks residents are happy to hear something is happening with the property but are apprehensive.
“I think people are glad that conversations are occurring,” he said. “I’m not sure that everybody is … completely supportive of what the current proposal is.”
That’s because some residents were looking forward to the larger project, said Jennifer Bennett, city spokeswoman. She also defended the plans to put apartments on the site following the city’s effort to remove some rental units.
“There’s a big difference between high-end rental and 40-year-old declining rental,” Bennett said.
When the development was first proposed, builders won city approval for a $26.2 million tax allocation district subsidy, but that funding fell through after a court battle.
Suddreth said developers this time around are not requesting that tax subsidy.