Building plans up for Kennesaw council approval
by Marcus E Howard
July 02, 2012 02:03 AM | 7714 views | 9 9 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A rendering of the four-story, mixed-use building at the
corner of Main Street and Watts Drive. (MDJ/Special)
A rendering of the four-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Main Street and Watts Drive. (MDJ/Special)
KENNESAW – Plans are underway that, if approved, will noticeably change the landscape of downtown Kennesaw.

The Kennesaw City Council will meet tonight to decide whether to approve conceptual plans for the construction of an estimated $26 million four-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Main Street and Watts Drive. Project designs include 9,000 square feet of street front retail space, 240 apartment units and 638 parking spaces.

Projects in the city’s central business district require approval from the Kennesaw Development Authority and Historic Preservation Commission prior to approval by the mayor and council. Each entity approved the project in June.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

For years, the city has had its sights set on developing the 5-acre site which at present is mostly wooded. In 2008, much of the land was purchased from the Hamby family by the city and KDA, with the county buying adjacent property for a passive park.

Atlanta-based developer South City Partners has been in discussions with the city to purchase the land for approximately $2.1 million, plus accrued interest up to closing.

Mayor Mark Mathews said the deal would be a good one for the city because it meets two pressing needs: economic development and parking.

“One of the key defining issues with our downtown is the lack of parking,” said Mathews. “As a result, it has been the vision of the city for any project developed on the Main Street at Watts Drive property would incorporate a parking deck.”

South City Partners Director John Long said approximately 45 percent of parking at the development would be designated for public use.

No commercial tenants have been lined up for the development, said Long, whose company is also behind the Sanctuary at Kennesaw housing development under construction on Cherokee Street at McCollum Parkway.

The apartment homes – designed to condominium specifications – will be one- and two-bedroom units priced in the $700 to $1,600 a month range, he said. He said the building would be composed of a series of brick- and lap siding-fronted sections with a circa 1900 look, designed to blend in with the surrounding architecture of downtown.

The Preston Partnership, an Atlanta-based design firm, came up with the design plans.

At four-stories tall, the building would noticeably stand out among the predominantly two- and three-story structures that make up the central business district.

Darryl Simmons, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, said the proposed project falls within the city’s height guidelines, as evidence by its approval by the Historic Preservation Commission.

“Because it’s in a historic district, it has to be a certain height that’s compatible with adjacent property and the scale that’s been established by downtown Main Street,” Simmons said.

“This is not the first project that shows four-stories that the city has approved. We look at each proposal on its own merit and this is going to be a dynamic project for downtown that’s much anticipated and much needed to promote redevelopment for downtown.”

If approved by city officials, the project could be on track to begin construction as soon as the first quarter of 2013 and take between 12 and 16 months to complete, said Long.

“Kennesaw’s got a big focus on making a livable downtown and we just love the idea of being apart of that,” Long said.

Mathews said the project fits into the overall plan for growth he has for the city.

“In addition to parking, our downtown is in need for retail/commercial/restaurant, as well as in-town living,” he said.

“All of these needs are also being addressed in the plan. To summarize, the concept being considered should meet the desired vision of the city, and if approved, can move to the next steps.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Joe Bozeman
July 06, 2012
I hope I am wrong, but I have seen at least 5 of this type of project proposed for the downtown area.. I predict this one will fall by the wayside like all the others. I believe I will be resting in the Kennesaw Cemetery before a project like this is completed.
July 06, 2012
@ Joe bozoman

First, learn to use correct language "these" instead of "this" type project. Did you go to Due West Elementary?
July 03, 2012
Anyone know about a recently filed ethics complaint about the Mayor? Has to do with his job as Mayor and a conflict with this ambulance business.

Sounds interesting.
Tex G K
July 03, 2012
I pass by that spot 5 days a week and never even paid any attention to it, drove by today enroute to the post office and finally noticed it. I guess it will be good for K. The downtown is nothing now - except the museum.

I do wonder how they are getting 240 units plus retail shops in that one building, seems that there will be a lot of people/traffic for those one lane each direction streets downtown.

If we had a better City Comm I would just say, 'Well I guess they know what they are doing!', but with this bunch I just wonder if it will turn out to be a slum or attract downmarket types to the area.

I guess I will get to watch them build it for the next year as I drive by on Main St.
Tex G
July 02, 2012
This stinks. More government pandering to insiders.

The mayor is as usual a complete doofus.

Hey Bill Harris better make sure there is no pawn shop there! Now you have a reason to exist again.
bill smith
July 02, 2012
More junk apartment with a 20 mile per speed trap downtown kennesaw.the traffice downtown will be a real nightmare.Maybe the mayor will direct traffic and all of kennesaw police finest will help with the counsel.More Revenue for the big city pension.
Pension ???????
July 02, 2012
Don't know who is telling you about a city pension, cause we can't get a raise in over 5 years. Time for you to get your stuff straight, the only folks getting raises are upper management. Mr. Smith you are one of the problems in Kennesaw, thinking all employees are getting raises, if you know something most of us don't please let us know....I wish we got a raise, but dont see another one for years, cause the Mayor doesn't think city employee deserve raises....Look before you speak, just sayin....
Long Time Resident
July 02, 2012
Glad to finally see some new development downtown! It's been a long time coming and hopefully generate some additional development in the downtown area.
Kennesaw Voter
July 02, 2012
I think this development sounds fantastic for downtown Kennesaw...I wish the MDJ had published an artists rendering of what it would look like. Guess i will be attending the meeting tonight in hopes of seeing it.
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