Once-troubled development gets new life
by Jon Gillooly
April 27, 2013 12:15 AM | 4418 views | 2 2 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Council members Annette Lewis and Philip Goldstein walk through a completed neighborhood in the Manget at Historic Marietta on Friday as they look over the progress of the once-troubled neighborhood, which has found new life.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Marietta City Council members Annette Lewis and Philip Goldstein walk through a completed neighborhood in the Manget at Historic Marietta on Friday as they look over the progress of the once-troubled neighborhood, which has found new life.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
MARIETTA — Slowly but surely, one of the city’s key developments is rising out of the ground, with the Pacific Group planning 25 new homes in the Manget at Historic Marietta neighborhood.

Councilwoman Annette Lewis, who lives in the area, is pleased.

“The new development that’s coming in, the density is a lot lower than what was originally proposed, so we’re all excited to see that come about,” Lewis said.

What was originally planned as townhomes has been revised to single-family detached homes.

Back in 2004, the Manget neighborhood, south of Roswell Road and east of the Square, was a problem.

The neighborhood school, Park Street Elementary, had the highest turnover rate in the system, city manager Bill Bruton said.

“The crime had really gotten out of control in that area, and it was negatively impacting a lot of the area around it, and it was getting worse,” Bruton said.

The heart of the problem was 30 “quadplex” buildings – duplexes stacked on each other – that went for weekly rentals.

In 2005, the city used a tax allocation district to buy those rental units, on a 7.8-acre tract, for $5 million, then demolished the duplexes. It then sold the property to Hedgewood Homes for about $1.5 million, Bruton said.

Hedgewood expanded its footprint by buying surrounding acreage and received approval to build 265 units on 17.5 acres that were to be a mix of single-family detached townhomes and condos.

Hedgewood was able to build 12 single-family homes, 14 townhomes and an eight-unit condo building on part of the site before the recession struck and BB&T foreclosed on the property in 2008.

Local developer Dan Burge of Marietta stepped in to buy the property out of foreclosure, selling two lots to Piedmont Residential, which built two homes on Victor Street that advertise in the $300,000s, one at 2,600 square feet and one at 2,900 square feet, said Brian Binzer, the city’s development services director.

Burge sold the rest of the property to the Pacific Group in December.

While the development is not complete, the transformation is already noticeable, Lewis said.

“You have a lot of people out walking their dogs and all,” Lewis said. “Also, a lot of the people who live in the neighborhood are employed on the Square, so you have those who are walking to work every day and home. You have more of a sense of community, where you know everybody’s names, and you can wave at them and talk to them as they’re walking past.”

Last week, the Marietta City Council authorized the Pacific Group to revise the plan from the remaining 39 units left to be built, shrinking that number down to 25. This was done because Pacific Group asked to build mostly single-family detached homes in the quadrant rather than townhomes.

In June, Pacific will ask to rezone another quadrant of the development around Waterman, Lakewood, Frasier and Manget streets.

The Pacific Group is using Brock Built Homes to build the homes, marketing them in the $280,000s to $450,000s, Binzer said.

While the recession stalled the development, Bruton said he’s still glad the city took the action it did.

“The crime statistics in that area just fell through the floor, and also the school district saw some real changes at Park Street, which was great,” Bruton said. “Before we did the project, there wasn’t a property anywhere in that general area that was selling for more than $120,000. We really changed the market there, we’ve got a lot more home ownership that’s gone back in, we’ll have a lot more by the time they develop, so it’s becoming one of our signature neighborhoods that we have in the city instead of being this blighted, run down, cancer on the middle of the city that it was previously.”
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just one cancer?
April 27, 2013
So now the remaining blighted, run down, cancer on the middle of the city is 120 Loop. Whitlock could recover if the 120 Loop were got rid of just West of the tracks like it used to be. All the West Cobb to Galleria or Atlanta traffic should be able to use 280, if only 280 didn't turn due South after it passes under those darn tracks.

Since those darn tracks are there and we are stuck with them, why don't we buy CSX some land for a train-285 through West Georgia and then use the tracks here for commuters?

The communites along New Jersey Transit stops (the train into Manthattan) are among the most sought after and expensive suburban residential properties in metro NY. With all the transplants here, the same model would work here.

Whatever money we put into transit would be made back dozens of times over by increased property values and thus increased property taxes, not to mention the savings we would all see on horribly wasteful (not to mention fatal) cars and gasoline.
April 27, 2013
People should recognize it has taken 8 years so far--from 2005 to 2013--to realize the dream here and still more work is being done. Congrats, but still recognize blighted areas don't get revitalized by poof it is done. It takes millions of dollars and tons of effort.
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