The John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods development at Meeting Park, which is off Roswell Street by the Square’s southeastern border, began putting homes up for sale two months ago, but the commercial section of the area is still in the planning stages.
Bryan Musolf, director of land acquisitions for the company, said he wants to see a restaurant park next to the townhomes. The company is still searching for a developer who can create a commercial area with four to five locally-owned restaurants without spending too much money, Musolf said.
“There’s a lot of challenges with (the restaurant park), a lot of which are financial,” Musolf said.
Musolf said he would like to see the area provide “chef-driven” restaurants, similar to those surrounding the Square.
“The Square is great, but I don’t think it’s meeting the potential demand for restaurants,” Musolf said.
The area is attractive, Musolf said, because residents of the development can walk to the Square in minutes. He said restaurants even closer to the homes would improve Meeting Park.
“One of the things we love about Meeting Park the most is the walkability,” Musolf said.
Finding the money to make this vision a reality has proven very challenging, Musolf said. He said funding the project would be difficult even if Smyrna-based John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods sold the land for less than it originally paid for it.
“If we can’t figure out a way to do this at some point, it won’t make sense,” Musolf said.
Businesses and a bank have offered to buy the land, Musolf said, so it could be sold off as commercial property if the restaurant idea becomes too expensive to be feasible.
New homes for sale
Bob Silverman, president of Atlanta-based Winter Properties, originally planned the townhomes on the property when he purchased it for $8.4 million from the Marietta Housing Authority in April 2006.
But the project stalled after the first 15 homes didn’t sell. Regions Bank foreclosed on the properties in 2009.
Then, Marietta-based Walton Communities bought the property in 2010 for an undisclosed sum from Regions Bank.
John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods purchased the 12-acre site in December from Walton Communities. Before recent developments, 18 unfinished townhomes stood on the site.
Meeting Park is now advertising 22 homes for sale. They are a mixture of two- and three-bedroom townhomes that rise three stories high. The homes are built on lots 50 feet by 150 feet in size.
Rickey Dulaney, a Wieland project manager and builder on site at Meeting Park, said 10 homes were sold in the first 60 days on the market.
Half of those were the new single-family homes, about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet each and ranging from $430,000 to $510,000. The other five that sold were townhomes already built at Meeting Park. Those townhomes range from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet and are $200,000 to $425,000.
“It’s more of an in-town look with a mixture of a lot of materials like brick, stucco, siding and cedar shakes,” Dulaney said.
The homes will be ready to move in to during October or November, Dulaney said, and they will be painted sometime in the next three weeks.
Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development manager, said she was happy to see the new townhomes finally going up. She said the company just told the city of plans to start another round of building.
She said five single-family sized homes are being built on Meeting Street and five more and being built on Summerour Street inside Meeting Park.
“They’re building those right now, and they’re marketing the townhomes that are already built as well,” Sessoms said.