Marietta Walk: City’s ‘PVC farm’ prepares for 76 homes
by Hilary Butschek
August 27, 2014 04:00 AM | 4466 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Councilman Grif Chalfant and Department of Development Services for the city, Director Brian Binzer, look over the plans for the rejuvenation of Marietta Walk.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Marietta City Councilman Grif Chalfant and Department of Development Services for the city, Director Brian Binzer, look over the plans for the rejuvenation of Marietta Walk.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
Chalfant and Binzer look over the 10-acre site of a project, located off Powder Springs Road, that will feature 76 new single-family detached homes and townhomes spread out over the site, which stalled in 2008. The ground will be turned for construction in the next 30 to 60 days.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Chalfant and Binzer look over the 10-acre site of a project, located off Powder Springs Road, that will feature 76 new single-family detached homes and townhomes spread out over the site, which stalled in 2008. The ground will be turned for construction in the next 30 to 60 days.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
A 10-acre site near Marietta Square that has been sitting vacant for the last eight years will finally become the neighborhood it was meant to be in plans first drawn up in 2006.

The developer, Minerva, an Atlanta-based real estate company, bought the property, which is off Powder Springs Street between the Square and the Marietta Conference Center, in June for an undisclosed price and plans to build 76 homes there.

The City Council will consider approving the plans for development known as Marietta Walk at tonight’s meeting.

The plans for a mix of single-family homes and townhomes prepared by Caldwell Cline Architectural Designers will be presented to the public works committee, which is chaired by Councilman Grif Chalfant.

“I’m excited about this,” Chalfant said. “I really like this architect. I’ve built his plans before, and these are top-notch plans.”

The company plans to build 18 single-family homes and 58 townhouses on eight acres of the property. Each lot for the detached three-story homes will be between 6,000 to 7,000 square feet, said Rusty Roth, the city’s zoning manager.

“They’re going to be Craftsman style homes, and they have a mix of brick and stone as well as some wood siding and cedar shake shingles,” Roth said.

Brian Binzer, the city’s development services director, said if the council approves the plans at its next meeting on Sept. 10, construction could start in late September or early October. Binzer estimated it would take between one-and-a-half and two years to complete all the homes.

“But they’ll have houses for sale in six months,” Binzer said.

The development will be completed quickly once building begins, Binzer said, because the underground utility and piping work is already finished from when the Myrick Company, based in Alpharetta, which previously owned the property, was started.

Longtime empty lot

In 2011, Myrick, the developer of what was to be a $50 million mixed-use development at Marietta Walk, filed for bankruptcy before completing construction of the residential and commercial area.

Myrick bought the site where the former public housing project known as Johnny Walker Homes was located in 2006, paying the city $3.1 million.

The Marietta Housing Authority sold the property to the city in 2003 after its own development plans ran into obstacles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Myrick intended to build the same 58 townhomes and 18 single-family homes Minerva will present to the city tonight. Myrick also planned in 2006 to build a commercial retail area on the two acres of the property that face Powder Springs Street, including retail shops on the main level with condominiums above.

Myrick started on the project, digging underground to put in utilities, paving roads and installing streetlights, but the project stalled when the Great Recession hit.

The lot has been empty and overgrown ever since, with PVC pipes sticking up out of the ground where each house was meant to go.

“It’s going to be so good to get rid of this PVC farm,” Chalfant said.

Binzer said the new plans for the neighborhood differ from the old ones when it comes to a two-acre portion of the property on the road. Minerva does not plan to build commercial buildings there.

“(Minerva) will come back to the council in a few months with a redesign for that part to be all residential,” Binzer said. “They’re just trying to decide right now if they want it to be single-family homes or townhomes.”

Dan Buyers, the real estate agent who represented Minerva along with Nelson Binson, said buildings with retail on the ground level and housing on top aren’t popular anymore.

“I would say that the site plan as originally conceived before the recession that had condominiums above commercial retail is probably a less popular style after the recession,” Buyers said. “It was the kind of idea that seemed good before the recession, but now it doesn’t seem as conceivable.”

Buyers said that style of construction has been harder to finance with a bank since the recession.

“Financing for a mixed-use building, like originally conceived, with condominiums above retail, is less likely to be financed before than when it was originally conceived in 2006,” Buyers said.

Comments
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Mike In Smyrna
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August 27, 2014
Between the square and the Marietta Conference Center is a open-end statement - This is a questionable area. What is the market price of the homes and townhouses?
NailOnTheHead
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August 27, 2014
PLEASE tell me that CPC Contractors, owned by councilman Grif Chalfant is not going to be allowed to build even one of the homes! They most likely wouldn't meet city codes and ordinances. If so, I guess the city will just have to keep their blinders own and except his, "I didn't know" excuses. It's time he step down from his council seat and focused on his building. He can't seem to do both at the same time without favors from the city. Maybe retirement is a better option.
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