October 23, 2012

New Downtown Buildings

A Chicago developer is planning a mixed-use development on the west end of downtown Athens.

A new mixed-use development is coming to the downtown block between Broad, Clayton, Lumpkin and Hull streets.

Chicago developers GEM Realty Capital is planning three or four six-story buildings in the space now occupied by SunTrust Bank, said David Dwyer, managing director of Atlas Realty Advisors. Part of the property is within the downtown historic district, and the owners filed for a permit Monday afternoon. Construction will start when Athens-Clarke County approves the permits and finish in the spring of 2015, he said.

The development would replace a surface parking lot, an approximately 35-year-old addition to the original SunTrust building at the corner of Broad and Lumpkin streets and another addition built in 1984, Dwyer said. It won't affect other storefronts along Lumpkin and Clayton streets, including Little Italy, the Globe, Georgia Bar and the yellow "telephone building," he said.

The parcels' zoning allows 292 bedrooms in the development, but Dwyer said an exact number or mix of units hasn't been decided. The apartments will be aimed at professionals, especially those who've moved here from a dense city or want that type of lifestyle, he said. "It's an opportunity to have a true urban living experience that we don't think is available for anyone (in Athens) right now," he said.

The development will also include about 50,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, divided into several spaces. "While we can't promise a grocery store... that's certainly what we'd love to have," Dwyer said.

The development will be broken up into three or four buildings to reduce its mass, Dwyer said. Some of the facades will be red brick and part will be glass and steel, he said.

Limited parking will be underground, Dwyer said. The West Washington Street parking deck is across the street, and the development wouldn't be feasible without it, he said.

Check back for a rendering of the new development.