City DopeNews

Mixed-Use Development Proposed in Normaltown

Three local developers have proposed a mixed-use development for 1190 Prince Ave., the parking lot between Rite-Aid and McDonald’s.

Developers Trey Wallace, John Stamm and Bryan Austin have assembled seven parcels—most of them owned by Athens Regional—totaling about six acres, including the drug store, which will be preserved. “It’s round. It’s unique. They like keeping it there,” said their lawyer, Jim Warnes.

Plans submitted to Athens-Clarke County call for one larger building with a 28,700 square-foot retail space on the ground floor (possibly—stop me if you’ve heard this before—a grocery store) and three floors of apartments above, with a total of 96 bedrooms in one- and two-bedroom units. (The fourth floor would be set back from the street.) The target market is people working at the hospital or the UGA Health Sciences Campus, Warnes said.

The density is right for the neighborhood, Link said. “We want to get people living in town, but that’s not so crazy that’ll have a huge impact,” she said.

Next door would be a smaller two-story building with space for two small retail stores and a restaurant with a patio, and a parking deck attached. Cars would enter and exit the deck through the top level on Prince; the bottom level would be built into the hillside.

The plans include about 1.6 acres of green space surrounding a creek on the back side of the property, along with a pathway connecting the development to Hiawassee Avenue and another pedestrian entrance off Nacoochee Avenue.

The lot was once the Prince Rondoval apartments, which were torn down at least a decade ago to make way for a medical office building that never materialized. Athens Regional bought the vacant lot and has been using it for parking ever since.

So far, the development has been drawing rave reviews from neighborhood residents. The developers and architect Bob Smith met several times with Link, as well as Normaltown, Cobbham and Boulevard residents and the Upper Oconee Watershed Network. “They laid out a blank slate and said, ‘What do y’all want to see?’” Link said. “When does that ever happen? It’s a dream scenario.”

Parts of the property are zoned residential, so Warnes will be seeking to rezone those portions to commercial-neighborhood, like the Prince Avenue frontage. The ACC Planning Commission is expected to consider the request at its Dec. 1 meeting.