Redevelopment plans for an abandoned watch factory off Newton Bridge Road now include a hotel.
An Atlanta development group known as Westclox Rocks recently submitted revised plans for the General Time project on 35 acres across the street from Terrapin Brewery. A Terrapin warehouse is one of the development’s anchor tenants, along with a call center for the online furniture retailer Wayfair. The development will also include a music venue, some office and retail space, 100 one-bedroom apartments and 100 two-bedroom apartments.
Athens-Clarke County planning staff noted that the development “would attract visitors to a destination site in an area with predominantly industrial and pass-through traffic, so it has the potential to change the dynamic of the area.” They raised concerns about introducing residential units into an industrial part of town. The developer is seeking a rezoning from industrial to office, as well as several waivers to the county zoning code.
Another proposed development nearby, on seven vacant acres at the intersection of Barber and Tracy streets near Buvez and Active Climbing, would include 87 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a small amount of industrial space and kiosks for startup businesses. Nine of the apartments would be set aside as affordable workforce housing for renters who earn 80–120% of the area median income.
In reviewing the plans last month, planning commissioners said Athens has a need for smaller apartments for single professionals, young couples and empty-nesters, rather than four- or five-bedroom units intended for college students. They praised the plans but had some concerns about residents walking across the railroad tracks. As they did with the General Time project, planners raised concerns about the proposed change to office zoning with people living near industrial uses. They also said the development may not have enough parking.
Votes have not yet been scheduled on either development.
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