A number of major developments—including a spec office building—are in the works in the Central Perimeter, which along with Buckhead is metro-Atlanta’s tightest office market.
Most are concentrated in two areas, according to the Dunwoody Crier: the intersection of Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway in Dunwoody, and the intersections of Abernathy Road, Mount Vernon Highway, and Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs.
Some of the most prominent developments planned or underway include:
- The Gold Kist site on Perimeter Center Parkway, where long-time developer Charlie Brown plans to build a project named Crown Towers. The development will encompass five high-rise towers, including two condo towers, two office towers of 24 floors or more, and one high-rise hotel.
- State Farm’s regional headquarters, which will incorporate the Dunwoody MARTA station and include a 26-story tower and a hotel. The tower will be completed by the end of this year. Over the next several years, another 1.6 million square feet will be added to the campus to accommodate some 8,000 employees.
- The still-hypothetical High Street project, which is cater-corner from the State Farm development. The proposed development would encompass 400,000 square feet of new retail space, 400,000 square feet of new office space, a 400-room hotel, 3,000 residential units, and 235,000 square feet of existing office space near Perimeter Center Parkway. Initiated by a Boston developer, this project was announced before the Great Recession and has yet to get underway.
- At the intersection of Mount Vernon and Abernathy, a project including three high-rise residential towers and two office towers around an existing building at 1117 Perimeter Center West. Proposed by an unnamed developer, the development would be located across from the Sandy Springs MARTA station.
- A sizable development by Hines Interests between Georgia 400 and Mount Vernon, behind the two North Park high-rises. The project is still in limbo, as Sandy Springs’ zoning board of appeals rejected Hines’ proposal after local residents objected to it. Hines has since filed suit against the city. The original plan contained a 50-story high-rise but has been scaled back.
Perhaps most notable among the proposed Central Perimeter developments is Seven Oaks Company LLC’s $140 million, 15-story spec office building in Perimeter Summit, the 83-acre mixed-use development on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven. The tower, to be named 4004 Summit, represents the first speculative project in the central Perimeter market in more than a decade, says the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In all of metro-Atlanta, only one other spec office building is underway: Tishman Speyer’s 30-story Three Alliance Center in Buckhead.
The 360,000-square-foot building officially broke ground January 19. Seven Oaks says that three large potential tenants have begun preliminary discussions with the developer about occupying the building. Rents at the building could reach at least $38 per square foot, but Seven Oaks is optimistic that tenants will be willing to pay more for new construction, especially when no other spec buildings are in the works, the Chronicle reports.
But What About the Traffic?
All of this development is happening in an area that is already one of Atlanta’s most congested. Fortunately, some of that congestion may eventually be alleviated. In 2019, a major overhaul of the GA-400 and I-285 interchange—one of Atlanta’s worst bottlenecks—is slated to be complete. The $679 million, public-private project will begin this year and will take an estimated 42 months to finish. The interchange will be reconfigured to resemble Spaghetti Junction—with flyover ramps, new collector-distributor lanes, and other features to aid the east-west flow of traffic on 285 and the north-south flow on GA-400.
Also still in the works is the proposed “Westside Connector,” a new, $20 million connector that would take westbound motorists from I-285 under Ashford Dunwoody to Perimeter Center Parkway. An eastbound lane would provide motorists with an alternate way to connect to westbound I-285. The new east-west link could potentially remove 700+ cars from Hammond Drive and Ashford Dunwoody Road during rush hour.
The Westside Connector still has permitting and funding hurdles to overcome, but the 400-285 overhaul is already on the road to reality. In December, the Georgia DOT awarded a contract to North Perimeter Contractors to design, build and partially finance the project, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. Gov. Nathan Deal has deemed the project a top priority for the city’s transportation plans.
In the meantime, the central Perimeter submarket may continue to struggle with traffic issues that will only be aggravated by the construction projects peppering the roadways. Many of these projects, though, incorporate the area’s MARTA stations, and so some commuters may finally abandon their vehicles for the “walkable” environments they say they desire. Slowly but surely, a submarket’s traffic woes may begin to ease.
Blog contributed by Kevin Creel, Managing Principal of Cresa Atlanta. Kevin has over 25 years of experience representing tenants in Atlanta and around the US, with experience in transaction management, strategic planning, portfolio management, building and land sales/purchases, build-to-suit projects, and disposition assignments. For more information, contact Kevin at email@example.com or 404-446-1576.