Dear Decaturish – Wild Heaven owner tells Avondale commissioners, ‘The only pathway leads to yes’
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This letter is specifically addressed to the Avondale Board of Mayor and Commissioners.
To our elected officials, thanks as always for your service. What a tough job you all have providing little reward, although you do get sweet rides in the parade tomorrow. But here we are – you have a chance to be the team that we’ve been hoping for decades will take the court and win the game. Finally.
Yet as usual, the concern trolls are out. Under the guise of pretending to want development and growth in our city that has seen stagnant decades wasted in our downtown, they are trying to kill a well-designed plan from Trammell Crow, the Alexan Gateway project. For some, it appears to be thinly-veiled classism. I don’t think that charge comes as any surprise to you.
I’m not asking you to simply accept the plan as-is. My request, as a deeply frustrated AE business owner, is to work together diligently to find a pathway to YES. I’ve been in many, many business negotiations and there is either a posture of “let’s get this done” or a posture of “let’s find ways to say no”.
You’re all aware of the dangers of AE’s posture continuing to be the latter.
We opened Wild Heaven over 4 years ago in the [Central Business District]. The pittance of new activity in the CBD created since then, in an era of rapid commercial and residential growth throughout Atlanta, has put AE on the sidelines. Our history of slow-walking development to the point of suffocation has not made me proud to say we are from AE.
It’s time for change. And contrary to the belief that allowing some exceptions to the Comprehensive Plan, Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance will weaken AE in future negotiations, it will likely do the opposite. When we have a thriving commercial district due to two large side-by side residential developments at the Western Gateway, you’ll find yourselves in a stronger position to dictate terms. The demand to participate in our village’s economic life will be higher. You must create gravitational pull.
I have reviewed the project renderings. What is proposed is both attractive and remarkably standard in the current environment. The density they propose isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Frankly, given the dearth of retail in the immediate vicinity, we’re lucky TC is still wishing to move forward given the proximity of the two other developments coming online. What AE needs for a thriving future more than anything is PEOPLE. This project goes great lengths to addressing that need.
I believe each of you is a remarkably smart and capable person, and we’re lucky you have chosen to serve our community. That said, if this deal dies, I will be hesitant to re-elect those that had a hand in scuttling it. I hate politics, but I love our city and my business so I hope you’ll understand my energy on the topic.
My wishes for a happy 4th of July to each of you. It’s another beautiful day in Avondale Estates!
– Nick Purdy, President of Wild Heaven Beer