Redevelopment of AT&T Building on Decatur City Commission agenda

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 18, 2018

A rendering of the proposed condo development at the AT&T building. Image obtained via the city of Decatur.

A proposal to the redevelop the former AT&T training center on the corner of East Lake Drive and Park Place in Oakhurst will be on the Decatur City Commission agenda on Monday, Nov. 19.

Last week, Thrive Group received a favorable recommendation from the Decatur Planning Commission for its proposal to convert the building to 34 condos and apartments, with 10 percent of the units permanently designated as workforce housing for people making 80 to 120 percent of area median income (AMI).

The Decatur City Commission meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online by clicking here.

Built in 1937 as a telephone and telegraph exchange office, the building was most recently used as a training center for AT&T line workers, but in a limited capacity.

Thrive commissioned its own traffic study to address the primary concern nearby residents expressed with the project. The results predicted lower traffic counts with the building converted to a residential use than there would if it were fully utilized under its current commercial office building use.

Additionally, they have agreed to put up an opaque security fence and landscape buffer between the existing surface parking lot and adjacent houses.

As for the building itself, Thrive intends to make the most of an “extremely well-built” structure featuring 14 to 15-foot ceilings and concrete columns on the first two floors and 10-foot ceilings in the basement, all of which would be converted to living space.

They are planning to add windows throughout the building, to add more light, and add an additional level toward the back of the building away from the front streetscape. The only addition to the existing building footprint would be the additional of an elevator at the rear of the building.

Planning Commission members voted unanimously to recommend the project, provided Thrive did not substantially alter the plans presented and it agreed to conditions recommended by the Downtown Development Authority, including the privacy fence on the west side of the property and closing off an open alley that is also on the property.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the City Commission will consider spending $15,000 to help complete a section of the East Decatur Greenway on South Columbia Drive.

The Greenway project transformed a graffiti-covered gas station at 890 Columbia Drive into a public green space.

Now the space is lush and green, an little oasis along a busy street that will be open for anyone looking to commune with nature. Birds and wildlife abound here, and it will remain a passive park forever.

The Friends School of Atlanta, a Quaker school, has taken over stewardship of the park and will use it as part of the school’s environmental education efforts.

“During construction, we realized that a gap in the trail was left across the residential property between South Decatur Village and the Friends School,” a memo attached to the agenda written Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon says. “This property was sold to the Friends School at the same time David Weekley Homes purchased the South Decatur Village property and is not part of the development. If approved, we will split the $30,000 cost of the remaining trail section with Weekley.”

Commissioners will also consider a resolution declaring the results of the Nov. 6 election that allows restaurants to begin serving alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Previously, service could only begin at 12:30 p.m.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said the resolution at Monday’s meeting is only a formality.

“When we amended the ordinance this summer it became effective the day after the election, so restaurants are already able to sell on Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.,” Merriss said. “The item on the agenda is just part of the formal part of the election process.”

Writer Cathi Harris contributed to this story. 

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About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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