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Redevelopment of AT&T training center building back on track

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Redevelopment of AT&T training center building back on track

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By Cathi Harris, contributor 

The planned redevelopment of the old AT&T training center at the corner of Park Place and East Lake Drive in Oakhurst can move forward now that the developer has altered its plans to build within the existing building height and reached an agreement with the Decatur Development Authority (DDA) on a plan for its affordable housing component, an attorney for the project said Friday.

“The plans before you now are for 34 units within the existing building,” Laurel David, attorney for the developer, Park 108, LLC, told the DDA board at its meeting Friday morning. Of those 34, three units will be reserved as workforce housing – two one-bedroom units and one efficiency.

All of the 34 units will be condominiums that are individually owned. The workforce units will be initially purchased by the Decatur Land Trust, which is in the process of establishing how those units will be sold and maintained as workforce housing.

The City Commission first approved the development plans in November of last year, issuing a conditional use permit (CUP) that allowed the construction of multifamily residential in a commercial district. (The land occupied by the building and its parking lot are currently zoned C-1 Local Commercial, but it borders R-60 single-family residential on its west and south sides.)

A condition of the CUP required 10 percent of the units be reserved as workforce housing, affordable for those with incomes between 80 and 120 percent of area median income (AMI). At the time, the city asked the developer to work with the DDA to determine a model for including the affordable housing units.

The project hit a snag in March after Park 108 asked for an exception to the maximum building height to allow it to add an additional floor to the top of the building. Nearby residents objected and the developer withdrew the request after being unable to reach an agreement that addressed their concerns.

The building will still contain 34 total units — the same number as originally planned — but they will be smaller, David said. The dedicated workforce units will be the same size and have the same grade fixtures and quality as the market-rate units. The agreement with the DDA stipulates that cannot all be on the ground level or on one side of the building, but this has always been the developer’s intention anyway, David noted.

DDA Board Member Linda Curry also sits on the Land Trust board and said that body is still working on the documents that will govern how its units will be managed. 

The developer expects to apply for construction permits and start work soon, but it is too early to say how long it will take and when the building will be ready, David said.

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