Decatur Development Authority reviews Halo East Decatur development; 370 multifamily units plannedA conceptual drawing of the updated plan for the new mixed-use development of Halo East Decatur. The perspective is from New Street. Image obtained via the city of Decatur.
Decatur, GA — The Decatur Downtown Development Authority, at its Jan. 13 meeting, reviewed the final development plans for the Halo East Decatur mixed-use project at 725 E. College Avenue.
Northwood Ravin is the developer. The development, which was formerly known as East Decatur Station, would consist of 370 multifamily units, including live/work units, a café and coworking space, and about 15,000 square feet of retail space.
In terms of retail, Northwood Ravin is hoping to attract a market, food and beverage businesses, and a possible tasting room concept to complement Three Taverns Brewery.
“We also have a list of some of the previous retail tenants in this area that have expressed interest in wanting to remain. It’d be great to have one or two of those as well,” Northwood Ravin development partner Ben Yorker said. “We have some smaller spaces that can work for them.”
The developers reduced the number of parking spaces in the parking garage and were able to reduce the height of the parking deck. There will be 424 parking spaces for residents and 44 retail parking spaces.
“What we are proposing is treatment of the parking deck that will be paneled recesses that resemble windows, and then we’re using art to line the parking structure,” Project Architect Jay Silverman said. “The parking structure was designed, though it is an open parking structure, it’s open on the sides and the solid wall will facilitate an art installation that will face Freeman.”
The apartments would wrap around the parking structure. The top of the parking deck will be outdoor amenity space for residents, and include a swimming pool.
At least 41 units will be affordable rental units at 80% of the area median income. The project includes public improvements as well, with a greenspace that will be a one acre, and extending Freeman Street, connecting Sams Street and New Street.
Northwood Ravin added a public paseo, or walkway, to the design to connect the courtyard on East College Avenue to the greenspace on Freeman Street.
“That’s where we’ve located the co-work café, and we now have added three artist-in-residence studios as well. The hope and the goal is to activate that area and make this a community space, hope that they could collaborate on events maybe with the retailers, have a wine and art show once a month or something like that,” Yorker said.
In November 2021, the city commission approved a tax allocation district fund request from the developer. The commission authorized the city manager to enter into a development agreement with Northwood Ravin for an amount not to exceed about $5.4 million in tax district allocation funding over a 10-year period.
The developer has applied for land disturbance and building permits with the city. They are finishing the pricing and will soon reach out to lenders. Northwood Ravin hopes to start construction over the summer.
The DDA also discussed an update on the Oak Cottage Court project. Construction on the project at 230 Commerce Drive began in August 2022. The DDA is partnering with Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) to develop the project.
The site work on the property was on hold before the holidays to allow for additional engineering details that were required for water and sewer permitting with DeKalb County. Site work has since continued and is anticipated to be done by Feb. 13. Vertical construction of the cottages will start once the site work is finished.
“That site work includes finalizing water and sewer utility pole installation, stormwater systems, the construction grading, the retaining walls at the front of the property, the curb, gutters and apron for the driveway, and the initial driveway pour,” Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said.
ANDP anticipates the construction of the cottages will take about six months, with three cottages being done by June.
According to the plans outlined in ANDP’s agreement with the DDA, the ANDP would build six cottage court homes: 1 one-bedroom house, 1 two-bedroom house, and 4 three-bedroom houses, with square footage ranging from 528 to 1117 square feet. The estimated sales prices would be between $199,000 and $275,000.
The city did have to close the sidewalk on Commerce Drive by the development. There will be a drive up to the site and there will be a three-feet tall retaining wall to hold back the earth.
Some trees have been cut down on the site. Threadgill told the Decatur Planning Commission at its Aug. 9 meeting that most of the trees removed were not in good health. At the Jan. 13 DDA meeting, Threadgill said an additional tree was removed because the root zone was compromised due to the sewer system improvements.
“Some were at risk of falling on adjacent properties. I point this out only because it is a big change for that streetscape. If you head up or down Commerce, and you’re going through that curve, it is a big change,” Threadgill said. “There is a tree replacement plan. The city arborist and the inspectors are watching this project heavily.”
ANDP will meet with the Decatur Land Trust in February to discuss the sales of the cottages, the long-term ownership of the property by the land trust as well as the lottery process.
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