Mixed-use, three-unit residential development planned for College Avenue, Sams Crossing intersectionA mixed-use development with three residential units and ground floor retail is planned for 2680 E. College Ave. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.
This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA — A mixed-use housing and retail development is planned to be at the intersection of East College Avenue and Sams Crossing.
Savi Provisions was previously slated to develop the half-acre site at 2680 E. College Ave. with a two-story retail grocery store. The Decatur Downtown Development Authority approved plans for the development in July 2021. However, those plans have changed.
“The plans didn’t move forward due to them having another Savi in close proximity to that location,” Breanna Johnson with the Contineo Group told Decaturish.
At the Sept. 8, 2023, DDA meeting, the board approved revised plans for the site that include an 8,600 square-foot, two-story mixed-use building with ground floor retail and three residential units on the second floor.
“We, as you can see, have been going at this one for quite some time with some lofty dreams and going back and forth, but the ownership has settled that the best thing for this property is going to be the two-story building with the smaller retail use on the bottom floor and then limiting the number of residential uses at the top,” said Ron Crump, principal at the Contineo Group, who is part of the engineering firm working on the project. The project’s developer is Moe Hasni.
The site plan is largely similar to what was previously presented to the DDA, Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said.
“It’s just primarily the layout provides for smaller retail spaces on the ground floor that front onto College Avenue, as well as a portion of Sam’s Crossing because this is where the bridge crosses over into MARTA and CSX right of way,” Threadgill said.
There would be surface parking to the west and rear of the property for residents and retail customers. The lot would have about 22 parking spaces.
For non-residential use, the city’s requirement is that there be two parking spaces per 1,000 square feet.
“Being that this is within the mixed-use district, there is a cap on the number of parking spaces because we want to support transit-oriented development and walking, but we do recognize that this is a difficult area to get to currently if you’re a pedestrian or cyclist,” Threadgill said. “For residential uses, it’s a minimum of one space per dwelling unit.”
At this time, the developer is not seeking any special exceptions for this project. It’s also unclear what businesses will be part of the development, but it likely will not include restaurants.
“We told them due to the parking constraints and the corner, it wasn’t going to be a good spot for a restaurant use,” Crump said.
DDA Chair Conor McNally also asked if the site would be restricted to vehicles only turning right in and right out. Threadgill said the Georgia Department of Transportation has not required access to the property to be right in and right out.
“It wasn’t required of the adjacent business, which is also fairly close to the intersection,” Threadgill said. “I don’t anticipate that being the situation here, either.”
She added that GDOT requires driveways to be at least 60 feet away from the intersection, and the development plans exceed that requirement. There are also considerations related to visibility.
“If this was for some reason on a curb, they may have required a right in, right out only, but because the visibility is fairly strong, it’s not necessary at this time,” Threadgill said. “There is an existing curb cut that has been there for quite some time, and that’s not changing.”
McNally added that he hopes the developers can get the financing and start on the construction.
“It’s rare to see a smaller building like this have ground floor retail and residential above, which is nice to see. I think that’s a good use of the property and a good mix to have,” McNally said.
The Decatur City Commission will not have to give final approval for the project.
“The proposed development is by-right, therefore no discretionary reviews are required by the elected officials for this particular project as it is proposed,” Threadgill told Decaturish.
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Contineo Group as the developer, but the company is actually the engineering firm. The developer is Moe Hasni.
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