Published on December 2nd, 2015 |0
Major building facelift sought for prime Buckhead Village crossroads
The subject property of the plans presented to the Development Review Committee of SPI-9 (Special Public Interest district) on Wednesday (Dec. 2) is the Franco Building, 3075 Peachtree Road, which caused quite a brouhaha during the past year when electronic billboards were installed in its second-story windows.
But after a lengthy discussion with the DRC members seeking a reduction or elimination of a parking requirement for the building after plans to remove a parking lot Meltzer Properties considers dangerous to pedestrians and motorists entering Buckhead Atlanta, Dion Meltzer left the meeting with little more than being told to go back to the drawing boards and present a real SAP application complete with full drawings and development plans.
Meltzer Properties, which leases the first floor of the building from the Franco family, wants to double the size the building and fill it with high-end retailer(s). The present building has a total of 6,000 square feet of space on two floors of which Meltzer leases 3,000 square feet on the first floor.
“We want to renovate the existing building and extend the building over the rear parking lot,” Dion Meltzer, owner of Buckhead real estate company Meltzer Properties LLC, told BuckheadView.
The addition, which would add more than 6,000 square feet to the building—all of it off the first floor—and is being designed by the architect plexus r + d. It will include a sloping grass top roof with up to 12-foot ceilings and street-level retail along Bolling Way and Peachtree Road.
With the renovation, the building would have a total of 12,000 square feet of space, and Meltzer Properties would
end up with 9,000 square feet of ground-level space which it plans to lease to retail tenants.
“We are offering to invest a lot of money into a property that currently is an eyesore for the immediate area,” Meltzer added. “We can renovate the exterior of the building in order to mitigate the impact that the billboards have on the building.”
Meltzer explained to BuckheadView, “We would like to bring it up to the design standard of the buildings in the adjacent Buckhead Atlanta development. We feel that our proposal will mitigate the negative impact of the billboards and will contribute aesthetically to the immediate environment which will in turn have a positive impact on the community.”
Meltzer told BuckheadView his company is also concerned with safety for pedestrians and other vehicles with the present configuration of the building and its parking lot at the back of the building, which has access off of Bolling Way, an entrance to Buckhead Atlanta.
“At present, vehicles are forced to reverse out of our parking lot,” Meltzer explained. “With the new pedestrian walkway, we are concerned for the safety of pedestrians crossing directly in the path of reversing vehicles. We also do not want to contribute towards the potential congestion at what is certain to become a major intersection.”
Meltzer said his company is appealing to the DRC and the city “to work with us by reducing/removing our offsite parking requirement so that we can build on the rear parcel and create an entrance (to the building) on Bolling Way.”
He told BucklheadView, “We are not building a separate parking DECK. If we were, we would most likely not need a variance as we would have sufficient parking for code. We are asking to have a zero parking requirement for a retail use,” he explained. “At present, the code permits a zero parking requirement for office only.”
Meltzer and his partner got no relief from the parking requirements from the DRC and were virtually told by DRC member Sally Silver, who represents the office of Dist. 7 City Councilman Howard Shook, she does not even want to consider any “piecemeal improvements” to the building as long as the billboards remain on the second floor. I am hesitant to redo half a building,” Silver said.
Meltzer told BucheadView and the DRC members, “By expanding the footprint of the existing building, we can economically justify an investment in the property that achieves”:
1) A safe environment for pedestrians,
2) A renovated building which is reflective of the type of design and architecture that one would expect to find at the entrance to a luxury shopping destination, and
3) Attract a high-end tenant that would complement the surrounding tenant mix.
While Meltzer provided two renderings to the DRC for review, he told BuckheadView, “We are reluctant to make the renderings public because it is certainly not a final rendering. We had to provide something to the DRC and the city but we wanted feedback from the city before we produced a final design.”
The existing building Meltzer Properties wants to expand occupies the southeast corner of the intersection of Peachtree and East Paces Ferry Roads, which is at the northwest end of OliverMcMillan’s six-block Buckhead Atlanta mixed-use retail, residential office development.
The building was in the news during the past 12 months for its large digital billboards on the second floor, which became a spectacle when a group hacked them to show lewd images, which led to City Council legislation last Spring to make changes to the city’s sign ordinance.
Meltzer Properties, which only leases the ground floor of the building from the local Franco family and has no control over the second-floor leasing, wasn’t exactly happy with the digital billboards even before they were hacked with lewd images early this year.
“In fact, they have seriously impacted our ability to lease the ground floor,” which has been vacant for some time, Meltzer stated. The expansion could help solve those challenges, he told BuckheadView and the DRC.