With several large projects under construction, including the State Farm mega-campus near Perimeter Mall, Dunwoody seemed poised to cash in on an influx of demand from developers who are ready to build large-scale, mixed-use projects there.
Then last week, the mayor and City Council voted to put a halt to all of it.
Citing concerns over safety codes regarding the wood construction of multi-story developments, the Dunwoody City Council voted to put a six-month moratorium on multi-unit building applications, permits and construction.
According to Reporter Newspapers in Dunwoody, the action comes after a legislative session in which a bill was approved that prohibits local governments from prohibiting wood-framed building that otherwise meet state building and fire codes.
The new bill undercuts Dunwoody’s existing ordinance requiring commercial, office, apartment or condominium buildings more than three stories to be framed with noncombustible materials, such as metal or concrete.
The moratorium clouds the progress of two significant projects that were moving through the system.
The largest is GID’s High Street project.
The Boston-based developer owns 42-acres at Perimeter Center Park and Hammond Drive where they have proposed a “mini-city” that is so big it was actually one of the sites submitted for Amazon HQ2.
It includes a 12-story office building, a 30-story residential tower and five other residential buildings ranging from 7 to 12 stories. GID had filed for a land disturbance permit earlier this year and the company’s attorneys were at the council meeting and confronted the mayor after it was over. The other project is the 20-acre mixed-use development in Perimeter Center that includes 500,000 square feet of office space, 12,000 square feet of retail and 900 condominiums.
Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said the bill was “maybe a small part” of the council’s decision.
He said the city had been working with fire marshals for months reviewing their building codes and this moratorium will give them time to breathe.
Metro Atlanta has been awash in new office development over the last several years.
Major developments in the works right now include four new office buildings in Midtown that were being built on spec, and include a 31-story office tower, a 10-story office tower and almost 1.5 million square feet in other office developments.
Thyussenkrupp Elevator Americas will soon build its North American Headquarters in The Battery next to the Braves Suntrust Park, and Avalon is working on its second office tower.
Geoff Smith is a mortgage banker with Assurance Financial focusing on residential home loans for refinances and home purchases.
*The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of Assurance Financial Group