District 2 Rising: Commercial, residential development skyrocketing in area
by Sheri Kell
May 06, 2013 12:03 AM | 4562 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott credits the bulk of the development to having plans in place for the changes. (Staff/Kelly J. Huff)
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott credits the bulk of the development to having plans in place for the changes. (Staff/Kelly J. Huff)

The proverbial real estate pendulum is undeniably on the upswing for Cobb County's southeastern District 2.

During the past two years, between $500 million and $600 million worth of new development has come to the district, bordered by SR 120/Roswell Road to the north and South Cobb Drive to the south.

The new development is divided evenly between commercial and residential, and according to Cobb County Community Development Director Rob Hosack, the development dollar amount is more than the three other districts combined.

District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott says the growth is not happenstance. In the last year he has completed master plans for the Johnson Ferry corridor, the Powers Ferry corridor and Vinings. Recently, the Cumberland Community Improvement District approved moving forward with its own master plan.

"The three hottest areas in District 2 are where the three plans are," Ott said. "The reason I think that they're so successful is it tells the development community exactly what the community is interested in having there, and it gives them a guideline as to how to work with the community; because one of the big unknowns for a developer is 'We have this great idea, well, what's the community reaction going to be?'"

"If you can develop within the confines of the plan, you will receive support from the community," he added.

Ott anticipates 1,100 upscale apartment units to be constructed in the Cumberland district during the next two years estimated to bring 1,500 new residents that would have a significant economic ripple effect for the area.

"The apartments in Cumberland core will be the highest rents in the area," he said.

In the Powers Ferry corridor, several commercial projects have culminated from the master plans' mission to attract and create desirable activity centers. Ott says a former empty, run-down shopping center was rebuilt and renovated and now features LA Fitness as anchor tenant with a Starbucks under construction.

At the corner of Delk and Powers Ferry roads, an empty dry cleaners and gas station were demolished and replaced with a Fast Trac Car Wash. "That is a corner people told me I would never be able to redevelop," Ott said.

In the Johnson Ferry corridor in the heart of east Cobb, groundbreaking recently took place for the WellStar East Cobb Health Park, a $74 million project that includes 250,000 square feet of medical space situated on 23 acres between Roswell and Providence roads. The health park is expected to eventually employ 250 people and will open in September, 2014.

Moreover, 33 acres of rare pasture land on Johnson Ferry Road sold for $12 million in late 2012 to GEIC4, a developer/ investor group assembled by Brooks Chadwick Capital.

Todd Thrasher, managing partner of Brooks Chadwick, said 125 lots will include 40 townhomes and 85 single-family homes. Ashton Woods will be the exclusive builder and Thrasher said the townhomes will be priced in the $400,000 range and single-family homes will be priced from $500,000 to $800,000. He said the project is currently in the permitting phase and will break ground next month.

The project is one of three the company has underway in District 2. Thrasher said in Atlanta Country Club, the company paid $2 million for the 4.5 acre former Chattahoochee Plantation Club that it has re-developed into 11 home sites. Thrasher says there are only three lots left and homes start at $1.5 million.

Off of Woodlawn Drive, between Paper Mill and Lower Roswell roads, the company purchased 6.5 acres for $1.9 million and plans call for 21 homes starting at the mid $700,000 range. "We have a waiting list of 40 people," said Thrasher.

Thrasher said his company is now looking at assemblages in east Cobb, including entire neighborhoods that are 60 to 70 years old, in order to provide home sites.

"Demand outstrips supply and the school districts are the best; taxes are low and there is easy access to job centers," he said. "We are low on inventory."

Ott says that he is talking with developers about additional potential projects in his district. How high will District 2's pendulum rise? Only time will tell.

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