‘A very big deal’: $20M Kennesaw project to have 178 apartments, large commercial space
May 02, 2014 04:00 AM | 6886 views | 7 7 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A rendering of part of the Dallas Street $20 million development, which will contain 178 one- and two-bedroom rented apartment units located within 24 free-standing buildings, as well as 12,000 square feet of commercial space, in downtown Kennesaw. <br> Special to the MDJ
A rendering of part of the Dallas Street $20 million development, which will contain 178 one- and two-bedroom rented apartment units located within 24 free-standing buildings, as well as 12,000 square feet of commercial space, in downtown Kennesaw.
Special to the MDJ
KENNESAW — The city council was briefed Wednesday night on the next step in developing Kennesaw’s downtown area with another large mixed-use project proposed for across from City Hall.

The Dallas Street $20 million development will house 178 one- and two-bedroom rented apartment units located within 24 free-standing buildings, as well as 12,000 square feet of commercial space — including a remodel of a vacant bank building on Watts Drive.

“This is a very big project,” Mayor Mark Mathews said. “This is a very big deal.”

Pace Halter, president of The Halter Companies out of Atlanta, said his company has been acquiring several tracts of land for the 7.5-acre project to be built around existing residential properties just east of Adams Park.

On the site is the historic Lewis House, which Halter said would be restored and preserved as a clubhouse, with offices for the leasing staff next to an added pool.

Construction would begin in the southern portion of the property to redesign public parking lots currently owned by the city. Approximately 83 public parking spaces next to softballs fields at Adams Park would be replaced with about 100 public spaces, some within the development.

As part of an agreement with the city, the developers will also install parallel parking spaces on both sides of Dallas Street adjacent to the proposed site.

The developer will also contribute $5,000 to install shields on the field lights to direct the glow to the fields and away from the new residences.

Halter said the project could be completed in as little as 15 months or as long as 20 months.

Concerns about the increase in traffic going to and from the future apartments was addressed by a traffic impact study from Croy Engineering.

The data was collected over seven days and included workweek commutes and weekend activities.

One example cited in the report stated traffic on Watts Drive past City Hall totaled 5,615 vehicles on weekdays, with 3,630 to 4,063 on weekends.

Daniel Dobry, a transportation engineering manager with Croy Engineering, said an additional 4,000 vehicle trips per day will be generated from the apartments and retail shops at both the Dallas Street Development and the Main Street Development, which has already broken ground a block away.

One way to address the increased flow of traffic will be the installation of a roundabout designed by Croy at the intersection of Dallas Street and Watts Drive, which Dobry said would calm traffic speeds to navigate the circle.

Part of the traffic study was initiated in response to a request by Halter’s company to close a portion of Lewis Street from North Main Street to Dallas Street.

The angled road is often used as a shortcut, with cars traveling 5 to 15 mph over the speed limit, Dobry said. Croy’s traffic report stated more than 650 vehicles travel on Lewis Street on weekdays, with half that amount on weekends.

Even with the speeding and use as cut-through corner, Dobry said, “Closing a street is not an easy proposition.”

Because the necessary advertising has not been completed, a public hearing on the road closure will be conducted at a later time.

Mathews said any approval given for the Dallas Street Development at Monday night’s council meeting will be for the concept of the design. Further approvals would be needed at various phases of the detailed plan are finalized.

But, if the city council chooses not to close the portion of Lewis Street, Alter said his company would cut back on the plan by four buildings and not develop the property to the Main Street border.

Projects in Kennesaw’s Central Business District require approval from the Kennesaw Development Authority and Historic Preservation Commission prior to approval by the mayor and council.

The HPC approved the concept design 5-0 April 15. The KDDA had a special called meeting on April 22 and approved the project 6-1 with Shannan Smith opposed, who shared concerns regarding the renter versus owner-occupied space.

Mary Whitlock, who has lived at 2927 Lewis Street for more than 30 years, spoke at the KDDA meeting and attended Wednesday’s council meeting.

After fully restoring her one-story house, Whitlock said she is against closing Lewis Street for the commercial project, which will encompass three sides of her property, resting 10 feet from her mailbox.

Halter said his development company has tried “to be as sensitive as we can” to accommodate neighbors, preserving many mature trees and agreeing to provide new or improved driveways for the two residences that are located off Lewis Street, including Whitlock’s access.

Mathews said the Dallas Street Development fits the goals of “what we want to see in our downtown Central Business District,” with the project encompassing three blocks designed to give a feel of historic homes.

The newest proposed project is in line with one that was approved a couple months ago for a prominent space downtown.

The Main Street development is composed of more than 250 “luxury” rental apartments, as well as 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The Atlanta-based developer, South City Partners, is the same firm that designed the West 22 apartment complex on Cherokee Street targeting KSU students.

Kennesaw Zoning Administrator Darryl Simmons told the council Wednesday there is a long-term revitalization plan on “how we are going to implement or infuse more density …for a vibrant downtown.”

The city will take a “serious look” for any opportunities to move more residents into a concentrated area, especially in “noncontributing” vacant lots, Simmons said.

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May 03, 2014
The apartment complex on Cherokee is the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Residents better take a look at the South City Partners work or they will be faced with another eyesore that will be with them for years.
More sprawl
May 02, 2014
The construction of more dwellings is definitely not the way to improving the city. There is no attraction to visiting someone else's living space. What Kennesaw needs is a attractive old town commercial district, where the residents can walk, shop and entertainment. The plan is a BIG MISTAKE! There anterior motives involved in obtaining revenue from residential leaseholds rather than the bono fide addition to the existing community. The development authority should

Be focusing towards attracting businesses rather than residents.
Let's Keep Pushing
May 02, 2014
Let the smart growth continue. Let's keep the potential traffic issues at the forefront of the conversation, as well. Overall, a nice addition to downtown, but let's keep the traffic flow going.
May 02, 2014
I'm reminded of the Yogi Berra quote, "Nobody goes there anymore. It' too crowded".
May 02, 2014
What are you people thinking with regards to these massive projects, high density living in downtown Kennesaw?? The lovely little town of Kennesaw is being destroyed. Maybe check how Acworth and even Woodstock have updated their downtown areas without destroying the small town look and feel. These renderings don't even look like lovely small town buildings but are cookie cutter complexes. PLEASE, PLEASE consider before you go ahead with this and destroy downtown Kennesaw.
May 02, 2014
What exactly is a "luxury" apartment? I never have quite been able to figure that out.

This project might be nice if the residences were "luxury" or high-end condos rather than apartments. The last thing Kennesaw needs is more apartments. Is Mark Matthews not smart enough to take a look at the problems that develop years later from a glut of apartments. There are numerous examples around Cobb County where once nice,and probably "luxury", apartments eventually turn into slums. It's the nature of apartments in Atlanta. Today, formerly nice apartments at locations all around Cobb have become havens of crime and become a menace to the community. And, as reported on by the MDJ, the local governments eventually have had to buy them up and tear them down to eradicate the problem. Surely, Mr. Matthews and the Council can see beyond the lure of tax revenue today and have the foresight to understand that more apartments will only create problems for future leaders in Kennesaw.

Perhaps not because Kennesaw seems unable to say no to any development. Witness the number of extended stay motels they've allowed to be built in the City and consider the clientele those establishments attract. I'm sure the former mayor and current Councilman, Leornard Church, believed those too would be "a very big deal" for the City of Kennesaw but he was sadly mistaken.

I would suggest to Mr. Matthews that he really examine the long-term trajectory of apartments in Atlanta and consider whether his "very big deal" will turn into a very big problem for future leaders and then consider whether properties that are owned by their occupants might not be a better option.

Which Way Ray
May 02, 2014
Just what the county needs! More Apartments!!! Whooohooo!!!!
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