San Francisco-based Wells Fargo owns the 16-acre property and agreed to the community’s’ requests of creating a park, said Lance Johnson, project leader from Wells Fargo in Atlanta. He said the company is creating a master plan for the location, which was previously owned by The Related Group, a Miami-based developer that foreclosed on the property after a project there fell through.
“It’s an important site. It’s important for us and it’s important for the community,” Johnson said. “We realized that early on. We reached out to the local community and neighborhoods to get a sense of what was important to them.”
Once he and a few co-workers attended zoning meetings, Johnson said it was evident what people wanted: more “walkability” and “connectivity.”
He said he believes the plan aligns with what the community wants and the latest development guidelines, and will offer a “sense of place for the community.”
Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, a nonprofit dedicated to adding greenspace to the community, and the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association, agrees. She said Wells Fargo’s plan is “fantastic” because Atlanta City Council District 7, which includes Buckhead, has the lowest amount of parks in the city.
“Everything done to add park space is fantastic because it is our mission, to get back up to par,” said Starling, who also serves on the Development Review Committee, a Buckhead community group. “It’s a pretty major piece of land. We were worried we’d get some foreign investment company with no stake in the community.”
If the city approves the site plan, which the committee recommended for approval, Wells Fargo will bring it to market.
“At that point whatever potential investor and/or developer who purchases all of or part of site will have to get further approval,” Johnson said.
Additionally, the park is designed to have stormwater detention.
“They could’ve just buried that and done vaults underneath. They pushed the envelope,” Starling said. “They put the bones in to make sure it would come to fruition.”
She said the committee made a couple of comments to the site plan about possible changes, such as adding more greenspace in certain areas.
“There were minor considerations but nothing that held up our approval,” she said.
“It’s not a complete plan. It’s basically just setting the stage. They’ve gone as far as they can say, ‘Here’s what it needs to be.’”
The site is divided into four development parcels, which each have to come through a review process, with the final recommendations made by the city.
Johnson said the site will hopefully go on the market during the first quarter of this year.