Only Councilman Kent Igleheart voted against the plan for a new luxury rental complex to replace the existing Frazier Street apartments at the corner of Norcross and Frazier streets.
“I’m always concerned about the impact projects have,” Igleheart said. “My major concern with this is it is the first major project in the Groveway district and it’s not meeting our overall goals.”
Lennar Multifamily Investors proposes to build 320 one- and two-bedroom apartments in five buildings on the almost 11 acres where the low-income Frazier Street apartments now stand.
The existing complex has 152 two-bedroom apartments that were built in the 1960s.
The design and upscale amenities for the new apartments will bring in singles, childless couples and empty-nesters who want an upscale abode in a walkable neighborhood near the shops and restaurants in the historic district, Chris Cassidy, Lennar’s division manager, told council.
The company’s experience has shown that high-rent housing is a preferred lifestyle choice for this demographic, Cassidy said.
“We feel Roswell really has a need for something that will fit that desire,” he said. The site in question “is unrivalled anywhere in north Fulton” because of its proximity to Canton Street’s entertainment district, Cassidy added.
The company needed a conditional-use approval from council because the new Groveway Community form-based zoning calls for mixed development rather than strictly residential apartments. This is one of the main reasons, Igleheart said, that he isn’t in favor of Lennar’s plan as proposed.
The other concern he voiced was a perceived lack of adequate parking spaces. The parking required is 512 spaces, but the site plan shows 430 parking spaces. Lennar asked for a variance to reduce the amount of parking and to allow for more landscaping.
Igleheart, as well as some area property owners, said they think that’s not enough for the number of tenants who will have cars and overflow parking will spill into the neighborhood. Cassidy said the company‘s experience with similar rental complexes has been otherwise.
“It will be very, very rare that all of the 320 units’ occupants will ever be home at the same time, and even then there will be enough parking,” he said.
Although some citizens who spoke during the hearing asked for plan revisions or more time for review, others linked to various planning, business and downtown improvement entities recommended approval.
“An apartment project like this will keep this city up to date. This is what we need to keep us going,” said Ralph Mills, who owns commercial property in the historic district.
Councilman Rich Dippolito agreed.
“This is a very significant part of town, and this project is going to be a catalyst for change in this area,” he said.
Cassidy said his company will immediately give current residents a timeline for the redevelopment and will do everything it can to assist them in relocating.