By John Schaffner

Buckhead properties and projects scored well in this year’s Best In Atlanta Real Estate Awards presented annually by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. And, among the winners and runners-up, The Sembler Company did very well.

Sembler received the 2006 “Mixed-Use Deal of the Year” award for its recently completed redevelopment of Lindbergh Plaza in south Buckhead. The company also was one of three finalists for the “Retail Deal of the Year” award for its Edgewood Retail District development near Atlanta’s Little Five Points area.

One of the biggest drivers in the turnaround of the south Buckhead area around Piedmont Road, GA 400 and Sidney Marcus Boulevard has been the redevelopment of a tired Lindbergh Plaza into a totally new development by Sembler and its joint venture partner Noro Broadview Holding, which bought the original 1956 development 20 years ago.

As part of the project, more than 250 multi-family units will open this fall and about 400,000 square feet of retail space—including such tenants as Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and Linens & Things along with smaller shops—is occupied and serving customers. It also spurred developments such as The Cosmopolitan at Lindbergh, a townhome and condominium complex with units selling up to more than $400,000.

Sembler President Jeff Fuqua refers to Lindbergh Plaza as an “urban, vertical, mixed-use power village.”

Lindbergh Plaza has a Target store hidden below the street level surface of shops. The District at Howell Mill, winner of the “Retail Deal of the Year” award, and just across I-75 from southwest Buckhead, has another first: a Wal-Mart store tucked below the street-level retail in the parking deck area.

The District at Howell Mill was characterized by the Business Chronicle as “a prime example of contemporary urban design driven by the concept of thinking outside the box.” Selig Enterprises Inc., the developer/designer of the development worked closely with the retail parties and neighborhood organizations—principally the Northwest Community Alliance—to satisfy the economic and community needs.

The result was a major mixed-use development with 300,000 feet of retail space and 300,000 square feet of residential on a 17-acre piece that had sat dormant with a closed hotel on it for years.

Sembler’s development of the Edgewood Retail District, which was a retail finalist in the awards competition, was another example of the developer working very closely in partnership with community stakeholders to produce the $110 million, 44-acre development on Moreland Avenue that includes 540,000 square feet of retail, replacing an old Atlanta Gas Light facility.

Developer John A. Williams’ 580-foot-tall “The Mansion,” which will be the tallest building on Peachtree when completed, was the residential development winner. Residential units will occupy the top 27 floors of the 42-floor luxury tower and a 127-room boutique hotel will be the lower 15 floors of The Mansion. The hotel will be operated by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. The prices of the luxury condos start at $3 million.

The 30-story, $80 million Realm condominium on Peachtree, a joint venture by Novare Group Holdings, LLC and Wood Partners was a finalist in the residential development category. The 406 condominium development brought the first cranes to just off the hot development corner of Peachtree and Piedmont Roads. The condo units start at $200,000, which compared to The Mansion might seem like real affordable housing.

Another Buckhead project that was not a winner, but certainly a finalist in the Mixed/Special Use category, was the 3344 Peachtree mixed-use project of Regent Partners on Peachtree Road. The 50-story high-rise will include nearly 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, capped with 93 luxury residents. It will become the new home for the Buckhead Club.