By John Schaffner

The Novare Group plans to break ground this fall on its planned mixed-use retail and condominium project adjacent to the Roxy theater on Roswell Road in Buckhead, according to John Long, chief investment officer for the Atlanta-based hotel and condominium development company.

Long said, “We have a beautiful building designed,” although he added that the design was not yet ready to be released to the public. “We have to do a lot of iterations to make sure if we build the building we will make money,” he added.

Novare, which presently is developing the Gallery condominiums at Rumson and Peachtree roads, also owns about 8.5 acres of property starting at the corner of Pharr and Peachtree Roads. Long said Novare had talked about possibly selling the actual corner lot at Peachtree and Pharr to Ben Carter properties “way down the road” but there presently are no discussions ongoing.

“Both sides decided for right now to call time out,” Long said. “They are trying to digest what they have got, which is a lot.”

According to Long, Novare has talked to nobody about selling the 8 remaining acres they have surrounding the corner lot. “We will do what is in the best interest of our shareholders. But, right now it is a long way off,” said the chief investment officer. “We have lease obligations on the property and other things we would have to clean up. We have not started schematic designs. We are just in the process of assembling it.

Novare CEO Jim Borders previously told the Reporter newspapers that the company would like to have one of its TWELVE hotels in both the Buckhead market and in the area around Perimeter Mall, where the company owns 13 acres at the southwest corner of Hammond Drive and Perimeter West Parkway.

Long also said a TWELVE hotel “would be a strong candidate” for both the property at Pharr and Peachtree in Buckhead and for the property in DeKalb County near Perimeter Mall. “Having said that, we are at ground zero today,” Long explained. “We simply have not gotten that far into the planning process.”

The first TWELVE hotel developed by Novare was at Atlantic Station. Presently in Atlanta, the company is developing a second TWELVE project in the Centennial Olympic Park area, which combines the hotel with two condominium towers.

“I can tell you we are very determined to put a TWELVE on the land we bought at the Perimeter,” Long said. “It would be a combination of hotel and condominiums.”

He said Novare is in the early process of meeting with the neighborhoods in the Perimeter area. “They have seen what we have done down here (meaning downtown Atlanta) and I think they want that type of development.”

He said they would keep the present office building on the site. “It is a phenomenal office building. It is one of the best office buildings in the Perimeter market,” he added. They will end up putting parking surrounded by buildings so the parking will not be seen.

He said the idea would be to turn the present acres of parking lots into hopefully another office building condominiums and a hotel, which would surround the parking deck and obscure it from view.

In a perfect world, he said development of that site could possibly start a year to 18 months from now.

He said they are trying to work with the Dunwoody Homeowners Association to gain its support for the zoning.

“We’re pretty thin-skinned at Novare,” Long said. “We like to make sure we appeal to what people want and then we develop it.”