The developers for a Dresden Drive mixed-use project where the current DeKalb tag office is located have lowered its density and are working with new partners.
Connolly Investment and Development was working with Fairfield Residential on the approximately $60 million project known as Dresden Village at the 3-acre site on the corner of Dresden Drive and Caldwell Drive, but is now handling the multi-family proposed development itself.
“In an effort to revamp the project to meet the expectations of the community, we hit the reset button after the August City Council meeting,” said Brian Fratesi, vice president of Development & Acquisitions for Connolly. “At that time, we took over control of the multi-family component of the project and hired new architects and engineers.”
In August, the City Council voted to defer the vote on Connolly’s rezoning request for the mixed-use development at 1336, 1342, 1350, 1358, 1364 and 1370 Dresden Drive and 2562, 2552, 2544, and 2536 Caldwell Road. The newest version of the proposed development is slated to go before the Planning Commission on Jan. 4 and then to the City Council Jan. 24.
Connolly CEO J.R. Connolly said at a Dec. 14 community meeting they had shrunk the density from 194 apartments to 169, going from about 60 units per acre to 45 units per acre. The development also now includes 10 for-sale townhomes with rooftop decks.
In the very first proposal from nearly a year ago, developers were seeking to build 206 apartments with no for-sale townhomes.
The buildings are planned to be four stories over one story of retail. The townhomes are expected to sell for $700,000 to $800,000 and the one- and two-bedroom apartments to rent for between $1,400 to $2,300.
Several residents at the meeting asked for even fewer apartments and suggested shrinking the project to 35 units per acre due, in part, to concerns of even heavier congestion than already exists on Dresden Drive, Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills surrounding the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station.
“This is not feasible at 35 units per acre,” Connolly said. If that happens, “we go away” he said, and noted the property is already approved for nearly 49 units per acre.
Part of the appeal of the location is its proximity to MARTA, Connolly added, and Dresden Village is intended to help the “pedestrian experience” planned as part of the Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay District.
Residents shared concerns of the height and the feeling that Dresden Drive, a two-lane road, would feel like a “concrete canyon.”
Connolly said their intention is to give an organic, valley feel to the neighborhood.
“It’s a small stretch of Dresden that has some height, we think it will be OK,” Connolly said.
Commercial square footage is also down, from more than 20,000 square feet to about 18,000 square feet to make room for more green space, Connolly said. All the commercial space would front Dresden Drive and would likely include two sit-down restaurants with patios on either end with boutique and service stores in between.
The proposed plan includes the construction of Dixie Moon, a two-story, 2,500-square-foot restaurant that has been planned for several years to go where the “Little White House” was located at 2536 Caldwell Road. Connolly said his company is in negotiations with property owner Fritz Rybert to buy the property.
The townhomes are designed to be a buffer as well as a transition between the mixed-use development of Dresden Village to the single-family homes on Caldwell Road, Green Meadows Lane and the surrounding area.
There would be a full-access point into the development from Dresden Drive, and a new full-access driveway on Caldwell Road, aligned with Green Meadows Lane. Another full-access driveway on Parkside Drive would be used only for loading and deliveries.
The driveways would lead into the development where a six-level parking garage would stand surrounded by the residential and retail buildings. There are 485 parking spots planned for the entire development and 180 will be open to the public for shopping and for Dixie Moon diners.
If the rezoning request receives council approval, Connolly said construction on Dixie Moon and the townhomes would begin in the fall of 2017 with the entire project taking about 24 months. The parking garage could not be built until the tag office is relocated and that could happen in November 2017, Connolly said.