On the hills and ridges of the former Glenridge Hall estate in Sandy Springs, Ashton Woods’ massive Aria housing development is taking shape.

With sales of units in the first construction phase now underway, Mike Busher, senior vice president at Ashton Woods Atlanta, led a March 8 tour of the 47-acre site on Abernathy Road.

The site of the first phase of Aria’s construction will include a community green and pool in the middle ground of this photo. The 10 Glenlake Parkway office building rises in the back. (Phil Mosier)

Aria is a complex, three-site development with hundreds of units. It also includes housing that will go up alongside the new Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters across Abernathy, and a townhome site on Glenridge Drive. “Aria North,” the section north of Abernathy where the historic Glenridge Hall mansion once stood, eventually will include a sizable public park after construction wraps up around 2020.

Approved in 2015, the project was controversial for replacing Glenridge Hall, which was demolished by its owners, and for cutting down a large forest. Busher said many of the trees will be replaced with on-site plantings and he noted that Ashton Woods has retained most of the property’s rolling topography.

The first phase of about 125 units is readying for housing construction , with 47 units sold so far at prices ranging from roughly $300,000 to $1.1 million.

“We’re averaging close to one sale a day,” said Busher. “That’s incredible.”

The site is attracting buyers who work at the area’s major corporations, including some relocating from such areas as East Cobb, Ashton Woods broker Vicki Polo said.

An image of the future main entryway and cafe as shown in a video tour of Aria North.

All Aria homes are designed with architecture intended to echo English manor houses. The first phase includes a manor-like “iconic building” with a ground-level café and a gym built into a bridge overhanging the main driveway.

Two new drives have been built into the property atop large stone walls. An existing pond between them was drained for construction and will be refilled later. The new streets will have music-themed names such as Aria and Cadence, and include on-street parking to supplement interior garages.

While Aria will cover three separate properties, all of its streets will connect with each other and include sidewalks open to the public. The future park will be given to the city for public use as well; while it was previously discussed as 14 acres, Busher said it likely will be closer to 10 to 12 acres.

“It will be a non-gated community,” Busher said, adding that accessibility is a must “if you really believe in the pedestrian-centric idea” that is part of the development’s design.

A second phase of sales and construction will focus on the former site of the Glenridge Hall mansion, which is now almost entirely plowed flat. One piece of historic architecture remains: a pergola that once covered an unusual garden seating area featuring an oversized chess set.

When it was a wooded private estate, the site was insulated from traffic noise despite being only a few hundred feet from Ga. 400. Even with many trees gone and the new houses yet to be built, the property remains notably quiet—not counting its own construction activities.

A sales office is open on the property at Abernathy near Glenlake Parkway, and a website, including a video tour, is available at ashtonwoods.com/atlanta/aria.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

3 replies on “A peek inside Ashton Woods’ Aria project in Sandy Springs”

  1. Cheap, cookie cutter apartments and more traffic. Thanks for getting rid of a city landmark for sprawl. Really helping the quality of life…for developers that don’t have to live with it.

  2. What an insult to the sad legacy of Glenridge Hall to build a common area that echoes the Tudor architecture of the house that was unnecessarily torn down because of Ashton Woods lack of any vision beyond clear cutting and demolition.

  3. Mr. Busher , you and your company have destroyed a large forest and leveled rolling hills. You have made plenty of money, now go somewhere else and destroy their trees, we are kind of sick about all this in Sandy Springs….

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