Help Us Improve

Entries in Historic Roswell (33)

Saturday
Aug092014

Developments Around Town

There's a lot going on in Roswell these days.  Here's a quick update on what's going on around town that I'm aware of.  If you have any additional items or details, let me know and I'll add them.

Active Developments

New Elementary School (Name TBD) - Our new elementary school on Alpharetta Hwy is moving along.  They are obviously working quickly to get it open for the 2015 school year.  The site has been cleared (you can't miss that) and there has been some pretty extensive grading.

Canton Walk Apartments - This one is going vertical and is starting to make good progress.  I've heard that they hope to start leasing toward the end of the year.  

Forrest Commons - This one is in full swing as well.  A number of foundations have been poured and as of this writing, there are three single family units that are framed.  There are 9 detached units and 13 townhomes slated for this one and prices look to be starting in the $580's.  This one is a Monte Hewitt project and you can find out more on their website here.

Providence Phase II - Lehigh Homes entered into a partnership with Frontdoor communities to build and sell the second phase of Providence which will have 17 townhomes and 3 single family residences. The site is being prepped and there is a lot of activity back there.  I'd suggest not driving back on Webb St to check it out.  These units are starting in the $580's and appear to be securely in the $600's for most of them.  For more info, you can go to www.ProvidenceRoswell.com.

image: Frontdoor Communities

Long Circle - Another project by Lehigh Homes, this one will be putting in three or four single family residences (unsure but will get clarification) at the southwest corner of Long Circle. The site has been cleared and is being prepped currently.  

The Porch Project - Not too far from the aforementioned Long Circle project, this is a single family teardown on Thompson Place that is being done by some friends of mine.  Check out their website to see how they have been working to do all of the work with local Roswell businesses.  www.theporchproject.com

image: Whole Town Solutions

Alstead (formerly Centinnial Walk) - This John Wieland project is in full swing.  The last I saw, there woudl be 80 single family homes, 29 townhomes and 17,500 sq ft of retail on just under 28 acres.  That may have changed. The site has been cleared which any East Roswell readers will already know as you can't miss the red clay as you pass by on Holcomb Bridge.  There is a tiny mixed-use component to this one which is better than nothing but the original plans for this were significantly better when you think about how little true walkability exists in East Roswell (sidewalks and trails do not equal true walkability).

The Village on Pine - This one is at the intersection of Chattahoochee St and Pine St just south of Barrington Hall.  I was never too happy with the overall design of this one as you can see here, but at the end of the day, it's happening.  Acadia Homes has cleared the lot and homes should be going up soon.  The price point on these is in the $400's but there isn't much additional detail available yet. (website)

Strickland & Valley - I'm not sure what the name of this one is going to be but the site has been cleared and at this point there's a bunch of red clay.  There was a lot of debate on the site plan and rezoning request for this one.  I personally feel we ended up with the worse option of the two for the site plan but man.. people can't have headlights shining in their windows.

Sprouts Buildout - For the organic food shoppers, the loss of Harry's to Avalon will leave a void.  I'm guessing that Sprouts will be looking to fill that void.  They are currently upgrading the anchor space in the shopping center behind Chipotle and Starbucks at Mansell & 9.  I'm not sure what the timeframe is for opening but it could be before the end of the year.

Roswell Manor - This one is another piece of land that was a victim of the real estate crash.  JEH Homes has resurrected it and this time around it's going to be built out as 73 single family homes.  This one will collect on to Old Alabama.  The address is 1580 Old Alabama Rd.  The website advertises its proximity to Big Creek Park but this development could have done so much more to foster bike and trail connectivity especially given that it sits between Big Creek Park and the planned Big Creek Parkway.  Prices start in the $300's.  

Weatherford Place - It looks like there is a little bit of construction underway on this long stalled development of uber-eco-friendly homes off Minhinette Dr.  These homes have all the environmental bells and whistles including solar systems and LEED certification. 

 

Proposed

Goulding - This project is a favorite of mine for the connectivity that it will add to our street network. Frontdoor Communities is billing it as the largest infill development in Historic Roswell and it likely is.  There will be 27 townhomes, 13 single family homes and a remodel of the existing Goulding house.  Prices will likely start in the $700k to $800k range.

 

The Watertower (name TBD) - This project is on Woodstock Rd between the water tower and the cemetery.  Lehigh Homes (builders of Providence and the Long Circle development mentioned above) is currently working through the approval process having had their neighborhood meeting and going before the Historic Preservation Commission and City Council in August and September.  This project will be more townhome product and should be an interesting addition to the historic district.

835 Mimosa - This is a very interesting development that could energize Mimosa Blvd.  The proposed plan will renovate or rebuild the existing home with a Neel Reed look and put 8 townhomes around the existing home.  The architecutre would be similar to the Bricks in the Mill Village and is being designed by Lew Oliver.

Canton Street Townhomes - I'm unsure of the name of this potential development but it is just starting the approval process.  It will be along Canton Street just between Woodstock Rd and Minhinette Dr. 

Townhomes at Creekview Condominiums - Not many details are available on this one but from the looks of it, the owner of the property surrounding the unfinished Creekview Condominiums would like to develop townhomes on the areas of the property where the two other condo buildings were never built.

Image: @ScottLong

Hill Street Commons - Another proposed development in the Groveway district.  This one looks to have 24 townhomes and will be on the lot on the southwest corner of the Myrtle & Hill St intersection.  

City Green - This one will be a long term project but I like keeping tabs on it.  The most recent news is that the design and engineering were funded with $587k set aside in the 2015 budget.  This is big news and we should expect to see more details in the next few months.  If you would like to show your support.. click here!

Kingswood Subdivision (12160 Etris Rd) - This is pretty standard single family home subdivision that ws approved for 25 lots.  It will add a tiny bit of road connectivity to the intersection of Etris and Kent Rds.

Traditions at Roswell (Hardscrabble/Crossville) - This one is about 14 single family homes on about 5 acres.  It's a pretty standard subdivision that does not add to road connectivity and opens up to Hardscrabble just east of the Crossville intersection.

Canton Street Walk Resurrected - I haven't heard much about this one since late last year but I'm keeping it on the proposed list until I hear otherwise.  This project that I wrote about here will fill in an empty lot within the Providence development.  

52 Sloan Street - The owner of this property is hoping to tear down the historic structure circa 1925 and build new.  The building is currently badly burned but the HPC is not sure whether it is in need of demolition.  More to come here.  Either way, with the fire and the loss of the large tree, this property has seen better days.

This Google Streetview image shows the house in better times. The building is now badly burned, the large tree to the right is now a huge stump but.. you'll be glad to know that the street signs are still there in all their glory.The proposed elevations look nice and if approved will be a quality addition to the street. They will definitely be an improvement on the charcoal facade that's there currently.

Rumored

Vickers - What I have heard here is that the property is under contract to be sold.  The dollar figures are well over $1M.  It'll be interesting to see what might go here.

Dolvin House - The word on the street is that a redevelopment of the property surrounding the Dolvin House (aka the Roswell White House) on Bulloch Ave bay be in the works.  I think a cottage court style development surrounding the historic home would work well here.  Given that the property is listed as under contract, I'd say there is definitely something in play.

image: Sonenberg Company

Dead Projects

Azalea Townhomes - This would have brought 22 townhomes and 2 single family homes to the lot at Azalea Dr across from Azalea park.  The owner was also planning on donating some land on the river side of the property to the city to build a new boat house for the Crew teams that operate on the river.  Oversimplifying, there were a lot of water concerns coupled with some vocal NIMBY opposition.  It would have been nice to see added connectivity for the neighborhoods to the north to get to the river which would have eased some of the traffic at the 9/Riverside/Azalea and Azalea/Willeo intersections.  Oh Well!

The Blacksmith House (1075 Canton Street) - This one is dead from what I understand.  It would have added four townhomes behind the house at 1075 Canton St.  

Holcomb Bridge @ Scott Rd - This proposed development has been fraught with challenges.  A couple biggies were the site which has some water and topography issues.  I was a big fan of the initial proposal which would have added connectivity into Martins Landing from HBR but apparently when solutions are proposed that will help alleviate traffic problems, the same people that complain about the traffic problems don't like the solutions... so a second proposal came back without the connectivity but as of last check, the developer has dropped their application.  

Saturday
Aug092014

Just a Little Paint

I'm a big fan of the paint job they put on the old Chaplin's shopping center near the square.  The old green was just dark and depressing.  The new paint job breaks up the facade and will really help to bring attention to the tenants.  I'm sure Moxie Burer is pleased as they will be moving into the old Borocco spot soon.  

Tuesday
Jul222014

Stop the Madness: HOLY Knee Jerk Reaction

This is what I would call an impressive knee jerk reaction to the recently passed and enacted Safe Carry Protections Act here in Georgia.  The new legislation basically says properly licensed gun owners can carry a properly registered gun pretty much anywhere they want.  This includes bars, churches, stores, schools and some government buildings.  I personally am not a fan and from the looks of it, neither is the Zions Baptist Church.  

I'm thinking this is a statement but maybe it's just another sign of our sign culture gone wild.  Either way, the fervor with which they have posted signs on their property is both equally impressive and depressing.  Oversigning for any reason cheapens our public realm and reduces the connection and intimacy that one feels for a place.  I counted no fewer than 20 signs and I snapped pics of most of them.  Have fun with my photo anthology of hideous signs posted in reaction to a ridiculous law.  

I didn't go inside but I wouldn't be surprised to see a sign posted on the cross hanging over the altar.

 

 

Tuesday
Jul012014

East West Alley Master Plan - Info Sessions..

If you are interested in what is going on with the East West Alley Master Plan, there are some meetings coming up later this month and later this summer that you will want to try to attend.  The Schedule is posted at the end of this post.  The first of the meetings will be next Wednesday at City Hall Room 220 at 5pm.  I'm really interested in seeing what concepts will be discussed.  Personally, I hope they look at making the alleys intos woonerfs (shared space where pedestrians and bicyclists have priority).  Additionally, we should look at paving them in brick from building face to building face.  This would add character and further enhance the pedestrian focus.

Here are a few imags from Jen Kempson's Integrated Alley Handbook that focuses on converting alleys in Seattle into actual livable places that add value to the city.  We could take a page from these concepts..

 

 

Meetings regarding Concept Plans
 
July 9, 2014 at 5:00p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Public Open House to present and discuss concept plans
 
July 9, 2014 at 7:00p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: HPC Hearing - Discussion of Concept Plans with HPC
 
July 14, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Work Session with Mayor and City Council to present and discuss concept plans
 
 
Meetings regarding Draft Master Plan
 
August 13, 2014 at 6:00p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: HPC Hearing – Discussion of Draft Master Plan with HPC
 
August 19th, 2014 at 6:00p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Public Open House to present Draft Master Plan

August 25, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Work Session with Mayor and City Council to review and discuss Master Plan

September 10, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: Present Master Plan for Adoption at Mayor and City Council Meeting

 

 

Tuesday
Jun172014

Goulding Place Single Family Renderings

While sifting through the upcoming city meetings schedule, I came across the first renderings I've seen of the Front Door Communities single family product that will be going up at Goulding Place.  I'm a little disappointed by the percentage of homes that have front loader garages.  That really isn't in keeping with the rest of Goulding Place even though the builder is making some effort to maintain a consistent architecture.  The biggest thing I like about this project is the opportunity for connectivity.

Here are the images beginning with the Site Plan..

 

Thursday
Apr102014

The East West Alley Master Plan

City council will be voting Monday on a proposal by city staff to hire POND & Co to conduct a master plan for the area that is being called the East West Alley.  I didn't know it had a name but apparently now it does.  The boundary map is below.

 

 

The Primary focus will be the Web St area from Canton St to Mimosa.  From the city memorandum:

The purpose of the master plan is to have a comprehensive development approach in the alleys built on consensus and good planning principles including land use, transportation and stormwater.

I sure do hope they adhere to the "good planning principles" piece of that statement.  A charette will be conducted at some point during the process and everyone who is interested should pay attention to that and participate if possible.  I will provide dates when they become available in a subsequent post.

Here are some things I would like to see in that area..

  • Mixed-Use + Parking - How about a mixed-use building to replace the Antique Market that would front Canton Street, have shops along Webb St and have a parking deck in the back.  Maybe a good use would be a hotel.
  • Playground - How about a small playground somewhere?  I've always thought the Canton Street area was lacking a high quality playground that parents could stop off at.
  • NO WIDE ROADS - part of the coolness of alleys is that they are narrow and cozy.  DOT, please don't ruin that with 10+ foot lanes.  Please.
  • Fill the Missing Teeth - in addition to the missing tooth that is the Antique Market parking lot, we need to fill in the missing tooth that is the space just to the south of the Board of Trade.  That spot is in need of a building.

What do you think should be emphasized in this master plan?

 

Wednesday
Apr022014

Support the Roswell City Green

In 2012, world renowned planner Andres Duany came to Roswell.  He and his team were hired by the city to do a master plan for Historic Roswell.  His original task was to master plan the area from the river to the historic square but when he visited he was impelled to take a look at the Canton St, Hwy 9 & Magnolia intersection as well.  What he envisioned was bold and has kept the city’s imagination moving ever since.  In the master plan, he proposed a large square on the grounds behind City Hall that would reroute Hwy 9 around the square and closer to City Hall while creating a formal space that could be fronted by three additional civic buildings.

Original DPZ concept of a traffic square.Unfortunately, the vision could not be made to work due to the high traffic volume on Hwy 9.  Since then, the idea has gone through several iterations from Duany’s square to the RDOT’s giant roundabout to Lew Oliver and Alex Paulson’s conceptual master plan with a very formal classic green.  The downtown development authority (DDA) felt there was something to the iterations and hired the local firm, JB+a, to draw up a plan.

That plan is fully baked and is designed to complement and build upon the energy that radiates from Canton St.  It calls for a beautiful tree-lined green between City Hall and Hwy 9 that will finally connect our most important civic building to the street.  It also proposes a number of additional, unique amenities.  First, the Faces of War Memorial will become a much more prominent feature.  A final decision on where and how it will be positioned has not been made but the outcome will give it the honor and respect that it is due.  Second, a beautiful, cozy open-air amphitheater will be built nestled into the trees between the green and Smith Plantation.  Third, a group of three buildings including a larger mixed-use building and two smaller outparcel buildings will be built.  

Details of use and design for the project haven’t been finalized but suggested uses include restaurants with outdoor seating, corner coffee shop, meeting space, art studios/galleries, water feature/sprayground.  There will be enhanced connectivity across the entire project that will improve walkability and make the 400 or so parking spaces at City Hall a better option for parking for anyone visiting Canton St or the new City Green.  It’s not bad now and it’ll be even better with the City Green.

It’s time for the city to show a commitment to the heart of Roswell and invest in the future.  We have an amazing civic space that has been hidden from view for 20+ years just waiting to be unearthed.  The grounds of City Hall and the Smith Plantation need an opportunity to come out of hiding and help expand the walkable center of Roswell.  The time is now. City Green will create an excellent civic and cultural asset.  It will enhance walkability and it will deliver the much needed active and flexible civic space that is essential to the continued revitalization of our town center.

The plan calls for three phases with an estimated total cost of around $12 million with a little less than half of that coming from the city as there are grants and private dollars that will be in play.  The projected return in private development from this project is enormous.  The DDA estimates that this project will entice over $200 million in private development in and around our town center. 

The Return on Investment alone is a no-brainer!  These investments work and there are many case studies to follow; Downtown Woodstock, Glenwood Park, Historic Norcross, Downtown Greenville... A little civic courage can go a long way.

There is some urgency as there are already three walkable town centers currently in some stage of development in our neighboring cities of Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.  The new era of walkable, people focused development is upon us and it's time for the city to take a step and commit to building our own walkable village here in Roswell.

You can get more info at www.CityGreenRoswell.org

You can support the project and send your support to the Mayor and Council at

http://www.change.org/petitions/roswell-mayor-and-council-support-the-town-green

 

Get Social.. Follow NewUrbanRoswell on Twitter and Facebook 

Thursday
Mar062014

Bring Back the Coca-Cola Sign...

While I was watching the Roswell circa 1942 video on YouTube!, I noticed that there used to be one of those old-timey Coca-Cola signs on the side of the building where Go With the Flow is currently.  I really think it would be cool to bring that back... or even put up a cool kayaking themed mural on that wall given that we are "a premier riverside community" and Go With the Flow is the top kayaking shop in the region.

Here's what it used to look like.. not sure who the man is but he probably never expected that his image would be blasted out on the interwebs in 2014.

Wednesday
Feb262014

Support the Roswell Town Green

I created an online petition in support of the Town Green.  Please take a minute to sign it if you support this effort.  

SIGN IT HERE

 

You can also read up on it here, here & here.

Sunday
Feb092014

The State of the City.. Walkability Has a Bright Future

If you can take one thing away from the State of the City address that was delivered by Mayor Jere Wood earlier this month, it is that walkablity has a bright future in Roswell.  It's refreshing to know that we have city leadership that for the most part understands that a focus on creating a more pedestrian friendly environment is critical to building a sustainable city.

The mayor hits on Old Town Roswell's status as one of the 27 existing Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) in the metro Atlanta and discusses building on our existing good bones in what he is referring to as Old Town Roswell which many may know as Historic Roswell.  Here are some of my favorite quotes...

For the past 60 years, we knew how development occurred...  There are no farms left, there is very little vacant land.  So we're looking for a new pattern. That growth is going to occur primarily in the hwy 9 corridor from HBR s to the river which includes Canton St.

For the purposes of this talk, I'm going to call that area Old Town Roswell.  Because it really is pretty much the boundaries of the city in 1854.  That's where you are going to see the growh in the future occur.  It's going to occur by converting old strip centers and old apartments into a walkable village.  A walkable village is someplace that you can easily walk to every where you go every day without getting in a car.

To be walkable, a community must be compact.  The residential and commercial uses must be next to each other not spread out and segregated as we have seen in the past. So this isn't your typical subdivision.  This is what you think of when you think of a village.

To be walkable, a community must be connected.  That connection is through a grid of streets, alleys and sidewalks.  Fortunately, that is what we have in Old Town Roswell.  We're gonna add to that grid.  It's totally different than what you have seen in the past which is a subdivision with cul-de-sacs and shopping centers that are not connected to their neighbors.  We're seeing a new development pattern.  Again, this is in Old Town Roswell and I don't see it going beyond that at this point in time.

We're going to grow by compact development within Old Town Roswell.  

There are a number of other great points in the video which every Roswell resident should watch.

 

Get Social.. Follow NewUrbanRoswell on Twitter and Facebook