Dunwoody City Council expressed concern during the first reading about the new restaurant and retail space during Monday’s meeting.
The owner of Branch Properties is asking to change the zoning terms for the property located at 600 Ashwood Parkway. The property is located in the Perimeter Center Marketplace, a multi-purpose building attached to the grocery store, now Publix, which the city has approved in 2019
In 2019, a 1.5-acre plot of approximately 10 acres was left vacant with the understanding that the applicant would require changes to the zoning conditions as soon as they were offered a plan for that plot. According to senior planner Madeline Smith, the plan now includes an 8,400-square-foot restaurant and retail space, 62 parking spaces and an ATM.
The building itself will be able to accommodate multiple tenants, said Jack Halett of Branch Properties. Haylet said the ATM in question would be a more automated full-service ATM that would be different from other ATMs already located in the complex. He also said that many financial institutions have expressed interest.
“The ATM at Publix is an ATM,” Halet said. “When we get financial services … they want automated cash registers to be fully utilized.”
Smith said the building is farther from the property line than some other buildings in the area due to several major underground communications. Because of this, the applicant plans to add open patios to further intensify the space. Board member Tom Lambert said he wants assurances that these courtyards will be activated even without a restaurant.
“I would like to have an outdoor restaurant there. That would be great, ”Lambert said.“ But there’s nothing here that guarantees us that … I want to make sure we don’t just get a concrete hump, that we get a space that can be activated and used, and benefits for the area “.
Smith said a condition could be added that requires the applicant to activate patio spaces.
Board member Stacey Harris said she was concerned that Brunch was not fulfilling its point of the Perimeter Center Marketplace development deal, especially with regard to commuter routes and landscaping along Ashford Dunwood Road, which were to be developed at the same time as the project.
“Ashford Dunwood Road in front of your property is best described as a hot mess,” Harris said. “You have not fulfilled your obligations to the city, and so I am very reluctant to give you more if you have not done what you should have done.”
Haylett said there were failures in the project, including the discovery of 24 unmarked fiber-optic lines under a steel waterline that did not appear in city or county plans. He also said the pandemic had caused some setbacks, but the goal was to ensure the relocation of these lines and other development of this open area was completed by May 8th.
“We started this work before the pandemic, we created the pandemic, and we broke ourselves to do it,” Halet said.
Mayor Lynn Deutsch asked if more bicycle parking spaces could be included to make the area as comfortable as possible for pedestrians and cyclists. She said that when the board initially heard the plan, the idea was to have a specialty grocery store and restaurants with chefs.
“I love Publix, but to make it clear, we need to have convenience, convenience and attractiveness, because otherwise … I get emails that it’s another mattress store,” Deutsch said. “I get emails or messages on Facebook that it’s Lucky China. We are a capitalist society, and that’s who wanted to be there. But we have to make this center as beautiful as it should be. ”
The draft is expected to be re-examined by the board at its next meeting.