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Dallas Developer Building Upscale Apartments Next To New Mercedes-Benz HQ

Rendering of The Alastair apartments and Aria Village in Sandy Springs by developers StreetLights Residential and Westdale

A Texas developer is debuting its mixed-use endeavors right next door to the new Mercedes-Benz North American headquarters, a move that could be just the start of a host of new projects in Atlanta for the firm.

Dallas-based StreetLights Residential has broken ground on Aria Village, a mixed-use community crowned by a five-story, 355-unit apartment project called The Alastair. It is part of a larger, master planned community called Aria being developed by Ashton Woods that will include a slew of single-family houses blended with the Mercedes-Benz campus off of Georgia Highway 400 and Abernathy Road.

Aria Village, which will also include 30K SF of retail and restaurants, is being co-developed by Dallas-based Westdale.

StreetLights Residential Senior Vice President of Development Fred Kay

“We certainly hope it's not our only project” in Atlanta, StreetLights Residential Senior Vice President of Development Fred Kay said.

While nothing has been secured yet, Kay said the firm is pursuing mixed-use projects on sites in Midtown, West Midtown and the Central Perimeter area, where Aria Village is situated.

“We'll be looking for prime locations that are already zoned, but they're tough to find right now,” he said.

StreetLights is pursuing new projects when more than 10,000 new apartment units are already underway in Atlanta. This has led to a flattening of rent growth in the metro area, according to a recent report by Adobo. As of November, the median rent of a one-bedroom stalled at just under $1,500/month, while a two-bedroom unit's median price shrank 150 basis points to $1,900/month.

“Some typical hot rental markets across the nation are showing signs of cooling off … with the usually popular markets of Atlanta, San Jose and Nashville all showing decreases in price,” Abodo Senior Communications Manager Sam Radbill wrote in an email. “In Atlanta specifically, prices have declined .09% from October to November, and many experts think that this trend will continue. Many cities have over-built and over-bought and Atlanta, with a ton of new developments coming online, may be one of them.”

The issue is something StreetLights Residential, which has numerous developments in Texas as well as projects in California and Phoenix, is keeping an eye on, Kay said. But Atlanta's job growth has been steady and is projected to remain so through 2019. Kay said his firm's Atlanta office is also eyeing Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte for projects.

“That's obviously the magic question, is the market overbuilt? We don't feel like it is,” he said. “Time will tell here, but we're pretty strong on the market even still.” 

Aria Village is scheduled to deliver by the summer of 2019. Kay said the developer expects to fetch rents around the $2/SF mark, with a mix of millennial and baby boomer renters.