Latest Cumberland Mixed-Use Jumping Into Fray
While the Braves stadium development has spurred a slate of new developments in Cumberland, the latest was actually more than 20 years in the making.
Longtime Atlanta developer George Morgan and his capital partner, Miami-based Morris Kaplan, are attempting to rezone nearly 19 acres of flat expanse off Cumberland Boulevard just south of Paces Ferry Road in Vinings, the latest major mixed-use project within striking distance to SunTrust Park. The project could encompass 300 apartment units, 50 condominium units, 225 senior housing units, 200 age-restricted (meaning those 55 years old or older) apartment units, a 300-room hotel, a 101k SF grocery-anchored shopping center and a 100k SF office building. Kaplan and George S. Morgan Development filed regional impact plans with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
George (here) says the duo are early on in this venture, although George himself has attempted to buy the site from the family ownership repeatedly since 1995. “Quite frankly, so many developers have tried to buy this property,” George says. And with good reason: It's flat, one of the highest points in Cumberland with great views of the region, including Downtown and Midtown Atlanta's skyline—clearly an eventual selling point for the multifamily components.
Morris says they already are in talks for a high-end grocer to anchor the retail, and are talking with other developers to build the office and hotel phases, but declined to identify any parties. The duo also say they have yet to secure financing, although they hope to deliver the first segments of the $400M-plus project—complete with a central city park square similar to Downtown Marietta's historic public square—by 2018. “We know that lenders are getting more selective, but we have strong relationships with lenders and they have encouraged us to move forward,” George says.
Once arguably one of the most sleepy submarkets since the Great Recession, Cumberland/Galleria has exploded in activity thanks in large part to SunTrust Park. Since then, numerous office buildings have sprouted, and at least two other developers are eyeing mixed-use in the area, including Greenstone Properties and John Williams' Preferred Apartment Communities, each with development plans next to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. This is the Morgan/Kaplan site as it is today.
Both George and Morris have a few notches in their own development belts. George is responsible for the Hamilton Mill mixed-use golfing community in Gwinnett County that came to be in the '90s. And Kaplan has been active in Atlanta's urban apartment fray, having developed the Waterford at Piedmont, 450 Piedmont and Cosmopolitan at Lindbergh, and is about to get underway with 377 Centennial, a 331-unit apartment project bordering Centennial Olympic Park along Ivan Allen Boulevard in Downtown Atlanta. And the two partners are underway with Square One (here), a 203-unit apartment project with street-level retail at the corner of Hammond Drive and Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, which will deliver this year.