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ATLANTA -- Developers have filed plans for the third Midtown apartment tower in less than a year.

Novare Group and Batson-Cook Development have applied with the city of Atlanta for a permit to build the project at 100 6th Street behind the existing 36-story Viewpoint condo tower.

The project would redevelop the site of the old Loca Luna and McCray's Sixth Street Tavern.

Novare Group and Batson-Cook Development Co. presented the project to the Midtown Alliance earlier this year. In a press release, the developers said the new 23-story 320-unit high-rise would be finished by no later than 2014.

Novare, led by developer Jim Borders, is best known for his condo towers that dot Peachtree from Buckhead through Midtown, including Viewpoint. But overbuilding of intown condos, much tighter mortgage-lending and a shift toward a preference for renting have pushed demand in favor of apartments.

Earlier this year, Novare and Batson-Cook began building a similar 23-story project called Skyhouse Midtown at 12th and West Peachtree streets. Daniel Corp. and Selig Enterprises Inc. are also developing 77 12th Street, a 23-story, 330-unit tower at the corner of 12th and Crescent Avenue.

Apartment developers are banking on demand from Gen Y, generally 20- and 30-year-olds thought to prefer renting to owning and living intown rather than the suburbs.

Midtown's apartment market is underserved, and Novare and Batson-Cook said their new projects will add much-needed inventory for the young professionals who want to live there and "prefer to maintain their mobility and therefore not own."

More developers are looking to build apartment high-rises in Midtown, people familiar with the market say.

Even so, new development still remains difficult to finance.

Most capital sources, including insurance companies, pension funds and hedge funds, have been concentrating on the gateway markets, such as Washington, D.C. Some banks, meanwhile, still see too much of their concentration in commercial real estate, where they were burned in the past cycle.

That said, several significant intown apartment projects are in the pipeline, including:

  • Atlantic Realty Partners, 288-unit redevelopment of the Georgian Hills Apartments at 1185 Collier Road
  • JPX Works LLC, 186 apartment units in Inman Park
  • Crescent Resources LLC, nearly 360-unit luxury apartment project at Terminus, the giant mixed-use development at Peachtree and Piedmont roads
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