ROSWELL, Ga. — A Georgia property development company has started construction on multiple apartment units despite the City of Roswell’s restrictions on building such standalone housing.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the ECI Group began demolition on the abandoned SuperTarget off Holcomb Road. This will become the new site of what will be known as the Averly East Village in East Roswell. A press release from the development company outlines the building will hold 335 apartments and 74 townhouse units with an estimated completion date of 2024.
"The development of Averly East Village comes at a particularly opportune time, with North Atlanta experiencing explosive growth in jobs and residents. We are excited to play our part in helping to address the shortage of new housing by building luxury residential units on what was a mostly vacant strip center in the middle of the affluent Roswell area," Jimmy Baugnon, Chief Investment Officer at ECI Group said in a press release.
The build, however, does not come without scrutiny. Earlier this year, the city of Roswell put restrictions on the development of standalone apartments to decrease population density and provide more mixed-use housing and retail space.
“We have pretty specific goals and dreams for Roswell, and it's not to increase the population by leaps and bounds, which is what standalone apartments tend to do. It adds high density very quickly and we're not in the business of growing our city to that kind of level of population.”
Lee Hills is a Roswell City Councilmember and said that the current Roswell administration did not approve the building of Averly East Village. The development plan was approved by Roswell's previous city council and was inherited by the administration of the current Roswell mayor, Kurt Wilson.
According to Hills, more than 33% of Roswell residents live in apartments which she said is an “overwhelming” number. However, when the city voted on restricting standalone apartment units, several developers, real estate agents and Roswell residents spoke out against the amendment’s passing.
Their concerns aligned with the idea that these restrictions would allow for current residents to be priced out by contributing to rising rent costs within the city. Many have argued that with more mixed-use developments and retail space, population growth is inevitable and with not enough housing units built - amidst apartment limits and Atlanta’s housing shortage - the city will see a scarce number of resident housing.
"Roswell was one of the fastest-growing cities on the census in 2020, so if you're looking to stop your growth, then you don't build those properties - you build something that's going to bring in more businesses," he said. "On the other side of that coin is, once you've brought in all these businesses, where do your business owners live?"
Hills expressed that the solution to this issue lies in diversifying development opportunities. She outlined eight other options that developers could potentially pursue instead of standalone apartments, which include neighborhood mixed-use, commercial mixed-use, commercial corridor, parkway village, commercial heavy, downtown residential, downtown mixed-use and office residential.
"A lot of our sister cities have a lot more single home residents, so we would like to be very responsible and deliberate when we develop with apartments. Again, not against apartments, but we want to be sure that we're thinking about the whole picture," Hills said.
Hills said ultimately, the goal is to slowly evolve Roswell's landscape with the times without sacrificing its identity.
"We just want to keep the uniqueness and the charm where it is, and then where we've got vacancies, improve it well so that our residents are happy and can continue a good lifestyle, quality of life," she added.