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Ahead of the Curve: OK sought for new hotel
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Paul Donsky, Megan Matteucci, Eric Stirgus, Leon Stafford


An Atlanta developer is seeking permission to build a four-story hotel near Perimeter Mall adjacent to a condo development the company built several years ago.

The DeKalb County Planning Department has recommended the application be denied, saying proper approval from the condo owners has not been provided. The DeKalb County Commission is expected to take up the issue Tuesday.

Lawyers for the developer, Atlantic Realty Partners, said they have received authorization from the condo association and have even held several meetings with the people who live in the condo development, called Georgetown at Perimeter Walk.

"A hotel use is a perfect use for the property," said Den Webb, an attorney at Smith, Gambrell & Russell. "There's a need for it. We've gotten positive feedback from the community."

The 5-acre site that contains the condos was intended to also include a retail component. But economic conditions changed, prompting the developer to switch gears and pursue a hotel, Webb said.

--Paul Donsky

Health center opens

A 58,000-square-foot medical building is the first to open on the new Southern Regional Health System satellite campus in Jonesboro.

Health care real estate firm Meadows & Ohly LLC of Atlanta opened the three-story Spivey Station Physician's Center earlier this month.

The building, at 7823 Spivey Station Blvd., is the first tenant on the 92-acre site. The Jonesboro campus is designed to expand the services of the Riverdale hospital.

"Southern Regional Health System is committed to providing convenient outpatient services in the Southern Crescent while strengthening relationships with their physicians," said Carl Ohly, chairman of Meadows & Ohly.

Construction also is under way on a 25,000-square-foot building to house the Southlake Ambulatory Surgery Center, Ohly said. The center will relocate once the work is complete.

-- Megan Matteucci

Apartments pushed

Atlanta's Urban Residential Finance Authority board agreed last week to look into bond financing to help companies build two multifamily rental developments in the city.

Russell New Urban Development wants to build 250 apartments in the Old Fourth Ward at William Holmes Borders Drive, near the King Memorial MARTA station. Twenty percent of the units would be set aside as affordable housing. The monthly rents for the affordable housing would range from $717 to $932.

The second project is in Reynoldstown. Mercy Housing SouthEast and RRC-Atlanta want to construct a 78-unit apartment building primarily for seniors at Marcus Street near Krog Street. The monthly rents would range from $651 to $880.

The authority is considering whether to approve bond financing totaling $36 million. The board will decide whether to approve the financing later this year.

-- Eric Stirgus

Hotels come online

How Atlanta absorbs the new hotel rooms coming online in 2009 will be one of the topics tackled Sept. 8 in PKF Consulting's Atlanta Lodging Outlook 2009.

The annual report, which will be delivered at 8 a.m. at the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead, is coveted by the hospitality community as one of the most comprehensive looks at what's ahead for the industry.

The need to know is especially crucial this year. Occupancy was well below average in 2008 as the economy slowed and business travelers -- who make up a huge portion of the city's hotel guest lists -- pulled back.

Hotels expected to open in 2009 include the St. Regis in Buckhead, the W Hotel downtown and Palomar in Midtown.

"The first half of the year has been very, very soft due to the economy weakening," said Mark Woodworth, executive vice president of PKF. "We think that weakness is going to persist in the second half of this year and into the first half of 2009."

PKF predicts occupancy to drop to an average 61.2 percent this year, compared with 63.5 percent in 2007 and 64.5 percent in the past 20 years, Woodworth said.

-- Leon Stafford

Approval clears way

The passage Monday of a tax allocation district for the Westside around Centennial Olympic Park has cleared the way for a new Hard Rock Hotel, says Paul Breslin, managing partner of Panther Hospitality.

The planned 200-room-plus lodge, slated for property across from the Georgia Aquarium and to be built by Luckie Street Hotel Partners, has been in the planning stages a while but needed TAD support to get off the ground in the tough economic environment, Breslin said.

"Last Monday was a huge day for the passage of the TAD," Breslin said. "That was a milestone."

Details for the hotel have not been finalized, Breslin said. It was unclear whether the project would live up to an October 2007 news release from the Hard Rock International Web site that described the hotel as "a contemporary mixed-use development featuring 270 spacious rooms and 30 luxury residences with a flagship retail and entertainment destination."

The Web site said the building would open in 2010, but Breslin agreed that may not be realistic.

-- Leon Stafford