An Atlantic Station Condo Declines 39%

29 11 2008

Today’s AJC talks about a couple that got in WAY over their head in the real estate market craze and now are paying for it in spades.

But the number that caught my eye in the article wasn’t their $419,000 Smyrna home that costs $100,000 less than it did a few years ago.  Suburb declines are well documented at this point.  Personally, I was struck by the condo at “Twelve” Atlantic Station, which was purchased for $387,000 in 2005-6 and is now worth  $150,000 less.

This is the Atlantic Station that everyone (including the AJC) touted as the new wave of smart growth development.  Massive, single developer cities that could do no wrong as long as they threw a bunch of residential and commercial in the same general vicinity.   Atlantic Station was so awesome because it had its own zip code and organized mommy stroller walks.   Yeah well, the economy may have played a part in exacerbating this problem, but a 39% decline in home values is nothing short of damning market critique of this project, which shows that all smart growth (just like everything else) isn’t created equal.  You can’t cut corners, you can’t overestimate demand, and I personally believe you can’t build a town from scratch and expect it to compete with areas that have developed over time.

A 39% decline?  How does anyone that bought one of these properties early on recover from a blow like that?  Maybe some of them can wait it out, but a heck of a lot more of them are going to end up hurting.  And what does Atlantic Station end up looking like 5 years from now?  H&M or no H&M.  Ugh.

Emory Grove Worried About Druid Hills High School Expansion

29 11 2008

Photo Courtesy of the AJC

The AJC reports that this house, which abuts Druid Hills High School property on Westminister Way, has been bought up by the school as it plans a $21 million expansion.  This move has residents understandably worried about the school’s future plans for the site, but the school system isn’t saying much.

And just an item of clarification….The article states that the neighborhood is a National Register district, but that residents are worried that the school system is “exempt” and could tear the house down to build a road or tennis courts.  Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a National Register district doesn’t physically protect anything in a district.  All it can do is throw up a whole lot of red tape around any project that receives federal funding.  Most often this applies to DOT.  If you want blanket physical protection from anyone, you have to be a local historic district.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this project (regardless of whether it happens or not) prompts the creation of a local district in this neighborhood posthaste.

Parker’s On Ponce Website Up and Running

27 11 2008

Photo Courtesy of Parker's On Ponce

Click here to check out Parker’s new, fully launched website, complete with photos and a menu.

Looks delicious!  And the prices seem reasonable.

h/t: InDecatur

315 Proposal Drops 58 Units; Schedules Second Meeting

27 11 2008

Scott forwards an email from Otis White announcing a second 315 W. Ponce meeting at City Hall December 3rd from 6:30-8:30p.  The big news in it is the sizable reduction of units.

Dear Decatur citizen:

We are convening a meeting about the 315 W. Ponce project on Wednesday,
Dec. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Decatur City Hall.  The meeting will be in
the City Commission Room.

Background: A group of neighbors has been in direct talks with the 315
W. Ponce developer since our Oct. 15 meeting, and these talks are
continuing.  The developer presented a revised plan to this group in
response to issues identified at the Oct. 15 meeting.  While neighbors
recognized the concessions being made by the developer, they identified
problems with the new proposal.  In response, the developer revised the
original site plan that reduced the number of units from 218 to 160
units and eliminated the need for a parking variance.

The meeting will convene citizens to:
— Learn what has happened since the October meeting.
— Hear the developer’s revised proposal.
— Hear the neighborhood group’s concerns with the revised proposal.
— Learn whether there are other voices that wish to be heard about the

In the weeks ahead, the 315 W. Ponce project will enter the established
city process for reviewing projects (Planning Commission, City
Commission, etc.)  Before it does, we want to give citizens a chance to
learn where the project is and make sure all points of view are heard.

Best regards,

Otis White

What I’ve heard through the grapevine is that the entire building that was supposed to front W. Ponce has been removed.  Anyone want to confirm that for me?

Sunday Paper Offers $1 Mil For Creative Loafing; CL Responds

26 11 2008

Steve Fennessy reports that Sunday Paper publisher Patrick Best has offered $1 MILLION DOLLARS for Creative Loafing.

Andisheh responds (with his pinky finger at the corner of his mouth) over at Fresh Loaf.

Decatur Black Friday Deals!

26 11 2008

Ann at Mingei World Arts sends out an announcement about Black Friday “doorbusters” at Mingei (featuring “items that never go on sale” and deals at other Church Street shops.



20% OFF all Guatemalan bags and runners
25% OFF all kimonos and haori
20% OFF wool shawls
30% OFF medium and large Dewali oil lamps.

HooplaGreat deals Friday on apparel, dolls, dollhouses and puzzles. 20% to 50% off!

Taste – 20% off all Georgia-made products. Great gifts!

UPDATE: Whits End sends in their Black Friday deals too!

Our sales specials for this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be 20% off all Columbia fleece, shirts, sweaters, jackets, and sweatshirts, and 10% off all other non-sale items in the store (excluding DHS Spirit Wear, and Photography).

Also on sale now at 20% off are all TOMS SHOES. (Remember, a child in need gets a free pair for each pair sold.) All Docker’s pants, and Patagonia Shoes are on sale. Some gifts and clothing are clearance priced, as are all Columbia shoes.

UPDATE II: The Decatur Minute has a bunch more!

Who else has Black Friday deals?  Let’s hear ’em Decatur merchants!

Rosser’s Student Count for Annexation Areas Revised

26 11 2008

Pat Herold sends in this updated video explaining why Rosser’s student count for the annexation area was curiously low and what the new projected number of students looks like.  (though I’m unclear as to whether Rosser endorses this number or whether its Pat’s projection)

Bottom line: When Rosser generated the now infamous “450” figure, it was working with an earlier version of the annexation map, which included a smaller potential annexation area.  So I guess the map was updated but the student population number was not?  Eeek.

Thanks for the follow up Pat!

One question I have:  Is it too conservative to project revenue growth in the underdeveloped annexation area similar to that of already revitalized downtown Decatur?  (Pat says he takes the average city growth over the last few years) Maybe we should go back and look at revenue growth for the city back in the 1980s and 1990s when the town was experiencing its rebirth and include that too.  Then perhaps take the average growth of the entire period?

It doesn’t solve the immediate deficit, but perhaps would give a more accurate picture of what the difference between revenue and expenses would be a few years down the road.

The City Commission Is Concerned About Your Taxes. Are You?

25 11 2008

One of the things I’ve noticed about the evolving discourse over annexation here is the general lack of concern over higher taxes.  It’s got me intrigued.

The city commission has always stated that the reason it has been considering annexation is to keep ahead of the higher millage that will become inevitable without it.  But from what I’ve observed here, it seems like a significant portion of vocal participation on this site doesn’t really have a problem with paying more in taxes to retain the current level of city services.

Is this true?  Let’s put it to a vote!

What’s better than a crappy online poll that skews towards those with lots of time to burn on blogs (read: white collar)?  Well, we can check the 2008 city survey, which shows that 64% ranked the value of services for taxes paid to the city as “good” or “excellent”.

Not a perfect comparison, but its as close as we can get.  I don’t think its too much of a stretch to assume that anyone who feels that taxes are too high wouldn’t rate “value” highly of a survey.

So maybe taxes aren’t as big an issue as the city thinks.  Or maybe, this site discussion is just the city’s upper-crust ruminating amongst ourselves.

My Thanksgiving Gift

25 11 2008

19 soaking wet Lawn & Leaf bags for the compost pickup guys.

Sorry about that fellas.  Try not to look at my neighbor’s 20 across the street.

This must be one of the worst Tuesday pickups of the year!

Signs of Life In 335 W. Ponce’s Century 21 Space

25 11 2008

Walking by the 335 building last night, my wife noticed a yellow permit in the window of the old Century 21.  Snapping out of my unobservant coma, I subsequently noticed that the Century 21 sign had also been recently taken down.

Does this space finally have a new tenet?  Its been vacant most of the year.

Anyone know who/what it will be?

UPDATE: Catherine gives us the answer in the comments section!