Emory BP Station Closes June 1; Roundabout Construction Should Begin in August

29 05 2009

For all my talk about mass transit, I, like most people, still use a car on an almost daily basis.  And the Emory BP has been my go to station.  Close and relatively cheap compared to everything else in the vicinity.

Welp, it looks like I’m about to start paying more to fill up.  Maybe this is a sign that I should finally go diesel/bi0-diesel.

A reader sends in parts of a note that was just sent out to Emory staff…

“… the BP station in Emory Village has been sold and will close as of June 1, Emory University did NOT purchase it, … did not know what plans have been made for that property.”

Just wondering if you have any leads on who purchased this property and what the plans are?

Also, fyi, here is the remainder of the email detailing the Emory Village project and future plans for this summer and the rest of the year:

“…The water line project in Emory Village is complete. Georgia Power will now begin the process of burying overhead utilities, including electricity, cable TV, and telephone. This phase is expected to begin in June and extend into fall, perhaps through the end of the calendar year. The work is scheduled to take place mainly between 8pm and 5am, but will nonetheless be disruptive. DeKalb County has gone to bid for construction of the roundabout, with an anticipated start date in August, and a one year duration. So it looks like Emory Village will be a mess for another year…”

Glenlake Pool Opening Delayed Until June 5th

20 05 2009

Linda Harris and Dan Magee blitz the blogosphere with this press release…

The Grand Opening of the new Glenlake Bathhouse and Pool, originally scheduled for Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m., has been postponed until June 5, 2009. Completion of the new bathhouse has been delayed by the numerous rain days which occurred this spring.

Both McKoy Pool and Ebster Pool will open on Saturday, May 23, 2009 as scheduled.

The Glenlake Pool and Bathhouse Grand Opening celebration will be held on Friday, June 5, 2009 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. and will include games, prizes, refreshments, and free admission. Details will be updated and confirmed on the City of Decatur website at http://www.decaturga.com.

Voila Market Cafe Closes

18 05 2009

Voila closed

My wife reports this morning that the space that once housed Voila Market Cafe now has an “Available” sign in the window and the interior looks in the midst of disassembly.

I wonder what will happen to Button Cakes Bakery, which just opened inside the Voila  a couple of months ago inside the Viola space.

Should DeKalb Give Sembler $52 Million?

18 05 2009

Lots of in-depth articles in this Sunday’s AJC, including a look at the influence of Georgia’s largest road builder on State transportation legislation and a closer look at Georgia’s generous movie tax credit.

But none left me as unsettled as Ty Tagami’s report about Sembler’s request that DeKalb County fork over $52 million to help them “finish” the 54 acre mixed-use project near the Brookhaven MARTA station.

Why unsettled?

Because on the one hand, I have serious issues with Sember’s prior perversions of “mixed-use”, not to mention watching a cash-strapped county hand over a briefcase or six full of 100s to said developer (that’s how it works right?) Also, as Burrell Ellis has stated, it sets a bad precedent in the dark world of money-starved developers.

But at the same time, it’s mixed-use near a MARTA station.  Can the project survive if Sembler walks away from the project and leaves a big hole in the ground?  Will someone else pick it up? Also, how is it different from the federal government borrowing up to its ears to provide a cushion of employment during an economic squeeze?

I wasn’t born yesterday.  I recognize that there has always been a special back-scratching relationship between government and developers.  In this specific case though, I think there are enough concrete reasons to justify my unstated desire to watch Sembler squirm.

So, for right now…I’m coming down in favor of the hole.  Once the recession ends, let another developer, who doesn’t want $54 million, have a go.

As for the county, we’ll see what they decide next month.

Putting Downtown Decatur on the National Register of Historic Places

15 05 2009
DecaturNational Historic District

The Proposed Downtown District

Among the items on next Monday’s City Commission agenda is a request to authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with the State Preservation Office to prepare a National Register nomination for a section of downtown.

According to a letter among the materials for the meeting, Planning Director Amanda Thompson states that property owners in the proposed district were notified of the potential nomination last month and that additional mailings and meetings would be held to keep residents updated and familar with the process.

As Thompson states in her letter to the Commission (page 21), a National Register District is designed to “provide recognition for historic resources and tax incentives for renovation projects.”  (In fact, Sonny just increased the state incentives last year – 20% of qualified work , up to $100,000 for residential and $300,000 for commercial)

And unlike local historic districts, National Register Districts do not place any restrictions or design review on property owners…unless you’re the Fed.  Then you gotta go talk to Ken Salazar first.

Glad to hear this is moving forward!  Its a great idea that will benefit downtown property owners and get more of the city’s history down on paper (which is a couple steps above the old slash and burn policies of 40 years ago.)

Decatur Home Price Recovers, But Sales Grind To Near Halt

12 05 2009

Hey look, its everyone’s favorite home sales chart, updated through the first quarter!

While Decatur home sales aren’t what they used to be, the median home price in 30030 is still nearly on par with its year-ago average.  Pretty good considering that Atlanta home prices are down 25% from last year.

Also, after a single quarter decline, the average price continues to show an upward trend over the last 5 years.

As always, for comparison here’s 30306, 30307, 30308, 30316 and DeKalb County.  Everyone’s sales counts are at a stand-still, but it seems that Decatur is the only zip around with anything resembling upward momentum anymore.  The trendier zips to the west seem to have topped out in ’06-’07.

Oh and for the sadists, here’s poor 30032.

A Smorgasbord of Emory Village Info

11 05 2009

Lots going on in ol’ Emory Village lately, as evidenced by the obstacle course of car-eating street ditches.  And now that the under-grads are gone, the village can once again be reclaimed by year-round residents!

So in preparation…three items of note for ya…

1.  From Clairmont Heights Civic Association’s website

Water main work continues — DeKalb County continues to replace an antiquated water main that runs through Emory Village and should complete their work this month. At the close of this project, Georgia Power will begin work to bury power lines in the Village, which will remove unsightly utility wires and wooden poles in the commercial district. After the power lines are buried, DeKalb County will begin work on the Village roadwork and roundabout. Thank you to all for your patience during this project, and please continue to patronize Village merchants during this time.

2.  Daily Candy features Sprouts Green Cafe, that opens tomorrow in the old One Hot Cookie/Cold Stone Creamery location (h/t: the misses)…

Honor your temple with organic, local, tasty fare — no nitrates, phosphates, MSG, antibiotics, or fryin’ done here. A seasonal menu rotates rice bowls, wraps, and specialty features like house-made guac. Hydrate with refreshers like green tea; lemonade; and H2O infused with mint, fruit slices, and herbs grown in the greenhouse.

Auto bathroom lights, lime-colored chairs, and a maple bar (carved from a single Georgia tree) round out the eco touches.

3.  Apparently I never posted this when I first originally saw it, and though its kinda old news now, its still pretty interesting.

Emory’s Goizueta Business School recently did a survey to gauge local interest in opening a movie theater in the new and much larger Emory Village rebuild (artist’s rendering).  The survey is now closed, but with all the recent interest in local, artsy movie theaters, I thought folks would be interested that it was even being considered.

Renewal Wins Decatur Design Award with Barry Street Remodel

7 05 2009

Kelly sends in a press release noting that Renewal Design Build’s renovation projects at 224 Barry Street recently won a Decatur design award.

May 7, 2009 – This year, Decatur’s Historic Preservation Commission presented the annual Decatur Design Awards on May 3rd at the Old Decatur Courthouse. These awards recognize projects that preserve, enhance and contribute to the historic character of the City. Recipients were given a certificate signed by Mayor Bill Floyd, as well as an honorary plaque. And, this year, one of the awards for Best Addition went to Renewal Design-Build.

The judging commissioners thought the scale of the winning project – a major two story addition – was very compatible to the adjacent properties, and that incorporating sustainable materials also added a great deal of value. According to Regina Brewer, the awards’ organizer, “They also felt you could discern that the addition was new, and that it did not create a false sense of history.”

Once a small home in disrepair, this completely remodeled home is now a Tudor style cottage with double the square footage. And, the homeowner of the winning project couldn’t be more pleased. “My home is beautiful; it’s my dream come true,” says Dr. Dallin Randolph.

The Renewal team is humbled by such an award. “It is such an honor to be recognized by the City to whom we owe so much of our success,” says Renewal CEO, Peter Michelson. “Our goal is to continually contribute to the beauty and character of Decatur.”

You can check out a few Before & After pics from the project over at Renewal’s website.

Trackside Will Return

6 05 2009

Trackside owner “Doc Al” just wrote in with this comment to a previous post

Yes, Trackside is definitely coming back – plans for the re-build are currently being formulated. However – it appears that quite a bit of the existing building is going to have to be demolished before it can be rebuilt, so – don’t get worried if you see bulldozers at work in the near future. The goal is to re-create as much of the old Trackside as possible along with some modern upgrades behind the scenes. Stay tuned for updates as the weeks and months go by.

Sweet.  It will be interesting to see exactly how detailed they get in “recreating” the old bar.

Best o’ luck Al!

Children Found In Fewer Than 1% of Decatur Condos

5 05 2009

In case you can’t wait for the hard copy, the May Decatur Focus is now online.

As is often the case, the must-read section this month is Lyn’s “Focus on Downtown Development.”  This month she answers some of the most common questions heard from residents lately.

One of those questions addresses something we’ve been batting around here for months.

Q: Aren’t all of these multi-family developments generating a lot of children that will over-burden the school system?

A: Of the more than 600 new units built in downtown, fewer than six house children. [emphasis mine] More than 60 percent of the residents in these units are empty-nesters and the remaining 40 percent are primarily young professionals. Households with school-aged children are generally drawn to single family housing and Decatur hasn’t added a significant number of single family units since the development of the Sycamore Ridge subdivision in the early 1990s.

In 1970, national figures showed that 44 percent of all households had children and only 17 percent of them were singleperson households. In 2006, roughly 35 percent of American households had children while 26 percent were single-person households. In Decatur, only 25 percent of our households have school-aged children. Baby Boomers will continue to drive the housing market for the foreseeable future and they are opting for smaller housing units in an urban setting. We believe this will continue to support the condominium market, which provides signifi cant tax revenue for school operations without adding to the student population.

Wow.  Apparently the yard is as important a feature for Fido as it is for little Sally.

Click over to page 2 of The Focus to read the rest of Lyn’s FAQ.