by Joan Durbin
What may be the very first redevelopment project built in Roswell in the newly formed Groveway Community will be up for consideration by city boards and city council beginning next week.
Lennar Multi-Family Investors, a subsidiary of Lennar Homes specializing in leased housing, has plans to replace Frazier Street apartments with a 318-unit, five-building apartment complex tentatively named Canton Street City Walk. “We’ve been interested in this property for five to eight months, maybe as long as 12 months. We think today is the right time,” said Christopher Cassidy, president of Lennar Southeast Division.
“Our hope is the climate of the city has changed for the product we have to offer. It will fill a hole with something that’s not been available before.” Lennar would demolish the existing low income apartments on Frazier and replace them with one and two bedroom units ranging in size from 650 to 1,200 square feet. Rents at the new complex at 188 Norcross Street would start at $1,100 to $1,200 and go up to $2,500, Cassidy said. The apartments would be high end, with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and hard tile in the bathrooms, he said.
“We focus on top 40 markets in the U.S. where there are high demographics and more infill is needed,” Cassidy said. “When you think of Roswell, it’s one of the top five markets in Georgia. It has a well defined city center that is walkable with restaurants and shopping.” Steve Stroud, executive director of the Roswell Business Alliance, said this project was so new that he had just learned of it two weeks ago. “It’s a good project. Lennar is a good builder that’s got a great reputation,” Stroud said. “It’s a real shot in the arm for that area. It’s exactly what people were thinking of when Groveway was created. But it has to be vetted and go through the system.”
A few years ago, plans like this would never have passed muster with elected officials or others in the Roswell community. With the establishment of the Groveway Community district, which puts more emphasis on development aesthetics than land use, there is an opportunity for quality rental housing that wasn’t there previously, Stroud said.
“We’re in a different age and this is a different scenario. These are high end units, not your typical garden apartments,” Stroud said. “In this new generation, not everyone wants to own. And there is so little rental housing inventory in Roswell right now. There’s a 92 to 95 percent occupancy rate in existing apartment complexes.” Cassidy said his company will offer relocation services to Frazier Street’s current tenants. The historic preservation commission will review Lennar’s conceptual site plan March 13. There will be a neighborhood meeting for the plan on March 21, and the planning commission will hear the application on April 16.
The application is scheduled to go before the mayor and city council on May 13.