Brookhaven, GA, June 10, 2016 – Commentary, by Terrell Carstens – I believe that one of the most valuable assets we have in the City of Brookhaven is also the number one thing to consider when buying real estate: Location, location, location! In and around our community, projects have been approved and many, many development requests are still coming in and are still being approved – at a startling rate.
Some but not all, of the recent/prospective development that I know of are listed below:
- Numerous single family residents. Avg. is 23 per month thru April so far.
- 28 unit townhome project at Apple Valley and Dresden
- Walgreens at Colonial and Peachtree
- The project where the old Shell station was on Peachtree across from Nuts ‘n Berries
- The Weiland Townhomes at Club Dr. and Peachtree Rd.
- The apartment complex at Oglethorpe University
- The lofts in the old warehouse on Apple Valley
- Dresden Village – Tag office area
- Solis Brookhaven – across from Haven
- Skyland Townhomes
- Racetrac @ Clairmont and Dresden
- Viable conversations being negotiated for large tear down tracts on Buford Hwy
- Ashford Green
- Dixie Moon restaurant at the old Little White House
- New Townhomes coming on Hermance
- Skyland Trail Facility expansion
- Arrington Place
- Townhouse Project on North Cliff Valley
- The Brookhaven Wiltshire TH
- Townsend at Brookhaven
- Brookhaven Crossing
- Park Chase
- Brookhaven Walk
- Ashford Apartments
- Blackburn Row
- Ashford at Brookhaven Apartments
- Brookleigh Townhomes
- Savoy Townhomes
- Executive Park
- Hawks/Emory Complex
- All of the coming projects in Chamblee and Doraville. Remember, some in Chamblee are right across the street from Brookhaven’s city limits
- The Pill Hill and Perimeter Center projects
- Pure Taqueria and the adjacent shopping strip
- Lastly, I was recently informed that the Boys & Girls Club is for sale
Now, take a moment to envision this growth throughout Brookhaven and our surrounding borders. Not one project at a time but as an accumulation of the entire growth. Are we creating smart growth? Does everything need to be done right now and under the current economic conditions and trends or would we be better served to be more selective and patient?
Financing terms, along with supply and demand change. So do demographics. Do we have to approve requests to make a property fit a project or should we first be trying to encourage that the projects that are brought to us have completed their due diligence to produce a product that is more fitting to the area and tract of land that is being considered?
If someone buys or is gifted a piece of property without knowing what the existing development guidelines are and later finds that it is not in accordance with their “desires” or “wishes” is that an issue for us to rectify? Land prices have reached an all time high. Can builders and developers continue to pay these prices and also absorb the increase in construction costs? Will that bubble burst? Reality always circles back around.
Is the financial viability of a new project something we need to be concerned with? Most of the development projects before the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals are represented by “someone” or the representative of “someone”, NOT the current property owner. Closing has usually not occurred at that point and title has not yet been transferred. I have always wondered then, so who’s property rights are being denied? (Lawsuit seems to be the buzzword if denied.)
The ones presenting with no ownership interest in the land at that time or the current property owner, who in all actuality is not the party wishing to put 60 units on an acre of land or build a 3,500 square foot home on an R-60 lot. They just want to sell their property and for what ever reason move on in life.
The “LOOK” of a project is important but can be negotiated and changed. It always surprises me when someone has based there initial opinion of support or opposition on that one factor. There is so much more to the entire proposal than just what it looks like. More times than not, the drawings or pictures that are presented initially turn out to be far from that in the end.
Brookhaven is not a fairy tale land that makes development dreams come true. We are a municipality that by law is responsible to govern and protect its citizens. ALL citizens. As we sit here nestled in an area of surrounding growth I have to ask. Should we try to keep up with the Joneses? Or, should we reap the benefits of being different, not riding the current trend, be the area with parks, green space, trails, sidewalks, traffic enforcement, a lively and usable public transportation center, a repaired infrastructure and storm water system, a strong police department, protected tree canopy, keeping taxes low, having an open inclusive and ethical government, protecting the character of neighborhoods, and all the necessary wanted services and amenities of the citizens?
You have to build a strong foundation before you start putting up the walls. Have we done that yet?
Cycles are just that, cycles. If we miss something now, something will be back again later and we can decide and deal with that proposal then. Seems far more logical than to rush through projects and jump through hoops to make “something” work now just because it is before us now.
Smart growth, a premier LOCATION, and first adapting to the already changing development that surrounds us and is currently before us should be our first priorities. The ITP and the OTP urban vs. suburban categorization is ridiculous and stereo typing. Just because we are ITP doesn’t mean that we must be a high density sea of concrete with a smattering of green space.
This feather in our cap mentality of always needing to be the first at something doesn’t really appeal to me either. I could care less, and historically it usually comes with a price to the citizens. Frankly, I see no advantage whatsoever to strive to be the “Jewel of the South”, the “Best City in the Nation”, an “Example to all Cities”, just to name a few tag lines that have been used in the past and recently. That day will come when we earn it by working hard and smart, keeping our promises to our citizens and businesses, and collaborating with DeKalb County and the surrounding municipalities to make this region the best it can be.
We are only 12 square miles with a population of less than 50,000 people. No one in Gwinnett County, our neighbor, gives a flying flip about Brookhaven let alone someone in New York, Los Angeles or elsewhere.
In closing, location was my major decision to move to the then Brookhaven area. I was also drawn to the large lots, trees, and eclectic neighborhood vs. subdivision feel. Many of these same reasons I have heard repeatedly from others. (In the past)
Now what I hear is, I had to get out of Midtown!!! There it is again – Location, location, location!