A redevelopment project was approved for the Northlake Mall area after its developer agreed to shrink the project’s scope by nearly 100 apartments.

With a 5-2 vote, the Tucker City Council approved a special land use permit for a developer to readapt the Tucker Exchange office building and build three new mixed-use buildings. The project, which spans about 30 acres, will include 409 apartments in addition to office, coworking, retail and restaurant space.

The project proposed by AHS Residential received pushback from residents and city leaders when it was first pitched in February, leading to multiple design changes. The original design included 497 apartments, but the reduction wasn’t enough to win over some residents and city employees.

“I think it’s a very dense development for Tucker in all regards, and I think that we can definitely do better,” Tucker resident Andrew Greenberg said during Monday’s council meeting.

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City staff recommended the council deny the permit, but the vote eventually passed with Mayor Frank Auman and Councilwoman Noelle Monferdini dissenting. Den Webb, the attorney representing the Florida-based AHS Residential, said the company is committed to making this a quality development and intends to make it AHS Residential’s new corporate headquarters.

“They want to be here, and I think they’ve demonstrated that not just in words but in deeds,” Webb said Monday.

The project site is 2059 Northlake Parkway, which is roughly a mile away from Northlake Mall. The Tucker Exchange office building that’s located on the property is currently only occupied by Bank of America. It leases about a fifth of the 250,000 square feet of existing office space, and Webb argued the city would be better served by other uses at that location.

“They’ve only got a couple of employees actually in the building, and Bank of America is out in a couple of months,” he said. “So that building is about to be completely empty.”

The redevelopment will include transforming the office building into 129 apartment units, while constructing three more buildings. The new buildings will vary from six to seven stories, and will include up to 280 apartments combined.

During Monday’s public comment, several residents worried the new buildings will be too tall for the area, but Webb argued the existing building will remain the tallest on the site.

“Every new building will be lower than what’s there now,” he said.

The developer agreed to set aside at least 15% of the units — 62 apartments — as workforce housing, meaning those residents will have to meet certain income requirements. Only people who make between 80% and 140% of the area median income will qualify to rent those units. Councilwoman Alexis Weaver said it’s a crucial part of the project.

“This is a great opportunity for middle-class workers to have access to entrepreneurial opportunities, because they have the same access to that live-work (lifestyle),” she said.

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Webb said AHS Residential will invest $100 million into the project and also agreed to build two trail connections for Tucker’s ongoing multi-use trail network.

Some residents remained concerned that changing the location’s use would hurt Tucker’s office market, but Councilwoman Anne Lerner, who made the motions to approved the special land use permit, argued that empty offices won’t help Tucker.

“Yes, we need to keep our office (space),” Lerner said, “but we have a lot of office still left in Tucker, and I hope it begins to lease up.”

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