Vacant office tower near Northlake Mall could be revamped into apartments

This is a rendering of a proposed nine-story apartment building in Tucker.

Credit: City of Tucker

Combined ShapeCaption
This is a rendering of a proposed nine-story apartment building in Tucker.

Credit: City of Tucker

The developer’s vision includes about 200 apartments and 80 rental townhomes

A plan to transform a shuttered office tower into an apartment building in Tucker has gained traction with city officials.

Last week, the Tucker Planning Commission heard an early plan to put more than 200 apartments in an empty AT&T office building roughly a half-mile away from Northlake Mall. The commission unanimously backed the project, although there was discussion on how many apartments the tower should include.

“The conversion of an office building into multifamily (apartments) is certainly not a new phenomenon, either in Atlanta or elsewhere in the country,” said Carl Westmoreland, an attorney representing the project’s applicant. “And it’s probably going to accelerate, given the status of the office market.”

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The applicant is SDM Northlake, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based real estate firm SDM Partners. The company is partnering with JLL, another real estate firm, and developer Third and Urban to complete the development.

City code allows the companies to build nearly 150 apartments without the need for government approval, but the project’s pitch included 216 units. The Tucker City Council will have to grant a special land use permit to increase the density of the project, which is located in the 2200 block of Northlake Parkway.

Tucker planning staff members recommended a slight reduction in apartments — closer to 190 units — to preserve some room for smaller office tenants. However, Jeff Taylor, executive vice president at JLL, said there’s a lack of demand for office space near the mall, especially for an empty office tower built in 2001.

“The vacancy in the office market is about 25% in Tucker and the Northlake submarket,” he said during the May 19 meeting.

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The nine-story office building has nearly 316,000 square feet of currently unused space, and the 6.4-acre site already has a deck with roughly 1,200 parking spots. In plans submitted to the city, the office space would be transformed into 151 one-bedroom units, each about 765 square feet, and 65 two-bedroom units, each about 1,450 square feet.

SDM Northlake also owns the neighboring property to the west, which is another vacant office building that was also previously occupied by AT&T. The 7.3-acre plot was previously rezoned to allow SDM Northlake to build an 80-unit rental townhome community, and both the townhomes and apartments would share the same parking and amenities. The proposed amenities include a clubroom lounge, co-working space, a fitness center, a dog spa, a pool and a terrace.

Combined ShapeCaption
The proposed plan includes 216 units and would be coupled with a nearby rental townhome project, which will have the same developer.

Credit: City of Tucker

The proposed plan includes 216 units and would be coupled with a nearby rental townhome project, which will have the same developer.

Credit: City of Tucker

Combined ShapeCaption
The proposed plan includes 216 units and would be coupled with a nearby rental townhome project, which will have the same developer.

Credit: City of Tucker

Credit: City of Tucker

“It’s a great opportunity to increase the health of the office market by taking some supply offline,” Hank Farmer, managing partner of Third and Urban, said during last week’s meeting.

The planning commission only makes recommendations for the City Council. The project will go before the council for the first time June 13, meaning it likely won’t come up for a vote until July at the earliest.