Rendering of Calistoa Lake McIntosh, a proposed 37-acre mixed use development for Peachtree City.

Developer wants Peachtree City to lift decade-long apartment ban

A Peachtree City developer wants to change the way his south metro community, known for its sprawling houses, manicured lawns and miles of golf cart trails, feels about apartments.

His vision to develop the first apartments in Peachtree City in more than a decade is already running into opposition.

Jason Pace, principal of Pace Lynch Realty, says that the development will be part of a 37-acre mixed-use project he wants to create beside a lake on the city’s west side. The development will include restaurants and single-family homes in an integrated walkable community, not a separate neighborhood like a handful of older apartment completxes in the Fayette County city.

Making that distinction will be crucial to getting the project, dubbed Calistoa Lake McIntosh, off the ground. For decades, Peachtree city officials have held to a tightly controlled plan for growth and development. The city council will have to lift a decades-old moratorium on the construction of multi-family units before dirt can be turned on the project.

“My argument to them when I get pushback on apartment construction is that they are not talking about mixed-use apartments,” said Pace, who is partnering with Charlotte-based Crescent Communities. “Mixed-use apartments are not buried away somewhere and forgotten, they are part of the community.”

Peachtree City, which has had a longstanding aversion to apartments, has been more open in recent years to housing that is non-traditional to the area. Chartered in 1959, the city of just over 35,000 is a planned community with large homes on ample lots with a network of trails that residents use to drive golf carts to parks, grocery stores and schools.

But available land is shrinking, leading some leaders to become more comfortable with townhomes and condos because of their smaller footprints.

“We believe that is absolutely what will make our project successful,” Kyle Brock, Crescent’s managing director, said of the land squeeze. “We think this will be an example for Peachtree City going forward.”

The project has already drawn criticism from many in the community, according to former Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown. Peachtree City has enough apartments already and rebranding them under the “mixed-use” banner won’t move the needle in the project’s favor, he said.

An even bigger issue, he said, is the proposed development’s location. The property is in an industrial area that had been set aside near Falcon Field, a regional airport, to attract corporate headquarters to provide jobs, not trendy housing developments. It also lacks access to the golf cart path system, is not close to any schools and would garner complaints from residents because of noise from the airport.

“That location is the absolutely wrong location for that project,” said Brown, who is also a former Fayette County Commissioner.

Backers of the development think the ability to see planes fly off or descend from the airport — which is about a mile away — will be a selling point, not a liability. And when they add restaurants, the lake and residents together in one setting, the project will be a hit, they said. The project is slated to go before the city council on March, 21.

“This is a way to help Peachtree City leapfrog over what has been done before,” Pace said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.