Avondale Estates outlines next steps for developing four acres

Architect and local resident Sheri Locke’s proposed design for the four acres owned by Avondale Estates between North Avondale Road (south) and New Street (north). Note that Franklin Street bisects the property but in this rendition is limited to pedestrians only. The amphitheater is in the northeast corner and two retail buildings front North Avondale. The city hopes to approve RFPs for park (center green space) and building development design by Nov. 12. Courtesy Sheri Locke

Avondale Estates’ Downtown Development Authority recently completed a “process map” outlining the next steps for developing four acres off North Avondale Road purchased by the city several years ago.

The map culminates with the city commission voting on a package which the DDA calls “The Path Forward.” This package includes Requests For Proposals for park design and development design, along with a long-term financial strategy. The vote is scheduled for the commission’s Nov. 12 regular meeting.

The city appears committed to following the overall design drawn up by architect and Avondale resident Sheri Locke. Her configuration includes two retail/restaurant buildings fronting North Avondale and a roughly 2.5-acre park in the middle, bisected by Franklin Street, which gets converted in a pedestrian-only path.

During an Oct. 8 work session both the commission and DDA appeared to agree on basic broad-stroke details. These include a building height of minimum two/maximum three stories, a long patio overlooking the park and a band shell or amphitheater on the property’s northeast corner.

Both boards agree that with the commercial buildings they want to mostly avoid the Tudor style that permeates the downtown business district.

During the work session DDA Vice Chair Sam Collier estimated that developing the park alone would cost in the $5 to $6.5 million range. But he later told the AJC that this “is just a guess. We can give a more accurate number after we go though the design process.

“What we want to get across to the community,” he added, “is that we need to make a commitment. We want to choose a design team and a developer as fast as humanly possible. We believe this will be the centerpiece of downtown.”

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