Sembler planning new development 

Massive Brookhaven project threatens affordable housing

The Sembler Company, which has brought several large developments to Atlanta, is at it again.

Along with the Home Depot-anchored Midtown Place on Ponce de Leon Avenue, the Target-anchored Edgewood Retail District on Moreland Avenue, and the Park Place development across from the Perimeter Mall on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Sembler has plans to add a massive Brookhaven project to its portfolio.

The Brookhaven development will replace one of the upscale neighborhood's few remaining affordable housing complexes -- the 47-acre, 524-unit Peachtree Gardens Apartments. Former Peachtree Gardens owner Richard Garber says Sembler purchased the property for just under $68 million.

As proposed, the site will be one of Sembler's biggest projects to date -- larger than the 600,000-square-foot Edgewood Retail District, though much smaller than Jacoby Development's Atlantic Station, which has 6 million square feet of office space alone.

Sembler spokesman Angelo Fuster says Sembler's Brookhaven development will include 20,400 square feet of office space, 1,732 residential units, and 600,000 square feet of retail.

Some Brookhaven residents have reservations about the project. Kevin Hughley, president of the Brookhaven Homeowners and Neighborhood Business Alliance, is concerned that the development will mean fewer housing options for the area's blue-collar citizens.

"Everybody in Brookhaven doesn't make $300,000," Hughley says. "Eighty percent of these people [at Peachtree Gardens] who are going to be displaced are working people, and if this project is done, people aren't going to be able to afford to live there."

Apartments at Peachtree Gardens currently rent for $505 a month for a one-bedroom and $730 a month for a three-bedroom. A representative at Peachtree Gardens says the apartment complex most likely will start handing out 60-day notices to residents in December.

The Sembler Company has built dozens of developments in Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico and anticipates that the Brookhaven development will be complete by fall 2008.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article said that Sembler planned to build the Park Place high-rise in Midtown. In fact, Sembler plans the Park Place development for Ashford-Dunwoody Road.


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