$250M Mixed-Use Development Breaks Ground in Atlanta

Emory Point, a partnership between Cousins Properties and Gables Residential, will be the largest private development start in the metro Atlanta Perimeter in more than three years.

As it broke ground in early July, Emory Point was also making news for being groundbreaking. The new Atlanta mixed-use development featuring retail and an upscale apartment community will be the first new retail project built in the trade center in two decades, as well as the largest private development start in the metro Atlanta Perimeter in more than three years. In addition, Emory Point is to be the first partnership between two large and well-established Atlanta development companies, Cousins Properties and Gables Residential.

The $250 million project, with a $100 million-plus first phase slated to open in the fall of 2012, is being built on Clifton Rd., along the “Clifton Corridor.” The corridor is adjacent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in close proximity to Emory University and Emory Healthcare.

Emory Point is a vertically integrated mixed-use project whose first phase will unveil about 80,000 square feet of retail space and 443 luxury apartments. In the first phase, Cousins will own 75 percent, Gables the remaining 25 percent.

Says Larry Gellerstedt, president and CEO of Cousins, “We’re very excited about Emory Point, and glad to see a development of this magnitude move forward. This project represents an incredible infill opportunity in a supply-constrained submarket with high demand. We’re fortunate to have an exceptional partner in Gables and grateful for our strong relationship with Emory University, which trusted us with leading this opportunity.”

The project’s land classification plan helps make Emory Point an environmentally conscious development. Approximately 25 acres of lush woodland, representing about half the entire site, are found directly behind the development. Under the DeKalb County zoning plan for Emory Point, this acreage will be protected as un-developable. Prior to a rezoning, the woods were not protected. The development site is also registered to gain certification by EarthCraft Communities, and the apartment community is registered to be granted certification by EarthCraft Multifamily. EarthCraft standards also will govern the design of some of the retail portions of the Emory Point development.

Though a clear schedule has been set for Emory Point’s first phase, Phases II and III will be built on the basis of future market demand. Emory University, which includes Emory Healthcare, is the largest employer in DeKalb County, and metro Atlanta‘s third largest.

Despite this large employment base, the area suffers from an undersupply of housing. As a result, Emory Point is a much-needed addition, says David Fitch, president and CEO of Gables Residential.

“There is tremendous pent-up housing demand in this neighborhood, making Emory Point a bright spot in an otherwise challenging market,” he says, adding that the apartment community will set a new standard for the area with its pedestrian-friendly, environmentally aware approach to luxury apartment living.

Observes Emory University executive vice president for finance and administration Mike Mandl, “The proximity of Emory Point to our campus will enhance the social and intellectual vibrancy of Emory by providing housing, dining and retail venues for faculty, staff and students.”