by: John Bachman Updated:
ATLANTA - Dirt is moving on several major construction projects as downtown Atlanta sees a new development spike.
"We had about three projects going on in 2010. Right now, we have 20-some projects," said James Shelby, Atlanta's Commissioner of Planning and Community Development.
Many of those projects are concentrated in a relatively small area around the Ponce City Market and along the two-mile stretch of the Beltline in northeast Atlanta. Andy Roberts runs on that stretch of the Beltline.
“A lot of development right along the Beltline," he said.
His wife, Jill agrees.
"It looks like a cool place to live. They're always doing something new every time we come down here," she said.
Perennial Properties CEO Tim Schrager said, "Twenty years ago, it was not cool to be developing down in these neighborhoods. Now, everybody and their brother wants to develop these in-town neighborhoods and be on the Beltline."
Schrager and Aaron Goldman run Perennial Properties. They've been investing along the Beltline for 20 years, since long before the boom. Now, they have five properties along the Beltline, including an old industrial building. They're going to tear it down and build a five-story apartment building.
That project will have 230 apartments. Another complex across the Old Fourth Ward Park will have 300 more apartments. A third complex just down the block will have another 300 units.
"Now, right here in this location where we're standing, you're going to have a couple thousand new units all delivered within a couple years of each other," Schrager told Bachman.
Schrager said the Beltline boom is attracting developers who don't normally build in Atlanta, a sign that a growing number of people see money to be made in the area.
"The ball started rolling slowly, and it's picked up a lot of momentum," he said.
One thing planners are watching closely is that development doesn't get so successful that it gets too expensive and price out some people. Developers said that's why many of the apartments are smaller, keeping down their costs.