The Inman Park Neighborhood Association voted Wednesday to support a $45 million, high-density, mixed-use rental and retail project at 280 Elizabeth St.
The vote — 34 for and 11 against — follows months of impassioned debate and scrutiny from neighborhood residents. They were concerned about the building height and density and additional traffic the project will bring.
The neighborhood already is dealing with those issues as its population increases, along with other intown communities such as Old Fourth Ward, Virginia-Highland and Midtown.
Atlanta-based South City Partners and JPX Works LLC, the developers, aim to build 204 rental units, between 38,000 and 39,000 square feet of retail, and a parking deck of 570 spaces on the 3.4-acre lot.
Seventy-five percent of the rental units are to be one-bedroom and the balance, two-bedroom. Rents are slated to be between $850 and $2,000 a month.
The property, which is zoned commercial, fronts Elizabeth Street and is bounded by North Highland and Lake avenues to the north and south, respectively.
To the west, it abuts the Inman Park Village project, which also was developed by South City Partners.
The company, which hasn't yet closed on the property, projects starting construction in the second quarter of 2013 and bringing it online by the fourth quarter of 2014.
The site plan still must undergo a number of reviews from other city regulatory agencies, including the Urban Design Commission, which meets on Aug. 8, before any construction can begin.
South City Partners' founder and executive director Mark W. Randall told IPNA members it's a good compromise that addresses concerns.
"This is a design we believe will work," Randall said. "It's a design we believe meets a lot of the different concerns of the neighborhood and it's a great — I believe — compromise."
For example, 46 of the 570 parking spots are designated for use by two restaurants not connected to the project, Fritti and Sotto Sotto. That was to address some of the parking concerns from neighbors on some of the side streets because when designated parking areas for those restaurants and other businesses fill up, motorists often spill out into the residential side streets.
The site is currently home to several tenants, including Dad's Garage Theatre, the improv and original stage plays venue.
"We've been following the progress of the project very closely and we would indeed love to stay. We've been in our space for 18 years now and Inman Park is our home," Dad's Garage spokeswoman Linnea Frye told East Atlanta Patch, adding they have started initial discussions with the developers to stay.
"They've expressed interest in finding a way to keep us on the property, but we'll really need the support of the community to see this come to fruition," she said.
Randall, whose other projects include the Spire and Metropolitan in Midtown, and Park in Alpharetta, said he wants to be a good neighbor in the community, which is big on preserving its character as the city's first planned suburb.
In a still rocky economy, Inman Park remains a strong development magnet, he told Patch.
"Inman Park is probably — if not the healthiest — one of the healthiest micro-markets in the city," he said.
A number of potential retail tenants have expressed interest in Inman Park and its residents.
The neighborhood's median household income of $58,225 exceeds the citywide and national median of $34,770 and $44,512, respectively, Zillow.com statistics show. The median home value in the neighborhood is $237,800 compared with $111,100 for Atlanta as a whole.
"This is a great neighborhood to work with," Randall said. "They get what it means to do quality infill development."