BAG participates in GPCID Idea Lab


BAG's Jonathan Gelber and Ken Bleakly helped the Gwinnett Place CID hold an "Idea Lab" in which experts from a wide range of disciplines gathered to develop new ideas and strategies to help the CID meet move forward with its redevelopment goals.  Jonathan presented the area's demographic and economic context, as well as an overview of a month-long survey of area workers' opinions of the area.

The Idea Lab was organized by Sharon Goldmacher of Communications 21.

(Photo Courtesy GPCID)

Bleakly Advisory Group Teamed with Nationally Recognized Experts for North Point Activity Center Project

It is always a pleasure to be part of a Kimley Horn-led team. We are equally pleased to be working for the City of Alpharetta once again.

The following news item about the launch of an initiative to update the master plan for the area around North Point Mall recently appeared in Patch.

ALPHARETTA, GA -- The city of Alpharetta is launching an initiative to update the master plan for the area around North Point Mall.

A team of nationally recognized experts in planning, design, retail development, and walk-ability has been engaged to assist in the effort to revamp the area referred to by the city as the North Point Activity Center.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Alpharetta residents and property-owners to work directly with our team to make the North Point area more inviting, walk-able and lively,” stated Alpharetta Director of Community Development Kathi Cook.

The North Point Activity Center includes all of the area along North Point Parkway between Mansell Road and Haynes Bridge Road. It also extends to the west to include the area along Westside Parkway.

The eight month process will update and clarify the community’s vision for the North Point Activity Center, identify strategy and policy enhancements to maintain and enhance the district, and prioritize public investments particularly related to maintaining mobility and enhancing the area’s walkability and vitality. Area residents and property owners will be invited to participate in the process through a series of three workshops to be held this fall and in early 2018.

The team will be led by Kimley-Horn, an Alpharetta and Atlanta-based planning and design firm with significant experience in Alpharetta and North Fulton. Joining the team are Jeff Speck, a nationally recognized planner, urban designer, and author who focuses on creating walk-able districts and cities, and George Banks and Kristi Rooks of Revel.

Banks is a 20-year retail veteran with extensive food and beverage and entertainment experience including the development of Krog Street Market Food Hall. Rooks is an expert in creative, innovative retail strategies. Geoff Koski, president of Bleakly Advisory Group, will lead the community-building effort’s market study and analysis.

The original North Point Livable Centers Initiative Master Plan, adopted by Alpharetta leaders in 2008, resulted in numerous improvements to the district, including landscaping interchanges along S.R. 400 corridor, intersection improvements along Mansell and Haynes Bridge roads and North Point area design guidelines that have improved the character and quality of new development.


ABC Features Bleakly Advisory Group Buckhead Analysis

Bleakly Advisory Group worked with lead planning firm Kimley Horn to help produce BUCKHEAD REdeFINED, the 10-Year update to the Buckhead Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) plan focused on land use enhancements, transportation improvements, and the creation of a stronger identity and sense of place in the Buckhead business district in Atlanta.

Recently, the Atlanta Business Chronicle highlighted the efforts in an featured article titled, "Buckhead planners: Lack of housing options is a big source of traffic."

The article focused on BAG's "findings [that] show that of the nearly 69,000 employees in the Buckhead core, including areas around its two MARTA stations, more than 18,000 employees can only afford apartments that cost $1,000 or less per month. Most of those 18,000 employees work in retail, restaurants or hotels, the service industries that support the luxury brands and lifestyle Buckhead is known for."

"That’s according to a new study from Bleakly Advisory Group, which tracked Buckhead demographics as part of a larger master plan that’s attempting to break away from the area’s suburban past to become a more walkable, connected neighborhood," the article stated.

“There is an imbalance," Bleakly Advisory Group president Geoff Koski was quoted in the article. “The area lacks enough workforce housing. And, we have to realize we need a greater diversity of housing options because the workforce itself is diverse.”

Bleakly Advisory Group is the Atlanta area's primary source for answers to land use questions at the intersection of real estate development and public policy. Each year BAG completes nearly 50 assignments, such as the Buckhead LCI update, in which clients rely on the firm's unrivaled experience in community development analytics.

Whether you are a private sector real estate development or investment firm seeking to maximize profits by better understanding your market opportunities, or a public sector leader seeking answers to difficult redevelopment issues, call Bleakly Advisory Group (404.845.3550) to find out how we can assist you.

Jonathan Gelber: ULI CFL '17

Congratulations to our colleague Jonathan Gelber, who today graduates as a member of ULI Atlanta's Center for Leadership Class of 2017.  For their final Mini Technical Assistance Panel (mTAP) project, Jonathan and four CFL colleagues (Jason Ward, Todd Flaman,  Trey Edwards and Rex Hamre) prepared a Redevelopment Action Plan for the Chosewood Park Community Community Development Corporation.  The plan will help the CPCDC and the Neighborhood Association respond to the influx of development and redevelopment proposals that are expected to occur in the neighborhood following the recently announced redevelopment of AHA's Englewood Manor site and the expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine trail through Chosewood Park.

Speaking of the Center for Leadership, ULI Atlanta is accepting applications for the CFL Class of 2018 through May 22!

Ken Bleakly Addresses Alpharetta City Council about New Trends in the Rental Housing Market

Ken Bleakly of Bleakly Advisory Group recently briefed the Alpharetta City Council about the city’s recent shifts in rental real estate trends and their impact.  Bleakly Advisory Group has a long and successful track record consulting on real estate development matters for cities throughout the Southeast, including Alpharetta.

In 2014, Bleakly Advisory Group studied Alpharetta’s rental housing inventory and policies in the city, which has seen a surge in apartment development recently.  A resulting new policy for Alpharetta set to maintain a balanced citywide housing inventory of 32% renter-occupied housing and 68% owner-occupied housing.

At the recent meeting, Ken Bleakly briefed the Alpharetta City Council on several important shifts in the regional renting housing market:

  • Seniors and active adults are seizing a much larger share of the city's multifamily housing market than ever before, with 1,500 units either built or in the development pipeline.
  • The rental housing market is becoming much more diversified – for-rent single-family homes and townhomes now make up 26% of Alpharetta’s housing inventory.

These trends are happening throughout Atlanta region’s housing markets, and they are likely to have an interesting impact on our local economies and communities.

Reflections on Seattle & CNU Conference

The recently held 25th annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Seattle was pitched by CNU as a celebration of the last quarter-century of New Urbanist accomplishments and pivotal moments. In addition, the congress was to look forward to the future of building sustainable, equitable, livable places.

This Seattle congress was number eight for me in my time as member of CNU, dating back to the meeting in Providence in 2006. While I certainly missed the formative years of CNU in which the likes of Andres Duany and Peter Calthorpe revolutionized city planning in the late 20th century, I’ve been around long enough to recognize the impact of the organization’s accomplishments and understand its opportunity for continued bearing on the future of cities.

In Seattle, the 21st century American city was on full display in a city bursting with new dense housing in many locations, numerous urban retail districts attracting shoppers and experience seekers, transit expanding into key nodes, and a constant look to the past in saving buildings that provide a sense of place and preservation of the historic urban fabric.

The content of the congress reflected the shifts that have occurred in the practices of CNU members and followers. Whereas in 2006 in Providence much talk was of the new urbanism providing a better model for building new denser walkable nodes often in greenfield locations, the tides of change mean that now CNU members are focused more on creating healthy urban places that attract people to live, work, and recreate in locations that were left behind when suburban sprawl stole their momentum.

Today, more than ever, the new urbanism looks to the past for lessons about creating loveable places that last and combines those lessons with forward-looking notions on what will allow our cities to thrive for generations to come.

Often the new urban solutions for creating places that people love are messy. In Seattle presenters and attendees spent hours hashing out ideas to ensure equity in planning, place making, city building and rebuilding. We heard passionate pleas for inclusion of all voices in public participation processes, housing affordable to all incomes, and redevelopment plans that respect the past and the current while still looking to the future. Usually these types of things are hard, but that is the reason for the CNU – to create a platform for city builders to step a bit outside the mainstream when thinking about the built environment and not back down from obstacles in the way of creating the blessed community – to steal Dr. King’s phrase.

And now the focus shines back on Georgia. CNU 26 will happen in May in the southern urban jewel of Savannah. It will be CNU #9 for me. See you there.

Geoff Koski