Questions on resource strains aired about Four A development (May 23, 2013)
Citizens oppose new zoning on 308 acre Four A owned property (May 13, 2013)
Public hearing on 1,400 unit development in Conyers (May 9, 2013)
Development unrelated but may gain from Baxter halo (Nov. 30, 2012)
PATH trail grows in Conyers-Rockdale (Oct. 1, 2012)
'Shining jewel' of The Y to anchor Conyers development (June 25, 2012)
Four A Village and market lofts rezoning approved (Feb. 20, 2010)
More than a year after the City of Conyers granted its zoning approval, Four A International's massive, mixed-use development south of Iris Drive is still in the planning stages. But more information about the 308-acre project will be coming soon as the company is working to get it right on this first phase, Four A Director of Development David Roper told the News.
Roper declined to say exactly what that information will be. But he did reveal that the plan is scaling back on its originally announced 1,451 housing units. And the tentative construction start of late this year has been pushed back to 2015.
"We've put a lot of work into it, and it's ongoing... I think we're moving in the right direction," Roper said, adding that "patience" and "persistence" are Four A's development mantras.
David Spann, chief operating officer for the City of Conyers, said Four A has submitted a "tentative master plan" as requested, but no building plans yet as the company continues to work on drafts. Spann said the city has "no concerns" about the delay, as Four A-which has owned the wooded site since the 1980s-has always taken its time.
Four A essentially plans to build a new mini-neighborhood on the site, with a wide variety of housing types mixed with commercial spaces, all at a pedestrian-friendly scale.
"It's a fairly complex table to set," Roper said. "It's a giant math problem with a lot of moving parts."
One issue that came up about a year ago, he said, is larger-than-expected buffer zones around a stream on the site. That is one issue requiring some shuffling of the puzzle pieces.
One item being rearranged is the housing. "We're not going to reach 1,400 [units]. We're going to have to scale back a bit," Roper said.
"We've learned a lot about the site. We've been able to put together some cost structures," Roper said. "We've got to get our arms around the economics and be realistic."
Four A remains committed to its overall vision, which includes preserving some natural elements of the site, adding to its complexity. And on a project that could take a decade to fully build, the company views the first phase as crucial to get right.
"We're not your typical opportunistic developer," said Roper, explaining the project's success will be based in its intent to "contribute to the well-being of the community over the long term."