ATLANTA-The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the city are studying conceptual plans filed by Sembler Co. for the development of 480,000 sf of retail/restaurant and 60,000 sf of office across from the Perimeter Mall at Perimeter Center West and Crown Pointe Parkway.

Staffers at the Regional Transportation Authority confirm to that Sembler has applied to the city for a rezoning of the 44-acre site from exclusively office to mixed use. If approved, the developer plans to tentatively break ground on the project in the first quarter of 2004 after demolishing two vacant structures on the site, the city has been told.

The buildings were formerly owned by BellSouth and Equity Office Properties Trust of Chicago. Sembler paid more than $100 million for the buildings, according to a published report.

For Sembler Co., headed by Mel Sembler, US Ambassador to Italy, this newest proposed venture gives the Florida development firm a full plate of planned projects. The company plans to break ground this fall on Edgewater Retail District, an estimated $50 million, 800,000-sf undertaking on 42 acres on Moreland Avenue, south of the Little Five Points commercial district, as previously reported.

Area retail brokers tell Edgewater is the largest and most important intown development project of its kind in south Atlanta in 30 years. Brokers say Lowe’s Home Improvement, Target, Kroger, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ross Dress For Less, Cost Plus World Market and Petsmart already have reserved space at Edgewater, which is tentatively scheduled to open in March 2005.

Sembler won a year-long rezoning fight against area residents in April when the city approved the project. Residents opposed the venture, citing heightened traffic and noise concerns in one of intown’s oldest, commercial, cultural and retail neighborhoods. Sembler has a major retail presence in metro Atlanta already. The firm opened Midtown Place in 2000; the Publix on Piedmont shopping center in 2001; and is redeveloping Lindbergh Plaza.

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