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'Hot' Development Pace in East Cobb

Around $450 million in new residential and commercial projects have been approved in the last two years, and more are on the way.

The development of a variety of commercial and residential projects in the East Cobb area in the last two years isn't about to slow down.

Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott said at an East Cobb town hall meeting Tuesday that $450 million in new construction has been approved in that time in his District 2, which includes the Cumberland and Smyrna-Vinings areas.

Ott, a Republican who was re-elected to a second term last week without opposition, said that dollar amount is more than the other three commission districts combined.

He estimates that the residential/commercial split is roughly 50-50.

"This part of East Cobb is particularly hot in the zoning and development area," he told around 75 citizens at Sterling Estates, a newly opened senior residential facility on Lower Roswell Road that's a major example of the recent building wave.

With more than 100 assisted living units and several independent living cottages, the $20 million Sterling Estates, located next to the East Cobb Government Center, is the first senior facility the Cobb commissioners have approved in a residential area.

After nearby residents objected to initial plans, the developers designed a complex that eventually met community muster. The facility, spread over 10 acres, includes a courtyard, landscaped areas, and a wellness center with a swimming pool and exercise equipment.

"Finding a residential component was important," said Mike Brown, one of the Sterling Estates owners. "We wanted it to have that neighborhood feel. We plan to be great neighbors."

While the commercial spark in East Cobb was provided by the redevelopment of Merchant's Walk Shopping Center, in recent months residential rezonings have been accelerating.

Last month the commissioners voted to rezone six acres at Lower Roswell Road and Woodlawn Drive for 21 luxury homes priced at $1 million each. East Cobb's desirable location, and especially its highly touted public schools, have been the primary attractions.

In June, the commission rezoned nearly five acres of a former tennis facility near the Atlanta Country Club for 11 luxury homes. All will be priced between $1 million and $2.5 million.

Those homes quickly sold out, and the Woodlawn subdivision is expected to do the same. The East Cobb-based real estate investment company Brooks Chadwick Capital, located in Paper Mill Village, represented developers in both rezoning cases.

Ott said another major residential rezoning is coming up early next year in East Cobb, but he couldn't offer specifics.

Ott said he disdains what he calls the "used car dealer" approach of developers who try to negotiate for more than what the county master plan allows and what a community will accept.

"There is nothing sweeter to a developer's ear than to hear that the community will support them," he said.

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