Doraville's urban oasis, Brookhaven's City Hall, and Chamblee's community haven are setting precedents for community engagement in the North Atlanta suburbs. Courtesy of trusted local agent Heather Cummings, let’s explore the stories behind these stunning new public buildings, each shaping the future of their neighborhoods. From sprawling green spaces to bustling civic centers, get ready to explore the architectural ambitions transforming Atlanta's suburbs.
Downtown Doraville city center
For years, Doraville locals have sought an urbanized city center to cement the city’s identity and add a new dimension to its downtown. Doraville residents have seen places like Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, and Suwanee carve out public use space to great acclaim and success.
Since the early 2000s, city officials have conducted many studies on the prospects of a multifaceted gathering place and residential hub in downtown Doraville. These studies laid the foundation for a city center concept to transform Doraville’s suburban strip mall landscape into a more pedestrian-friendly urban area with residential, mixed-use, retail, and restaurant spaces.
Doraville's traditional city center is roughly bounded by Buford Highway, New Peachtree Road, Stewart Road, and Park Avenue. This area has undergone redevelopments to accommodate projects like I-285, public buildings, and the Doraville MARTA Station. However, the new plan for downtown Doraville is unprecedented for its embrace of urban design, zoning and land use, transportation, parking, and green space.
The plans for a revitalized downtown Doraville comprise 13 acres owned by the city. The properties are bound by New Peachtree Road and Central Avenue, just north of Buford Highway and northwest of Spaghetti Junction near Assembly Atlanta. Moreover, the Doraville MARTA Station is just across the road from the new site.
According to plans, the new Downtown Doraville will include:
A multi-use building on New Peachtree Road with 200 multifamily units and 14,500 square feet of mixed-use space
A boutique hotel with 100 keys
A second multi-use building with 225 multi-family units and 20,000 square feet of mixed-use space
A community building with 10,000 square feet per floor
Two retail and restaurant spaces, each with 3,500 square feet per floor
Three further commercial and retail spaces
Public lawn space amounting to 10,000 square feet
According to the development team, the project will likely be built in phases, with the green square component coming first to attract further investments.
The central green space is the first of two primary components of the project. The green space will span about 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, similar to Alpharetta City Center’s green area. The lawn will border low-rise retail buildings (likely topped with restaurant patios).
The second principal component of the project is a three-story community building that will house city offices and chambers, a library, community space, and a co-working office area.
Downtown Doraville will also comprise hundreds of multi-family units, more commercial space, and a 15-foot-wide public trail to ease access to all areas. Guests can stay at a new boutique hotel set to occupy the site’s highest point, with views of the central green space.
Brookhaven City Hall
Construction is underway on the site for the new Brookhaven City Hall. Located at the corner of Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills Road, the building will occupy the former long-term MARTA parking lot, which the city acquired from MARTA in 2022. The building’s location on Peachtree, the city’s most recognizable road, was crucial, enabling access via public transit.
The budget for the project is $78 million. High ceilings, open spaces, mural art, and garden spaces characterize renderings. The purpose of the building will be to provide the community with resources and services.
The city broke ground on the project in October 2023. One of the few city halls nationwide to be located at a heavy rail station, City Hall will occupy 1.2 acres. Nearly two-thirds of the building is dedicated to public space, including a multipurpose hall, rooftop garden, coffee shop, and kitchen. Main events will be held in the 6,000-square-foot atrium and adjacent event space.
Besides its practical features, the building serves an intangible purpose: creating the defined downtown area (which Brookhaven lacks). The municipality is just 11 years old, and city officials hope City Hall will galvanize further projects. Construction on City Hall is expected to be completed in mid-2025.
Chamblee’s public safety building
Chamblee’s new public safety building serves as a precedent for the Brookhaven City Hall. Completed in March 2021, the building occupies the former site of the Jim Hearn Golf Center. The building cost $18 million, whereas the 17 acres cost the city $4.5 million.
The state-of-the-art facility enhances the city's safety and emergency response capabilities. It represents a significant investment in the community's public safety infrastructure. The building's architectural design combines functionality with aesthetic appeal, reflecting Chamblee's commitment to creating a secure and welcoming environment for residents.
The building houses the Chamblee Police Department, Municipal Court operations, a large community room accessible to the public, and a signature recreational complex. This latter features a nature trail, a regulation-size athletic field, two multi-use courts, restrooms, concessions, bleachers, lighting, a playground, a dog park, a community garden, and storage for maintenance equipment.
As a testament to Chamblee's commitment to public safety, the new building symbolizes a proactive approach to addressing the community's evolving needs. Through this investment, Chamblee aims to provide its residents with a secure and modern environment, ensuring they can live, work, and thrive.
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*Header photo courtesy of Urbanize Atlanta