Box 5, Folder 6, Document 14

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Box 5, Folder 6, Document 14

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CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
June 10, 1968
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Mr. Howard Openshaw
Director of Redevelopment
Atlanta Housing Authority
824 Hurt Building
Atlanta, Georgia
30303
Dear Mr. Openshaw:
This is with reference to your letter of June 4, 1968
outlining several objections to our plans for the development of Parcels E-la and B-2. As I understand it, these
objections represent the position both of your office and
that of the City Planning Commission.
I should like to take exception, first, to the second
paragraph of your letter, which states in part that, "While
certain elements of the original plan have been retained ....
other features on which the development competition award
was made have been eliminated, reducing the original extraordinary site plan proposal to the average run-of-the-mill
development." That statement is unjustified as to the facts,
and, if it is an expression of aesthetic judgement, not one
with which we agree or respect.
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Second, I should like to point out that your action in
advising the Federal Housing Administration that our plans
were not acceptable has resulted in their refusal t6 issue
ready-to-go commitments. This may mean the loss, to . us and
. to the City of Atlanta, of the 22l(d)(3) reservations for
this project and, if 22l(d)(3) money is, as we are advised,
exhausted, it may be some time before new reservations are
obtained if we lose these.
A far more advisable course for you to have followed
(in terms of safeguarding the 22l(d)(3) reservations for
this project) would have been to permit FHA to issue their
commitments and in the period preceeding initial mortgage
closing, work with us to achieve that which you feel is
necessary. Your control of our going and our coming is
so complete in every respect that with or without the
commitment we cannot proceed into construction until you
SUITE 2352 • NATIONAL BANK OF GEORGIA BUILDING • ATLANTA GEORGIA 30303 • TEL: 404/688-1415
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CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
Mr. Howard Openshaw
June 10, 1968
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are completely satisfied with our work. You chose, however,
to pursue a course which places the project's development
in . jeopardy .... a needless and disheartening risk and delay.
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Third, I should like to point out that we are no less
interested than are you or any other City Agency concerned
with this project, · in producing as superior a development as
possible.· Our competition submission was not a pipe dream nor
did we approach it on the basis of winning a beauty contest
thinking to make it work later, as is often the case.
I would
imagine that we will be with this project long after most of
the City officials concerned with it now have left the scene
and its success, both as an investment and in the achievement
of our social objectives, depends entirely upon its desirability
to potential tenants.
It was recognized publicly, by you and by us during the
course of the competition, that detailed planning, architecture
and fiscal analysis would require certain changes, but that
the major concepts presented would be preserved. We have
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acted in . good faith in pursuing our work and those changes which
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have been made, in practically every single, instance of concern
to you, have related to four major factors:
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The severe cost restrictions governing the 22l(d)(3)
program which have become even more severe over this
past year by virtue of the money market and tremendous
increases in construction costs.
B.
Detailed cost analysis of certain of our original
development proposals (such as rental town housing
in Parcel E-la and elements of site development)
have proved to be economically infeasible in terms
of their effect upon rentals.
C.
The need to provide the full number of units
originally proposed when certain areas, upon
detailed site planning, proved to be economically
infeasible for development or, proved to contain
conditions of which we were not advised
(such
as County ownership of certain lands within the
proje c t area) •
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�CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
Mr. Howard Openshaw
June 10, 1968
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D.
The rentals and carrying charges which the housing
market with which we are concerned can absorb.
Lastly, _ I should like to point out that most of those
elements of our work which you now question ·; have been known
to your office and to the City Planning Commission for several
months.
It is baffling, to say the least, that at this late
and critical date you choose to present your comments.
Now, as to the substance of your letter, I shouH like
to make the following brief observations which will be enforced
by oral argument and graphic material presented at our meeting
on June 11, 1968.
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As to your item (a), we do not agree that the geometric
arrangement of buildings does not provide interesting and
varied pedestrian spaces. The changes we have made in
Parcel E-la with regard to buildings placement are not major.
If you are making an aesthetic judgement, we agree that the
original concept is better, but not that our revision does
it great violence. Additionally, some study of our building
placement would have indicated the extreme topographic conditions which account for many of our shifts in building
_.location, conditions we originally felt able to resolve, but
in the face of economics, could not.
In this regard, I sh9uld
point out that retaining walls were the first to go when the
dollar situation became extreme and this fact mandated a shift
in building, parking and driveway location .
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As to your item (b), rental townhouses in Parcel E-la were '
eliminated solely for reasons of economy and FHA guidance here _:
was quite convincing. They proved too costly to build and
could not be absorbed by the rental market with which we
are concerned . Eliminating townhouses eliminated the structured
and disciplined flow of pedestrian traffic, but that function
can be provided by strong and adequately designed pedestr i an
pathways .
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�CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
Mr. Howard Openshaw
June 10, 1968
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The original competition drawing did in fact show
townhouses step up or down the grades.
It was later
recommended by your office and concurred in by us, that
the B-2 site be converted to all co-op townhouses which
more fully and economically served the market for townhouse
occupancy.
In addition, FHA requirements regarding percentage of grade around the E-la townhouses parking ·lots
which served these steep townhouse had severe cost implications.
Also, the cost of producing such a steep townhouse
proved to be so high as to approach or exceed the maximum
rentals under the 22l(d)(3) program as follows:
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Tr:ee of Unit
2BR
3BR
2BR basement
3BR basement
4BR basement
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Monthly Rent
On E-1 Site
$
98
112
105
119
126
Monthly Charge On
B-2 (co-o:e site)
$
81
98
96
109
119

Note:
Includes all ~tilities
As to your item (c), we agree that the community plaza
. was a major and highly desirable element of our original
proposal. We eliminated it and distributed the functions
elsewhere throughout the project in that a part of Parcel
E-lb and all of E-lc cannot now be developed for housing due
to certain facts not brought to our attention during the
competition. We, therefore, sought to recapture some of the
lost units by placing them on the community plaza site.
However, we are quite willing to eliminate that housing and
to reinstate the original community plaza proposal, but you
must recognize that this will mean a net loss of approximately
40 dwelling units.
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Additionally, it should be noted here that the new
centrally located community recreation area was not only
approved by the Planning Commission and the full Board of
Aldermen in our Community Unit Plan submission, but was also
approved by the Atlanta Housing Authority.
Similarily, the
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�CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
Mr. Howard Openshaw
June 10, 1968
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new church site location plan was forwarded to both the
Housing Authority and Collier Gladdin's office on April
22, 1968 and no objection was raised at that time.
As to your item (d), changes in relationship of peripheral
drives and parking areas to the housing units they serve, were
made necessary by detailed studies which could not have been
performed during the competition and by other changes such
as building location and elimination of retaining walls.
However, not by any stretch of the imagination can we understand the charge that the basic concept and relationship of
driveways and parking to housing units served, has been violated.
As to the statement that a massive "sea of asphalt" parking
area, remote from housing units is created, we point out that
this is not the fact except perhaps in one instance.
Even
though the number of parking spaces has been increased to serve
a larger number of housing units the parking solution in our
proposal is superior to the original in many instances and in
fact results in eliminating seas-of-parking. The statment that ,·
parking areas are remote from housing units is absolutely
unfounded.
Except in two instances they are all in the same
relationship as originally proposed and improved in many
instances -- at FHA insistence.
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As to your item (e), the concept of uninterrupted pedestrian streets is maintained.
As a matter of fact, it is
improved in both -Parcels E-la and B-2.
Site plans showing
the use of this particular street has been in jour possession
since March.
As a matter of fact, its utilization resulted
as much from your suggestion that it be used and dedicated
to the City so that approximately $30,000 in site improvement
credits would accrue to the City, as it did from our desire to
eliminate the cost of constructing additional roadway.
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As to your item (f), the pedestrian and vehicular traffic
between Parcels B-2 and E- la will provide for controlled
street crossing as originally proposed.
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CEREX ATLANTA CORPORATION
Mr. Howard Openshaw
June 10, 1968
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As to your i _tem (g) , we have rethought the placement of
church sites within building clusters in view of our meetings
with church groups which established that the churches will
attract members both from within and without the project area. ·
·To place churches within the clustered areas would be to introduce large amounts of parking which we consider undesirable.
As to your item (h), ·the geometric arrangement of Parcel
B-2 not only does relate to topography, it is governed by
topography. We do propose a cluster arrangement of buildings
with much of the site open and existing ttees preserved.
The statement that the entire site is covered with buildings
and parking areas is completely unsupported by the facts
and rather contentious. Coverage is approximately 20% for
all buildings, roads and parking areas. The original plan
proposed 331 dwelling units and 450 parking spaces. The present
one proposes 250 dwelling units and 375 parking spaces -on the same acreage.
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Very truly yours
l.,;11~,A.,Nt}l,I143.215.248.55
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cc :
Mr .
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr .
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Mr.
Mr .
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Lester H. Persells
Ralph johnston
Collier Gladdin
Rodney Cook
Hamilton Douglas, Jr .
Cecil Alexander
Larry Chkoreff
Stanley Berman

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  1. http://allenarchive.iac.gatech.edu/originals/ahc_CAR_015_005_006_014.pdf

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