Friday, May 27, 2016

Massive Development Planned by Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody

A massive mixed-use development, known as High Street, will soon begin to rise across the street from the Dunwoody MARTA station, near the under construction State Farm campus. The project, which has been in the works for more than a year at the intersection of Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway, is just one of many that promise to bring density to the area previously dominated by Perimeter Mall, the epitome of 'suburbanization'.

Renderings from Boston-based GID Urban Development, offer a glimpse at a mini-city, complete with office high-rises and six-story apartments atop retail, all surrounding a large linear park.

The posh buildings offer an eclectic array of styles.

The 42-acre High Street development is conceived as a premier mixed-use project that will transform Atlanta's Perimeter Center area and become its urban heart.

High Street will provide a sophisticated mix of high-, mid- and low-rise buildings that integrate residential, retail, restaurant, office, hotel and parking uses with signature open spaces.

The project's master plan takes shape around a dynamic public space that forms the social core of the community.

A series of internal districts emphasize the kind of variety in architectural style and programmatic use that distinguishes authentically memorable urban settings.

Tree-lined streets and wide sidewalks accentuate the project's respect for pedestrians, deftly weaving High Street into the surrounding city.

Based on LEED Neighborhood Development principles, the project demonstrates a consistent commitment to green building and smart growth.

Upon completion, High Street will feature:
  • 8 million square feet of mixed-use space
  • 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space
  • 3,000 residential units
  • 1 million square feet of Class-A office space
  • 750 hotel rooms
  • 8,500 parking spaces
  • New streets, landscaped promenades, signature parks and plazas

Energizing its living and work dynamic, High Street includes a distinctive retail and restaurant scene that will draw residents, workers, consumers and visitors.

Its adjacency to the local MARTA rail system will make High Street a destination attraction and an icon of sustainable, transit-oriented development.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Developer Plans Massive $700M Atlanta River Walk Project

ARW Group, a joint venture between Peachtree City developer Jorge Duran and the Foxfield Co., plans to build Atlanta River Walk, a $700 million mixed-use destination in Braselton, Georgia.

The 508-acre development, located just northwest of Chateau Elan off Georgia Route 211, will be centered around a man-made “river” and will resemble water-centric developments such as San Antonio River Walk and Oklahoma City Bricktown.

The project will include 265 single-family homes, 215 townhomes, 600 multifamily units, 242,000 square feet of retail space and 424,000 square feet of office space. Plans also call for a 200-room boutique hotel, 20,000-square-foot convention center, 50,000-square-foot grocery store and 60,000-square-foot theater and an outdoor amphitheater.

The centerpiece is a nearly mile-long water feature that curves through the project, along with an International Village featuring restaurants and retail. The waterfront village will feature international restaurants and high-end shopping.

A  man-made river will flow through a large park and house a "Tree of Life" – a larger-than-life LED fountain and art exhibit which serves as the focal point of the destination. The Atlanta River Walk will also include over 100 acres of green space with parks, art installations, walking trails, rivers, streams, lakes and lots of room for more fun in the future.

Click to enlarge

“Atlanta doesn’t have a lot of water front destinations. People love being near a river, a lake or an ocean,” Duran, principal of ARW Group, said in an announcement.

“We will create a one-of-a-kind destination by constructing a man-made feature similar to a river and surrounding it with world-class mixed-use development.”

Click to enlarge
Atlanta River Walk will be situated near Chateau Elan and Road Atlanta and straddle the county line between Hall and Jackson counties.

ARW Group created the master plan in collaboration with Wakefield Beasley Architects and engineering firm Atwell Group.

The project team also includes Road Atlanta and the city of Braselton.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Disney World Builds Happiest Solar Project on Earth

A new solar farm right outside the gates of Disney World and Epcot Center is causing quite a stir. Over the past year, Duke Energy built the 22-acre installation which features 48,000 photovoltaic panels arranged to look like the head of Mickey Mouse.
Equivalent in size to about 1,000 residential rooftop solar systems, the panels will bring peak output of about 5 megawatts of power generation to the resort and its partners.

The solar array will be operated by Duke Energy, which will sell the alternative energy to Reedy Creek Improvement District to help meet the power needs of Walt Disney World Resort and its other customers, such as Four Seasons Resort and the hoteliers along Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

But this green energy project at the Happiest Place on Earth is 50 years in the making.

In the mid-1960's, when Walt Disney selected 25,000 acres of mostly uninhabited swampland and forest to build his second theme park, the area was so remote that the nearest power and water lines were 10 to 15 miles away.

Furthermore, the property straddled 2 separate counties and neither of the counties had the services or resources needed to support a resort of that size.

The solution proposed by the Florida State Legislature, working with the Walt Disney World Company, was to create a special tax district called the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

This new district would act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government. A county government with just one tenant that is, because the Walt Disney Corporation would be solely responsible for paying the cost of providing typical municipal services like power, water, roads, fire protection, etc.

The cherry on top that sealed the deal was that local taxpayers, meaning residents of Orange and Osceola County, would not have to pay for building or maintaining those services, making it a win-win for everyone.

Fast-forward to 2015. As part of Disney’s efforts to make its resorts more environmentally sustainable, a 5-megawatt solar facility project was announced.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District accepted a fifteen-year power agreement with Duke Energy. Under the agreement, Duke Energy will lease the land from The Walt Disney Corporation and Disney will purchase the solar power from Duke.

This is another example of private industries working with local government.

Duke Energy has also said it aims to add up to 500 megawatts of additional solar energy to Florida by 2024.

The five megawatts facility is the largest solar-power project at Disney World and caused quite a stir with its unusual shape: Mickey Mouse.

Unusual perhaps for a solar plant, but quite fitting for the "Happiest Place on Earth", who can now boast of having the "Happiest Solar Project on Earth”.

Monday, May 9, 2016

United Technologies to Build $115M Complex in Palm Beach

United Technologies, the world's largest provider of building technologies, will invest $115 million to develop a new sustainable, world-class UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The Fortune 500 Company chose the city for its new six-story, 265,000-square-foot Center for Intelligent Buildings, which will bring with it 380 high paying jobs. The new complex will be built on 30 acres of land near Interstate 95 and Donald Ross Boulevard

The plan also calls for a four-story parking garage with 602 spaces and bus parking for United Technologies to bring in groups from local hotels to the center for training and product demonstrations.

The center is expected to generate a $662 million economic impact over five years, according to the county. In addition to the innovative technologies to be showcased, the facility itself will feature advanced, environmentally responsible building systems and materials.

Developed to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard, it will be both eco-friendly, intelligent and sustainable.

The building will demonstrate new technology for security, fire safety, air conditioning, elevator and escalator, and refrigeration systems. The Center for Intelligent Buildings will be a place where designers, architects, building owners and United Technologies distribution networks can get product demonstrations and training,

The city, Palm Beach County and Florida offered United Technologies millions of dollars in economic incentives to keep 70 jobs and create 380 new ones with an average wage of $85,000 by 2020.

Based in Hartford in Connecticut, UTC has annual sales of $65.1 billion, net income attributable to common shareholders of $6.2 billion and 211,500 employees. Company units include UTC Building & Industrial Systems, engine maker Pratt & Whitney, helicopter maker Sikorsky and UTC Aersopace Systems. The buildings unit has annual sales of about $29.8 billion and employs more than 118,000 people, the website said.

UTC Building & Industrial Systems is the world’s largest provider of building technologies. Through innovation and integration, UTC Building & Industrial Systems brings together technologies from across its industry-leading brands to improve building efficiency and occupant experience. The organization combines cutting-edge HVAC with intuitive software, breakthrough elevator technology with advanced security solutions, and merges entry control solutions with building automation systems to maximize comfort and enhance productivity – while minimizing energy consumption.

Geraud Darnis, President/CEO of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, said, “We are excited to announce the development of a first-of-its-kind, intelligent and sustainable customer center. This living showplace will serve as a destination for the global building community, offering truly integrated, whole-building solutions. We chose Florida among other potential locations in the Southeast for its ideal climate for year-round demonstration of advanced, energy efficient cooling technologies, as well as its proximity to existing UTC facilities and neighboring international airports.”

Governor Rick Scott said, “I am proud to announce that UTC Building & Industrial Systems has picked Florida for their new Center for Intelligent Buildings, which will add 380 jobs in the Palm Beach community. We know UTC picked Florida over other locations in the Southeast and we look forward to their continued success in the Sunshine State.”

This project was made possible by the close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the city of Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach County.

‘We are very excited that United Technologies has selected Palm Beach County as the location for its innovative UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings. This game-changing project is truly unique – there is no other facility like this in the U.S. and its proximity to Scripps Florida and Max Planck will solidify a true innovation and research corridor in this county,” said Kelly Smallridge, President/CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.

“We proudly welcome United Technologies as the newest partner in the Palm Beach Gardens business community,” said Mayor Eric Jablin, Palm Beach Gardens. “The addition of United Technologies is significant to the Gardens and serves as an example of intelligent growth. We are grateful to United Technologies for placing its confidence in the solid business climate we have worked to establish and for the many job opportunities they will be creating. This will be to the benefit of our local economy for many years to come.”

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Georgia Power and Contractor Fined over Arc Flash Incident

OSHA inspectors opened an investigation into an arc flash incident at Georgia Power's Plant Bowen generating facility, which injured an electrician last October. Georgia Power and ABB, Inc. were both cited after the investigation with $122,780 in fines.

OSHA inspectors determined that Georgia Power failed to power down an electrical cabinet before the electricians began work.

When the arc flash occurred, a 48-year-old electrician was working on a cabinet that was still powered.

The ABB, Inc. employee suffered second and third-degree burns to his hands, arms and torso.

Georgia Power received two repeated, five serious and two other-than-serious safety citations.

The repeated violations relate to the employer failing to ensure the electrical cabinet was not powered down before allowing work to begin and not developing specific steps to power down machinery and prevent starting up during maintenance and servicing.

Georgia Power was previously cited for similar violations in 2014 at this facility.

The company's serious violations relate to its failure to:
  • Ensure proper grounding of electrical equipment.
  • Inform other employers of their electrical lockout program.
  • Provide adequate procedures for electrical energy isolation.

ABB, Inc. was issued two serious citations.

The serious violations relate to the employer's failure to coordinate with other employers on the specific requirements of removing power from equipment before maintenance and servicing and exposing workers to electrical hazards.

"Every day, employees place their trust in their employers to keep them safe while they work, unfortunately Georgia Power and ABB failed to ensure the cabinet was properly de-energized before allowing the electrician to begin working.

This incident was totally preventable if his employers simply followed OSHA standards," said Christi Griffin, OSHA's director of the Atlanta-West Office.