With occupancies high, demand encourages building of more luxury apartments

For a few years, colorful turtles appeared to be the mascot of the City of Sandy Springs. Just as easily, it could have been cranes. Whether they were the blue herons on the Chattahoochee River that are often mistaken for cranes, or the tall, strong, but graceful machinery that dotted the skyline of the city symbolizing more luxury housing under development.

Then it seemed the ubiquitous cranes, with their hoist ropes to lift heavy objects, suddenly disappeared. Hundreds of luxury apartment units were built in Sandy Springs between 2017 and 2020. The most recent of these mid-rise apartment complexes, Adley City Springs at 6075 Roswell Road in 2020, and The Alastair at Aria Village at Abernathy Road and Georgia 400 in 2019 claim enviable occupancy rates. The former has an occupancy rate of 97 percent while The Alastair is at 94 percent.

New project under construction

Developers took notice of the strong occupancy rates, leading to the construction of a new luxury apartment complex, Wayfern Apartments, in north Sandy Springs. The project, formerly North Springs Center, has been under construction since August at the corner of Roswell Road and Dalrymple Road. The approximately nine-acre site had most recently been anchored by a Big Lots, but the shopping area had gone through many retail phases over the last 50 years or so.

Matt Hallman is the vice president of development for Georgia and Tennessee at San Diego-based Fairfield Residential. He said the 286-unit rental complex is planned to include studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as some two-story townhome-style units.  The first units will be available in either the first or second quarter of 2024. Rents will range from $1,700 up to approximately $2800, with the townhouse units in the mid to high $3,000s.

The complex will include three-story apartment buildings plus a structured parking deck, Hallman said. Amenities will include a fitness center, clubhouse, office space for lease and a pool. Perhaps unique to the project will be a dog park and dog run.

Current luxury apartments available

Wayfern will face stiff competition from existing luxury apartments. The apartments – starting with studios up to two-bedrooms — at Adley City Springs feature nine-foot ceilings with ceiling fans and lights, carpeting, granite countertops in bathrooms, washer/dryers, digital programmable thermostats and home intrusion alarms. The kitchens include stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Rents range from about $2,200 to $2,900.

The Adley City Springs public areas include a two-story fitness center, rooftop salt-water pool, an outdoor kitchen and golf simulator lounge.

Alastair at Aria Apartments. Photo by Rob Knight

Another recent luxury apartment complex, the six-story Alastair, has one-, two- and three-bedroom units renting from about $2,000 to more than $5,000. Many have private balconies or patios. The units include built-in bookshelves, wine racks, quartz or granite countertops and digital thermostats. Again, a salt-water pool with fire pits and lounge spaces, a two-story fitness center, private game room, full catering kitchen, electric car charging stations and on-site concierge are included at The Alastair, which is within walking distance of the Mercedes-Benz U.S. headquarters.

Also built since 2017 is the 550 Northridge Apartments with 220 units on Northridge Parkway, the Arabelle Perimeter at 1110 Hammond Road with 384 units, and Juniper Sandy Springs at 6558 Roswell Road. The latter includes townhomes. Other notable properties include The Collection at 4600 Roswell Road was built in 2015, Bell Glenridge on Glenridge Point Parkway also built in 2015, and 1160 Hammon Road in 2014.

City of Sandy Springs predicted renters would pay for luxury

When the City of Sandy Springs adopted its comprehensive development plan in 2017, it was noted that the housing availability at the time consisted of mostly single-family homes and aging rental apartments. The report stated, “Because of the high cost of land in Sandy Springs, the single-family homes are affordable to only the highest-income earners, while the rental stock does not satisfy the preferences of many renters who are willing to pay more for updated finishes, amenities, and better access to MARTA.”

The city realized that “the key to providing more housing at a range of price points will be to adopt policies that allow developers to fill in or redevelop parcels with a greater range of housing products, such as smaller-lot single-family homes and townhomes as well as midrise apartments and condominiums, because if the price of land is spread over more new housing units, developers can offer the housing at lower prices.”

The City also noted that by attracting more professionals and families to the city, demand for high-quality retail and dining will follow. The Roswell Road corridor and Perimeter Center were pointed to as the city’s target for both residential and retail development. Code changes created a new zoning district called North End mixed-use that is just north of Dalrymple Road where Wayfern Apartments is under construction.

All of this means that residents of the northern end of Sandy Springs will most likely become accustomed to the dirt-moving, concrete-lifting cranes once again.