The Shopper Real Estate: Summer’s Saga of Caldwell Tanks
By Jess Barron, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors
If you were in or around Coweta County this summer, you probably heard about the rezoning of the Caldwell Tanks property off of East Broad Street in downtown Newnan. While this rezoning was ultimately voted down first by the Newnan Planning Commission and then the Newnan City Council, it was “the talk of the town” all summer long.
You may have seen the “City of homes, not apartments” yard signs. You may have even seen a few “Well actually, apartments are homes” yard signs as well. This was the polarizing topic of Newnan this year.
So, how did it all begin? Kurt Alexander, with the Residential Group, submitted an application for the rezoning of more than six acres located on East Broad Street for the purposes of renovating the Caldwell Tanks Site. The Residential Group, an Atlanta-based developer, was hoping to create 340 luxury apartment homes and an accompanying parking deck there.
The developer was seeking to rezone the property from Central Business District (CBD) to Mixed Use Development District (MXD) for the purpose of developing a mixture of commercial businesses, offices and apartments. The original plan called for 348 residential units, 50 percent one-bedroom apartments, 38 percent two-bedroom apartments, 12 percent studio apartments
For the commercial aspect, developers would utilize 5,700 square feet of the R.D. Cole building and 20,100 square feet of the warehouse. (Newnan-Times Herald).
There were several city council meetings and hearings this summer, with buildings packed full of concerned citizens. Both sides of the issue were represented but it seemed an overwhelming and loud majority were against this development. Many voiced their concern about the negative effects of apartments. Many local businesses believed that the apartments would have a positive effect on their business and bottom line. Other people worried that the apartments would bring in more crime and quickly decline as ownership of the apartments would eventually change hands. Thus, began the debate grew and grew.
Kurt Alexander, to his credit, did meet with several property and business owners around downtown Newnan. There were also several adjustments made, including reducing the number of apartments, the height of the parking deck, as well as eliminating an additional commercial lot across the railroad tracks from the property that would have been part of the development. Despite this, the rezoning was voted down in August of 2019.
As it stands now, the Caldwell tanks is an abandoned property best suited for a Walking Dead or a Zombieland scene. Many citizens would like to see a public park, more commercial-based properties or a townhouse-based development here. I have even heard and read wishes of a minor league baseball park or concert venue. Time will tell what becomes of the property, but as Newnan grows, you have to think that both this property and Newnan deserve better than an abandoned lot.
Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindseys, Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.