Planning commissioners like ‘Pinewood Forrest’ concept

Planning commissioners like ‘Pinewood Forrest’ concept

Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission members got their first detailed view and explanation Tuesday night of what is being called “Pinewood Forrest”, a mixed-use development being planned for a 234-acre site directly across Veterans Parkway from the main Pinewood Studios Atlanta campus.

Pinewood Atlanta Holdings, LLC is asking the city to annex those acres from the unincorporated county into the City of Fayetteville and then to give it a Planned Community Development zoning, which allows for a more creative mix of uses than traditional zonings. Pinewood Forrest, which architect Bill Foley said is a placeholder name until a better one can be chosen, will, according to planning documents, offer “retail/commercial, office/commercial, restaurants, hotels, multi-family buildings including live/work and stacked flats over retail, townhomes and single family homes of various sizes.”

In total, Pinewood Forrest would feature 543 multi-family homes, 611 single-family homes, 88 townhomes and a combined 300 hotel rooms within two “boutique hotels”. Foley said Tuesday night that his clients have turned down major chain hotels and are in talks currently with other hospitality companies that would provide a more suitable product for the kind of development they are seeking to build.

Foley said Pinewood Forrest would be built in phases, with the first being located on the southern side of the property, which would include one hotel, a couple of multi-family complexes, a small amount of mixed-use retail and one complete single-family home subdivision. Phase One would also incorporate and embellish the existing 5.5-acre lake to include recreational trails and a boardwalk around and over a portion of the lake, and it would include two parks.

Despite some speculation in the community that Pinewood Forrest would be an exclusive community for the movie industry, Foley put those speculations to rest saying this new development would be open to the public, and he said it is meant to help relieve the housing shortage in the area partly caused by the rapid influx of movie industry professionals. He also said some of the housing would be built to cater to Georgia Military College’s accommodation needs.

Georgia Military College is due this summer to establish its Fayetteville campus a short distance down Veterans Parkway from Pinewood Forrest in a building currently under construction. Foley said a multi-use path will be paved along Veterans Parkway to connect the campus to Pinewood Forrest, which will be connected by tunnel under the parkway directly to Pinewood Studios Atlanta.

A future phase of Pinewood Forrest will include a central park for the whole development, including open park land, an amphitheater, a couple of ponds and a small, non-denominational chapel.

Foley noted that the denser portions of Pinewood Forrest would be built closer to Veterans Parkway, while the larger homes with larger yards will be located along the rear of the property, which abuts Whitewater Creek. Foley said about 32 percent of Pinewood Forrest would be undeveloped, most of which consists of the buffer between the creek and the backs of the proposed larger homes.

“This is not going to take away from the City of Fayetteville and what is going on out here,” Foley said, referring to the continued efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown district. “But there is demand out there,” he said, referring to the city’s west side, which includes the well established and growing Piedmont-Fayette Hospital and Pinewood Atlanta Studios.

Foley said Phase One could be completed in time for this next Christmas season, and he said the rest could be finished by the end of 2016.

Planning and Zoning Commission members are due to take another look at the Pinewood Forrest plans at their April meeting before uttering a recommendation to Fayetteville City Council. Several members said Tuesday they like the looks of what Foley has presented.

Danny Harrison

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.