ALPHARETTA, Ga. — It was the second time around for Brandon Wheeless, but the Atlanta developer says he will change the face of Alpharetta with his new vision.
The Alpharetta City Council voted 4-3 Sept. 20 to endorse that vision, a sports health complex that includes a 100-room, five-star hotel and amenities to suit an elite clientele.
“I think this is going to be a monumental project that is going to not only put Alpharetta higher than its peers statewide but put it on the global map,” Wheeless said after the vote.
In addition to the hotel, the 4.7-acre site will include a 156,000-square-foot wellness center with state-of the-art facilities, offices and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail.
The plan is an upgrade to Wheeless’ proposal three years ago, when he won approval to place an athletic training campus on the same site at the corner of Kimball Bridge Road and Northwinds Parkway. That plan, then billed as Lux on the Alpha Loop, was geared for aspiring professional athletes in a setting that provided unique landscaping and amenities.
The issue before the council was whether the new project would be granted a variance allowing it to skirt requirements for impervious surface on the property. City building codes mandate certain amounts of space in developments be porous to mitigate stormwater runoff.
Wheeless and his team of architects said the development would take measures to ensure stormwater retention onsite would compensate for the deficiency in porous surface space.
Council members were also concerned with the height of one of the buildings proposed. Under conditions set out in the Northwinds Master Plan, buildings can be 20 stories, although there is no definitive figure laid out for how tall 20 stories is when measured in feet.
Wheeless and his team said the hotel will be 130 feet in height, 3 feet shorter than the nearby Jackson Healthcare tower.
Sandy Springs hotelier John Crow said The Bailey Hotel will exceed the standards of Atlanta’s St. Regis in Buckhead.
“This is a hotel unlike anything you have on the market,” he said. “This is a five-star hotel.”
Crow said the hotel and care to detail in the entire complex will put Alpharetta at the forefront of the “medical tourism” market. He said the wellness environment will bring more people to the city.
Councilman Donald Mitchell spoke in favor of the project, calling it “monumental.”
“I think this is one of those things we’ll be very proud of,” he said.
Council members Dan Merkel, Ben Burnett and John Hipes joined Mitchell in approving the variance. Mayor Jim Gilvin, Jason Binder and Karen Richard cast votes against.