A new Chick-fil-A restaurant at 3234 Peachtree Road NE within the Buckhead Place shopping center will need to be adjusted after the Buckhead Special Public Interest District 9’s Development Review Committee noted some concerns with the current plan at its July 5 meeting. The Development Review Committee (DRC) reviews applications requiring a special administrative permit and recommends approval or denial, sometimes with suggested conditions, to the Atlanta City Council.

The proposed Chick-fil-A will occupy the same space in which a David’s Bridal location formerly operated on the northwest corner of the mixed-use property.  

Chick-fil-A location does not call for a drive-through

As proposed, the 5,200-square-foot restaurant will be accessed through a development road adjacent to the Hertz and Original Mattress Factory locations on Peachtree Road using an existing curb cut. Unlike traditional Chick-fil-A locations, the proposed restaurant does not call for a drive-through as they are effectively banned in the Special Public Interest area to promote a more “walkable district.” The current site plan calls for 58 parking spaces behind the restaurant which will front Peachtree Road.

The applicant, Buckhead Place LLC, has requested a variance to allow the site’s remaining streetscape to remain in place. In its application, Buckhead Place noted the existing sidewalk along Peachtree Road was constructed in 2022 through the Peachtree Road Complete Street improvement project thorough the Buckhead CID, GDOT and City of Atlanta.

Due to proposed regrading of the site, existing landscaping and trees currently in place will be removed according to an engineer representing the applicant. That was one of the key issues the DRC took with the site plan as presented. The board proposed several areas in which the site plan needs to be updated, and these will be addressed administratively once completed, according to board members’ comments during the meeting.  

The DRC notes some issues with the plan as presented

The proposal calls for replanting trees with three-inch caliper specimens, but the DRC suggested larger plantings should be considered as several large maple trees will be cut down because of the regrading. The DRC also requested the site plan be updated to reflect the design along the building’s Peachtree Road frontage.

The proposed parking and landscaping plan

Pedestrian access was also a key driver behind the DRC’s comments. A single sidewalk is proposed along one side of the parking lot to allow customers to enter the restaurant. Denise Starling, a DRC board member and executive director of Livable Buckhead, noted concerns about pedestrian safety with the current plan.

DRC board member and Policy Analyst for the Atlanta City Council District 7 suggested the developer perhaps consider a new Chick-fil-A concept for the location that focuses on walkability and pet-friendliness for those living and walking in the area.

Silver also said additional pedestrian improvements are needed within the parking area.

“You know you are going to be busy, so you really need to address this,” she told the applicant.

Other concerns shared by the DRC are the site plan’s adherence to the parking lot landscaping requirements, that deliveries to the restaurant be restricted to non-busy times at the restaurant, and that bike racks be added to the proposal.

Buckhead Place could undergo additional site plan updates

Buckhead Place was originally approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2008. The site currently houses an LA Fitness, Marshalls department store, the 05 Buckhead 20-story rental high-rise, and Hyatt Place Hotel, according to Coro Realty.

The original site plan called for a 250,000-square-foot, 158-foot-tall building on the location of the proposed Chick-fil-A, though subsequent amendments have been made to the site overall. With the Chick-fil-A proposing a far smaller footprint, the applicant’s latest site plan shows “a redistribution of that square footage elsewhere on the site for potential future development.”

Though the site plan shows additional square footage taken from the potential Chick-fil-A location and placed onto other areas of the property, any future development would need to move through the Special Administrative Permit process, including a review by the SPI-9’s DRC, for approval.