Buckhead’s Shepherd Center moves ahead with residential tower on Peachtree Road

The Shepherd Center rehabilitation hospital is moving head on a long-planned tower intended to nearly double its housing for patients and their families. And a second tower may one day join it.

Announced over three years ago, the tower is planned for the northwest corner of Peachtree Road and 28th Street in Ardmore. The site is about three blocks south of the Shepherd Center’s main facility at 2020 Peachtree, and on the other side of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

A conceptual illustration of the Shepherd Center’s residential tower planned for Peachtree Road and 28th Street. The view is looking north on Peachtree, with Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in the background. Credit: Shepherd Center.

The Shepherd Center announced Dec. 8 that it is filing plans for a roughly 160-unit residential tower, which is depicted in conceptual illustrations as roughly 15 stories tall. The street address is given as 1860 Peachtree, while the overall property owned by the hospital also includes 1874 Peachtree and a parking lot that connects to Collier Road to the north. The plan includes first-floor retail space of a kind to be determined.

“One thing we do know is that we would like the retail to be something our patients/families could use, such as a small restaurant where they could relax and eat or get a limited amount of groceries,” said hospital spokesperson Kerry Ludlam.

The hospital expects the project will require City zoning variances related “mainly for ease of entrance/exit from the building,” said Ludlam.

The main use of the tower would be the patient and family housing, which would be funded by donors for the entire stay. The hospital currently has 84 such units but says its need it bigger.

From April 2020 to March 2021, the hospital says, it served more than 740 inpatients and over 250 more in a “Day Program.” More than half of those receiving in-patient care came from outside Georgia, and 72% from outside metro Atlanta, the hospital said.

Another view of the proposed tower, as seen from Peachtree Road. Credit: Shepherd Center

“The kinds of injuries and illnesses that bring patients to Shepherd Center are challenging not just for patients, but for entire families – physically, emotionally and financially,” said Sarah Morrison, the hospital’s president and CEO, in a press release. “Family members become crucial parts of the care team at Shepherd, participating in a wide variety of training and education before they often become primary caregivers when their loved ones return home. Expanded housing will ensure that our patients are surrounded by the love and support they need and that families – no matter where they call home – can be a part of the rehabilitative journey.”

More expansion could be on the way. The press release says the site offers “room to grow further by including significant green space with the flexibility to eventually build a second tower to provide more patient or family housing, clinical areas and office space.”

The site previously was home to two chain restaurants: Uncle Julio’s, which shuttered its Atlanta locations earlier this year, and Ted’s Montana Grill, which moved to the Upper Westside. Part of the site is now being used by a seasonal Christmas tree seller.

Shepherd Center Stories

Founded in 1975, the Shepherd Center is often ranked as one of the nation’s top rehabilitation hospitals. It aids people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions.

Nicolas Woodard had been in the Marines for more than a year when a ski trip to Snow Mountain in Boone, North Carolina took a terrifying turn. He was in the car with his friends when the vehicle slid over the edge of a drive and down 25 feet to the snowy rocks below, landing on its roof. Nicolas’ father Morgan recalls that fateful phone call after the accident. “I asked him ‘can you move anything?’ And that’s when I could tell – because he’s pretty strong kid but he started getting pretty scared there – and he said ‘no, I can’t.’”
Ryer Moore, an 18 year old senior in high school from Mobile, Alabama, makes a nurse laugh during dinner. He keeps busy with activities and treatments at the center all while working to make up for weeks of schoolwork that he missed in order to graduate this month. It was nearly midnight one evening when Moore met up with friends to attend a birthday party. During the drive one of his friends bumped the steering wheel causing the car to slam into the concrete median. “Just one act that changed everybody’s lives,” said Moore. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and sustained serious injuries, but expressed gratitude that his friends made it out okay and no one lost their lives that fateful night.
Floyd Haynes flashed a bright beaming smile as he pedaled away, popping gum and occasionally gazing out at the blue sky beyond the plate glass windows. “When I started making my 2019 plans this wasn’t part of the plan,” said Haynes. “But I’m thankful to be here, I’m excited to be here.” Haynes is a Kellogg’s pallet technician from Augusta, and he found himself at the Shepherd Center accompanied by his newlywed wife after an accident left him with neurological damage.

Read our “Inside Look at the Shepherd Center” for more Shepherd Center Stories.