Suburban Demand Fuels Apartment-Driven Project Next to Mall of Georgia

Press Release

The Ivy at Ariston 41

A team of Atlanta-based developers bringing pedestrian-oriented Ariston next to the state's largest shopping mall expects to compete with existing retailers by offering a lineup of local restaurants.

The basics:
The apartment-driven project is coming to the corner of Mall of Georgia Boulevard and Woodward Crossing. At completion, the 16-acredevelopment will include 550apartments, 26,000 square feet of restaurant and service retail space and a 109-room Hilton Garden Inn.

John Guven, who runs a jewelry store in Buford, came up with the vision for Ariston a few years ago. He purchased the site with Julio Jones, the former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver, and formed Ariston Group with several developers who could help bring the idea to fruition.

On Wednesday, Ariston Group officially broke ground on the project's commercial hub known as The Pointe. It will have several restaurants with roots in metro Atlanta – Flying Biscuit Café, Tequila Mama Taqueria, VeGreen Vegetarian Fusion and Revolving Sushi Factory – as well as an orthodontic office. All of the retailers are expected to open by the end of the year.

The Ivy at Ariston, an apartment building with 283 units developed by RangeWater Real Estate, fully opened last year. TPA Residential is developing The Enzo at Ariston, an under-construction apartment building that will include 265 units. Peachtree Hotel Group is responsible for the Hilton Garden Inn, which is expected to soon break ground and open by 2023.

What they're saying: "We're trying to bring some uniqueness to the project," said Ralph Conti, principal at Ra Co Real Estate Advisors, who's leading the development of The Pointe. "All the apartment
dwellers can walk to any of these areas very easily. And if you want to go to the mall, it's sitting right next door... It's a really well positioned piece of real estate."

Bigger picture: Gwinnett County is in the lead when it comes to suburban apartment demand in metro Atlanta.

Average asking rent in the northern portion of the county now exceeds $1,600 per month, nearly 22% higher than this time last year, according to commercial real estate research firm CoStar. Over the past 12 months, renters moved into more than 1,400 vacant units, while only 640 new units were delivered.

As intown rents skyrocket, young professionals and married couples without children are turning to the suburbs. Remote or hybrid office environments allow some workers to skip daily commutes, giving them the push to live farther out from the urban core. All of the units at The Ivy leased within one year, a testament to the hot demand for apartments in the area, Conti said.

A growing number of developers are trying to bring walkable centers with an urban feel to the Buford area, now known for sprawling retail centers. Fuqua Development is building out Exchange at Gwinnett, a 106-acre project with 1,000 residential units and 465,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, right down
the road from the mall.

by Tyler Wilkins
Read more at the Atlanta Business Chronicle Here.