Gables Residential and Cousins Properties, two Atlanta-based development companies, have partnered to begin construction on the $250 million Emory Point, a vertical mixed-use development slated to open in the fall of 2012 in Atlanta.

Work on the project, which was halted in 2008 as the recession intensified, began again in July. Located on the Clifton Corridor adjacent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and near Emory University and Emory Healthcare, Emory Point will take up 15 acres of a 50-acre rezoned site.

The project will be the first new retail property built in the trade area in 20 years. Phase 1 of the three-phase development will feature 80,000 square feet of retail space and 443 luxury apartments. Approximately 60 percent of the retail space has already been committed. 40 percent of the total space will be devoted to restaurants.

“The Emory Point project allows for the vertical integration of apartments and retail on a scale uncommon to Atlanta,” says Lynette Hegeman, vice president of marketing at Gables Residential. “This project represents an incredible infill opportunity in a supply constrained submarket with high demand and sets the new standard for the Emory community.”

Part of that new standard is an environmental consciousness—the site includes 25 acres of forest, now protected under Emory’s land classification plan and the new rezoning site plan. Prior to the rezoning, the woodlands were not protected. What’s more, every aspect of the project is designed to meet EarthCraft standards and certification. Emory Point will also collect rainwater and AC condensation for irrigation, and the roof will be designed to reduce the heat-island effect.

The Gables/Cousins partnership was begat out of Cousins’ desire for Emory Point to have a multifamily component. “[They] researched the market to find high-quality multifamily development companies that shared their core values. Gables met that profile, and after initial meetings, we mutually decided to form a partnership and move forward,” Hegeman says.

For Phase 1, Cousins is 75 percent owner and Gables is 25 percent. “We are glad to see development of this magnitude move forward,” Cousins President and CEO Larry Gellerstedt said in the project’s press release. “We’re fortunate to have an exceptional partner in Gables and are grateful for our strong relationship with Emory University, which trusted us with leading this opportunity.”

Of the 443 luxury apartments, 266 will be one-bedroom units, 164 will be two-bedroom units, and 13 will be three-bedroom units. Amenities will include a state-of-the-art fitness center, resort-style pool, two courtyards with attached club rooms, a business center, and a cyber lounge.

The construction team is currently focusing on site-work to prepare the foundation and infrastructure. Pre-leasing for apartments will begin next spring.

“There is tremendous pent-up housing demand in this neighborhood,” says Gables’ president and CEO David Fitch. “Emory Point a bright spot in an otherwise challenging market.”