SMART DESIGN: Pollack Partners turned a challenging, steep site in Atlanta into the 269-unit Five East Apartment Homes, which boasts a number of amenities including a clubhouse with demonstration kitchen. Phase one opened in April; the community will be completed this month.
Pollack Partners SMART DESIGN: Pollack Partners turned a challenging, steep site in Atlanta into the 269-unit Five East Apartment Homes, which boasts a number of amenities including a clubhouse with demonstration kitchen. Phase one opened in April; the community will be completed this month.

It was 15 acres, well-zoned, in a great location in Atlanta next to Interstate 85, and in commuting distance to offices and universities. There was a bounty of young professionals looking for a high-end rental project just like Five East Apartment Homes.

But there was one problem.The site was steep. It dropped nearly 100 feet from the interstate to a creek below. Atlanta-based Pollack Partners determined it was too expensive to flatten the site and still compete with neighboring older rental projects.

“We wanted to work within the confines of the site,” says Michael Blair, Pollack’s development director. But Pollack also wanted to max out the density at 269 units and allow for green space.

Pollack brought its tall order to Dallas-based architecture firm JHP. “We have worked in Atlanta for years, so we were used to the topography of the site,” says Ron Harwick, JHP’s vice president. The solution? Design the parking to fit the terrain. For example, one building has parking on the bottom floor while another features a garage on top.

“It’s a three-story building, but with the terrain it feels like you are on the sixth floor when you look at the view,” Blair says. “It’s maximum density, but when you see the property it doesn’t seem like it because the project is stepping down to green space.”

The $35 million Five East has a neotraditional look with modern interiors designed by Winter Park, Fla.-based Beasley & Henley Interior Design. High-end amenities include a pool, outdoor kitchen, clubhouse with a demonstration kitchen, fitness center, and media room. The first phase opened in April and was 20 percent leased in the first two months. The one- and two-bedroom units rent for $950 to $1,300 per month. The project will be completed this month.