January 9 was a first for Tucker’s City Council. The Mayor and Council members reported for a continuation of their meeting from the previous night with five land use cases on the agenda.
“If they hadn’t split the meeting into two nights, this would have gone well past midnight,” explains Deputy Director of Community Development Courtney Smith.
Such is the reality in a city where developers are lining up to invest.
Minerva USA is one of the development firms that was on the agenda that night, asking the City Council for a rezoning and concurrent variances that would allow them to build 19 single family homes near Montreal Park. Managing Partner Brian Davison says Minerva isn’t alone in looking to Tucker for new development.
“Tucker is close to 285, close to the interstates and close to jobs,” Davison explains. “We saw Tucker as somewhere you can see positioned for the future. There’s a positive trend in retail, focus on livability and master planning. We’re in the early stage of a fairly major evolution of Tucker’s residential base.”
It’s true that, since beginning City operations almost two years ago, Tucker has seen an increase in interest from families and first-time homebuyers. Developments that had stagnated are once again under construction and land use applications are being submitted for projects in just about every part of town. Longtime developers like Davison say that wasn’t always the case.
“Tucker was located in what was referred to 20 years ago as the ‘Ring of Death’,” Davison explains. “Areas that were five-to-ten miles outside the Perimeter were too far to be ‘intown’, but too close to be ‘suburban’. Developers knew people weren’t looking there. You can see that changing.”
While new construction is in demand, so too are the charming brick homes built around Tucker in the 1960s. Rachel Cheng and her husband Tim moved to Metro Atlanta from Minnesota and bought their first home last year off of Idlewood Road. She says during the house hunting process, Tucker pretty much sold itself.
“When we were looking for a house, we would see neighbors out in the neighborhoods and go talk to them. They all speak so highly of Tucker,” Rachel recalls. “We didn’t even realize it before we moved here, but Downtown Tucker is really cool.”
The couple, who are getting ready to welcome their first child, cite many of the same advantages that are drawing other young families to move to Tucker.
“Living where I work is very important,” Rachel explains. “We have a lot of friends who have moved to Tucker. We love that Tucker is diverse and a place where you can find an affordable house with so much yard.”
What does all this renewed interest in Tucker mean? From a development standpoint, it means the City Hall Planning staff has a full plate; more proposals to review and more meetings with developers looking to move into Tucker.
“The workload is significant, but that’s a good thing.” Smith says. “We have builders, developers, people wanting to move to the area coming into City Hall everyday to ask questions and get information. It’s a sign of a flourishing community.”
And if it means more long nights for the City Council? They probably wouldn’t mind that, either.