Brookhaven MXD Master Plan

Commissioned by the City of Brookhaven’s Department of Economic Development, the Brookhaven Masterplan was completed in 2019 and proposed this mixed-use community on an 18-acre site along Interstate 85 in Brookhaven, GA. It consists of over 2,000 housing units, a 225-key hotel, 500,000 sf of office space, parking for over 4,000 vehicles, and an intermodal transit hub with direct access to the newly constructed Peachtree Creek Greenway, the incredibly diverse regional food hub of Buford Highway and both the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Healthcare expansions.

Design Challenge

In an effort to test the creative possibilities of the site, The City of Brookhaven challenged the design team to analyze the site’s context and push the boundaries of existing zoning constraints (established by the Buford Highway overlay zones and the master plan of the North Fork of the Peachtree Creek Greenway.) The result was a site concept that created five smaller development blocks which took advantage of natural features on the site such as accessibility, views, wind, solar angle, topography, and engagement with the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The design team created value for commercial development opportunities by including an intermodal transit hub, establishing branding opportunities along the highway, and integrating retail along pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streets and the greenway. A nature of place analysis was conducted to draw inspiration from 10 pillars that were contextual drivers: Integration, Community, Ecology, Water, Economy, Energy, Wellness, Resources, Change and Discovery. The significant change in grade towards the creek was leveraged by concealing parking and creating a vibrant pedestrian and retail space along the trail. With these strategies and more, the team was able to boldly transform underutilized parcels of land into one dense development that would spark growth and activity for the surrounding area for years to come. The development of this site positions it as a prototype for future parcels along the Buford Highway Corridor.

Physical Context

As with many large developments, one of the most definitive challenges of this project was to not just create a dense development, but to ensure that it was sensitive to its surroundings and accompanied by a true sense of a character and place, leveraging its natural assets. The design team started its process by acknowledging and synthesizing the site’s numerous faces: the high-speed visibility of I-85, the accessibility and congestion of North Druid Hills, the diverse locality of Buford Highway and the relative tranquility of Corporate Boulevard. In order to successfully incorporate a variety of programs, the team broke down this singular site into multiple blocks that could independently address their respective opportunities and needs. The Peachtree Creek Greenway became a unique asset to the design, acting as both an inspiration and a natural amenity for all the development’s occupants and visitors. A mosaic of green spaces, including green roofs were proposed that will not only influence the microclimate of the site, but will also enhance the air quality next to the highway. Locating hotel and offices uses along the highway optimized brand value and also shielded residential uses from the adverse auditory conditions located there. By carefully considering numerous programmatic scales based on the demographics of the place, the team leveraged the advantages that this location has to offer and imagined a terraced solution that transforms the site into a destination, an anchor, and a gateway for the City of Brookhaven.