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Marietta Daily Journal

Smyrna council to consider mixed-use development where Ken's Corner Grill stood

By Tanalta Real EstateJennifer HallStaff - Filejbusch,

In this May file photo, Ken’s Corner Grill owner Ken Johnston and his daughter, restaurant manager Vickie, stand by the sign for the restaurant, which closed after more than 48 years in Smyrna. Staff - File

SMYRNA — At its meeting Monday night, the Smyrna City Council is scheduled to consider a mixed-use development proposed for the site once occupied by a popular longtime restaurant that closed earlier this year.

In a divided vote last month, the Smyrna Planning and Zoning Board advanced a proposed four-story, mixed-use development on the former site of Ken’s Corner Grill on Atlanta Road.

The 37,800-square-foot building proposed by Atlanta-based Tanalta Real Estate would include just under 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail, restaurant and office space, plus 24 loft apartments on the top three floors.

The building would be located on about an acre of land at the corner of Church Street and Atlanta Road. It would replace the offices of Cochran and Edwards (partner Scott Cochran is Smyrna’s city attorney), the building previously occupied by Ken’s Corner Grill and a vacant parcel between the two buildings. The restaurant closed in May after nearly half a century of operation.

Cochran told the MDJ that, through a company, he owns the lot on which his office is located, the vacant parcel, and half of the lot where Ken’s Corner Grill was located (the other half is owned by Tanalta). Cochran recused himself from the rezoning case, and Marietta lawyer Tom Cauthorn has been handling the request for the city.

At the City Council’s work session Thursday, Councilman Charles “Corkey” Welch said he is concerned about the building’s appearance.

“Is there anything they can do to make this building a little bit more attractive, as far as the roofline?” Welch asked Rusty Martin, the city’s community development director, during the meeting.

“It’s a box,” Welch added.

Welch also questioned the proposed height of the building, which Martin said would be between 50 and 55 feet. The maximum height allowed by the mixed-use zoning category is 66 feet.

Martin noted that a desirable building style is subjective, but Welch responded that he would prefer to have multiple options beyond what Tanalta has presented to the Council.

The Smyrna Urban Design Commission, part of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, wants Tanalta to return with more design options before getting permits for the building, according to city staff.

Martin said there has been discussion about adding balconies to the residential units of the building, on floors two through four.

Councilman Lewis Wheaton said Welch’s criticisms were subjective assessments, not based on specific design standards. He also pushed back against Welch’s suggestion that the developer bring more options for the council to consider.

“I think it’s good for somebody to come forward with what they want to do,” Wheaton said.

The Smyrna City Council meets Monday at 7 p.m. at A. Max Bacon City Hall at 2800 King St.

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