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Letters to the Editor (2) - August 30 2006

Sembler's big plans in Brookhaven, Seegers, and more

The Rebuttal

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It is regrettable that no one at Sembler was asked to provide factual information and comment on CL's story (Fallout, "Brookhaven project faces opposition," Aug. 24) about Sembler's Brookhaven project prior to the publication of last week's brief story on this important development.

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A simple description of the current development plans, for example, would have challenged Commissioner Gannon's derisive, cookie-cutter description of the Brookhaven project. Yes, as in Perimeter and Edgewood, the Brookhaven plan is a true mixed-used project that includes retail, office and entertainment in a main-street, town-center setting. But the mix and style are significantly different. Last we heard, our mixed-use developments are incredibly popular, and economic development agencies throughout this region are vigorously trying to attract more like them. This project, incidentally, is considered a development of regional impact and, as such, must undergo a rigorous review by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). Both these agencies have completed their reviews and have approved our project — a fact omitted in your article.

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Plans for a project like Brookhaven are not developed in a vacuum. Community involvement is a must, and Sembler has continually worked hard to inform and receive comments from the neighborhoods surrounding the project so that the constantly evolving plan has been modified and improved thanks to their input. In recent weeks, Sembler has participated in more than a dozen community meetings in addition to appearing before DeKalb County's Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.

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With regard to our tenant relocation plan, it is absolutely wrong and somewhat offensive to suggest that we are going to help our tenants in order to appease Mr. Kevin Hughley or his organization. Long before we announced this project, we already intended to develop a tenant relocation plan, just as we did years ago for tenants in previous Sembler developments like Edgewood. Though Sembler is not legally required to do more than give advance notices to vacate (30 or 60 days), we are currently putting the finishing touches on a generous and realistic tenant relocation assistance plan that should be finalized within the next two weeks. The number of tenants to be relocated, incidentally, is way less than the dramatic 3,000 referenced in the article, as there remain only 415 occupied apartments.

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-- Jeff Fuqua, Atlanta

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President of Development, Sembler Corp.

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Lasting impression

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Dear Cliff,

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I read your article in Creative Loafing (Headcase, "Who's crazy?", Aug. 24), and I wanted to thank you for sharing such a moving story. I cannot stop thinking about the torture that those poor souls endured. Please take comfort that your thoughts and actions in some way changed the world and their lives for the better.

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-- David Ramsey, Atlanta

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Glad to see it gone

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Everyone seems to be lamenting the passing of a restaurant (Food & Drink, "The last supper," Aug. 24) featuring tiny portions, sky-high prices, surly service and a lack of good business acumen. Besha Rodell describes Seeger and his food as visionary, and the product of culinary genius, etc.

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Well, maybe folks don't want their food to be visionary. I prefer my food to be slathered in either gravy or barbecue sauce and served with cold beer. There are several reasons that this business failed, regardless of the chef's talent — exorbitant prices for small portions may be one of them.

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-- Chris Watford, Roswell

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Bad Taste

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Regarding Seeger (Food & Drink, "The last supper," Aug. 24), in 1988 I took my wife to what was one of the finest dining experiences in Atlanta — the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room. We selected the tasting menu with wines between each course. As the table was cleared just before the entrée was served, I excused myself to the men's room. When I returned to the table, my wife explained that our entrée had been brought from the kitchen in my absence and was returned because I was not immediately available to begin my meal. We would need to reorder another set of entrees. While we waited we were unattended by staff and treated with a cold air the rest of the evening. We bid a hasty farewell to a chef who does not understand the true nature of hospitality.

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-- Dave Armstrong, Atlanta