University Arch at the University of Georgia

Jim Thompson reports for Online Athens:

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta wants to replace its existing University of Georgia campus ministry, housed in a small chapel on South Lumpkin Street, with a multi-story mixed-use residential, retail and institutional structure on the same 1.13-acre tract.

Jim Warnes, the local attorney working with church officials to get the needed rezoning for the project, said the project is designed to provide a gathering space for students, whether or not they are [Episcopalians]. Some years ago, the Episcopal tract included living space, in a house that has since been demolished.

Episcopal House’s residential space will be a private dormitory, unaffiliated with UGA, whose property virtually surrounds the Episcopal property. The diocese is not looking at the project as a money-making proposition, but as an extension of its ministry, according to Warnes.

“It’s a break-even enterprise for them,” Warnes said. The proposed development, an L-shaped structure, would include a chapel, according to plans reviewed Thursday by the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission.

The four-floor residential component of the proposed Episcopal House would comprise 104 bedrooms, arranged in 30 two-, three- or four-bedroom “pods” around common living spaces. Other features of the residential space would include study spaces, lounge areas, and a fitness center.

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