Sandy Springs nears plan for city center expansion

Sandy Springs is keen on a southern expansion of City Springs, a project aimed at creating a downtown environment in the North Fulton suburb.

Local leaders recently agreed to consider selecting a master developer for the 4-acre expansion, which would take shape along Mount Vernon Highway and Hildebrand Drive near Sandy Springs Circle. The city will choose between five real estate companies, mostly comprised of Atlanta-based firms with experience creating mixed-use projects in the metro area.

These are the firms considered for the project:

  • The Atlantic Cos.
  • MidCity Real Estate Partners with ASD|SKY
  • Mill Creek Residential Trust with Westbridge
  • Regent Partners with Morris and Fellows
  • RocaPoint Partners and The Georgetown Co.

The expansion involves redeveloping city-owned buildings — including a fleet facility for vehicles and gym used by Sandy Springs Police Department — and 108 surface parking spaces. The site is located to the south of the existing City Springs campus, a 14-acre project anchored by a five-story city hall, performing arts center, town green, shops, restaurants and apartments.

In recent years, Atlanta’s suburbs have embraced the concept of creating city centers or vibrant downtowns. Suwanee, Woodstock and Duluth have all centered residential units, shops and restaurants around public space. Mixed-use developments such as Avalon in Alpharetta or Halcyon in Forsyth County serve a similar purpose for those communities.

Johns Creek recently tapped Toro Development Co. to transform an empty State Farm office campus into a mixed-use destination with apartments, shops, restaurants, townhomes, offices and ample public space. A town center built from scratch is also underway in Snellville. Peachtree Corners, Avondale Estates, Tucker and Roswell are a few of other cities in the midst of expanding their downtown areas.

The five firms will now pitch development proposals to Sandy Springs with the projected financial performance of their plans, said Mayor Rusty Paul at a late January meeting. Sandy Springs expects to select a master developer and award a contract by April, added City Manager Eden Freeman.

A concept plan for the 4-acre expansion depicts a 120-room boutique hotel, 56,000 square feet of offices, 27,000 square feet of retail space, 149 residential units and 750 private and shared parking spaces. The final project approved by the city could deviate from the preliminary ideas for the site.

This article first appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 8th, 2023 by Tyler Wilkins. To see the original article, click here.