Sandy Springs will host a community input meeting for the conceptual planning of redevelopment in the North End on March 5.
The meeting will be held at City Hall at 1 Galambos Way at 6:30 p.m. There will be a brief presentation, followed by a community engagement session, according to a press release.
In December, the City Council awarded a $307,260 contract to architect firm TSW for the designs of four shopping centers in the North End: the former Loehmann’s Plaza, 8610 Roswell Road; the Northridge Shopping Center, 8331-8371 Roswell Road; the North River Shopping Center, 8765-8897 Roswell Road; and the Big Lots Center, 7300 Roswell Road.
TSW is required to design a total of 12 plans, three for each shopping center. One design will conform to the city’s Development Code, one will potentially require variances and the third will be “unique” and would not be bound by any code requirements, according to the procurement.
The RFP also requires the contractor to hold at least two public meetings: one at the beginning of the plan to take public input; and the second at the end to display the preferred conceptual plans. At least one meeting must also be held at each of the properties, the document said. The designs will also include the estimated cost.
This meeting is the first of several public engagement meetings planned as part of the plan development process, the release said.
“The concept plans are intended to illustrate how the community’s vision for reimaging the North End can be realized through a variety of recommendations, uses, and intensities for the four shopping centers within the study area,” the release said. “The designs are not development proposals by the property owners, but rather illustrative concepts that might spur the highest and best uses of key properties in this redevelopment area.”
In January, the city appointed a North End Advisory Committee to advise and review the forthcoming conceptual plans.
The committee and the consultant will also be exploring possibilities of a “North End Revitalization Zone,” which Mayor Rusty Paul has said will be created to pursue incentives in the area.
It is unclear what the exact format and duration of the committee will be. According to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun, the meetings will be public. The committee’s schedule has not been finalized yet.
Some of the shopping centers targeted for redevelopment already have plans in motion.
A Goodwill of North Georgia store and donation center will open in the Northridge shopping center, Tenee Hawkins, the director of public relations, said in a Feb. 10 email. Hawkins said the store does not have an opening date yet.
Caffeine and Octane at the Garage, a car-themed restaurant shop/restaurant/TV studio hybrid, received a tax break from the city at a Feb. 4 meeting and plans to open by this summer in the North River shopping center. The project comes from Bruce Piefke, a long-time resident and CEO of Sandy Springs-based company High Octane Events that stages the “Caffeine and Octane” exotic car shows at Perimeter Mall.
On the same day of the press release from the city, David and Melanie Couchman, longterm Sandy Springs residents, sent out a newsletter under their affordable housing advocacy group Sandy Springs Together. The newsletter urged the community to encourage the city to consider an affordable housing study before redesigning the shopping centers.
“Why not take the simple step to do a housing impact study before we redesign shopping centers in Sandy Springs,” the newsletter said.