The developer of a proposed mixed-use project at the Sprayberry Crossing Shopping Center explained those plans and answered questions from the community Wednesday in the first public meeting on the subject.
In a Zoom call that included more than 100 participants, and others who took part via telephone and chat, Richard Aaronson of Atlantic Residential said that more revisions have taken place since another site plan was released last week.
It’s the latest version of a project that would contain 30,000 square feet for a national grocery store, retail and co-working/office space, townhomes, apartments, senior rentals and an entertainment and food hall, as well as community greenspace.
(Here’s the Sprayberry Crossing redevelopment page, which contains regular updates.)
Aaronson said talks are proceeding with a national grocer he would not identify, and those talks center on the store having visibility from Sandy Plains Road.
“We’re not under contract yet,” he said. “They do have a number of stores in the Atlanta market.
The 23-acre property is fronted on Sandy Plains by several outparcel standalone businesses.
That’s one reason Aaronson said in response to a citizen’s question that the proposed project isn’t more of a pure retail nature, like the new Sandy Plains MarketPlace a few miles away.
He also said one reason why the blighted current shopping center has stood there for years is because the current owners have been trying to sell it with retail in mind.
And in a time in which retail is experiencing decline, Aaronson added, “this seemed to be the only logical way to redevelop this property.”
The biggest change from the last site plan is a “reimagined” concept that stresses what’s being called “pedestrian interaction.”
Atlantic Residential, which is an Atlanta-based apartment developer, called in Lew Oliver, an architect who’s worked on town center projects in Marietta, Roswell and Woodstock. He’s also the town urbanist for Serenbe, in south Fulton, and the Vickery, a walkable community in north Atlanta.
The latest site plan (below) incorporates public feedback for more greenspace around an old family cemetery at the center of the property.
That will be preserved with new fencing, Aaronson said, as will trees in the vicinity. The cemetery issues also made it “impossible,” he said, to consider full-scale retail, since many family members of those buried there didn’t want their remains removed.
“The focus is to create community, promote pedestrianism and have this be a win-win for the developer and the community,” Oliver said during the call.
In order to add more greenspace there and in the residential areas of the project, 5-story buildings are being proposed for the apartments and the senior-living units. They initially were slated to be between two and four stories, with the first floor for retail and amenities.
Aaronson said the density hasn’t changed, and the architectural revisions call for flattening the roofs.
When a citizen asked if condominiums could be build instead of apartments, Aaronson said there isn’t the demand for them, especially in suburban areas of metro Atlanta.
“We’re trying to create a housing type that there’s demand for,” he said.
But questions of owner-occupancy have been raised frequently by nearby residents in a community that’s dominated by single-family neighborhoods.
Atlantic Residential has come down on the number of apartments, from 195 to 178. Another 122 senior “flats” are being proposed, as are 50 for-sale townhomes.
The apartment rents would range between $1,400 and $2,400 (between 700 and 1,100 square feet, respectively), and 75 percent of them would be studio or one-bedroom apartments; the rest would have two bedrooms.
The townhome cost range would be around $400,000 for units ranging between 2,000 and 2,800 square feet.
Traffic concerns also have been raised as the Sprayberry Crossing plans have taken shape.
On the call, Aaronson said Atlantic Residential commissioned a traffic study that showed a moderate increase in traffic, of about three seconds of additional traffic light wait times at peak periods.
The results of that study, which was conducted before traffic volumed dropped due to COVID-19 closures, are to be posted soon on the Sprayberry Crossing website.
Aaronson said he envisions the entertainment and food hall (upper left in the map) to be run by an independent operator, and that live music and performances would be a major part of the equation.
Atlantic Residential needs to get rezoning from the Cobb Board of Commissioners, and filing is expected to begin soon, with possible hearings and action in the fall.
A tentative timeline calls for planning and design completion finished by the spring and demolition of the current site by next summer. The first phase would be completed by 2023.
The Sprayberry Crossing Action Facebook group has more of a summary and links to Wednesday’s Zoom call and audience questions.
There’s also a Facebook group that’s formed that opposes apartments coming to Sprayberry Crossing.
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