Construction begins on $85M Alpharetta City Center - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

Downtown Alpharetta:

Construction begins on $85M Alpharetta City Center

Development to feature office, residential, shops, restaurants

Ed Brown, center, president of DataScan, at the groundbreaking of Alpharetta’s City Center commercial phase. Brown and some 500 other DataScan associates will occupy a $13 million, four-story office building at the site.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – DataScan, a technology finance service company on Cabot Parkway in Forsyth County, announced Thursday it will be the sole tenant at the new four-story office building now under construction at Alpharetta’s City Center.

The announcement came as a crowd of around 100 attended the official groundbreaking of City Center’s $85 million commercial phase on South Main Street.

The 5-acre development lies just west of the new City Hall and will feature a mix of restaurants, shops and apartments.

“We can’t wait to get going now that everything is ready to kick off,” said Ed Brown, DataScan president.

The company has 150 local employees and about 500 associates nationwide. For the past 20 years DataScan has operated on Cabot Parkway, about three miles outside Alpharetta’s city limits.

Brown said the company values its employees and wants to provide them with amenities a mixed-used environment can offer —the restaurants, the shops and the sense of community.

“We believe our associates are our number one asset, and putting them in a center like this is really a way of helping (them),” he said. “We feel that being here in the City Center will make us even more connected,” said Brown.

Mayor David Belle Isle called the groundbreaking a monumental day for the city.

“I don’t think there’s been a bigger day – at least since I’ve been here – in our history than today,” he said.

The idea of creating a place residents can identify with, he said, will provide a connection that will build an affinity for the city.

“In order to connect to a place, you have to have a special place,” Belle Isle said.

City Center developers, Morris & Fellows, Mid City Real Estate Partners and South City Partners, have arranged more than $70 million in bond financing to help offset property taxes over the next 10 years.

Once completed, City Center will feature close to a dozen new restaurants, between 20-30 boutique shops and close to 200 aparment residences and homes.

The fine dining offerings will feature some of most noted names in the area, including:

the Highland Bakery, a Virginia-Highland landmark for more than two decades,

Lapeer, a seafood marketplace,

Holmes, an eclectic style family restaurant,

and a wine and beverage-centric restaurant from Vin 25.

Nearby, will be “The District,” streets of boutique shops operated by local entrepreneurs. Focus will be on organic and natural products and services ranging from a health spa, a raw juice shop to fashion clothing and accessories.

Spirit Lala, who operates several fashion accessory and handcrafted jewelry shops in metro Atlanta, is one merchant anxious to open shop.

“We’re excited to get started,” she said. “We’re going to enjoy the bigger space.”

Cheri Morris, president of Morris & Fellows, who heads the retail portion of the project, said that about half the 30 or so shops have already been optioned and talks are continuing with other operators.

Overall, Morris said, interest in City Center has been overwhelming.

“Unlike mainstream commercial developments, we’re building a downtown district,” she said. “Our goal is to fit seamlessly into the existing environment which was greatly built in the 19th century. “

Back then, she said, each building was built for a different purpose by a different owner at a different time.

So a city block was made up buildings that varied in design, size and materials.

“To achieve this historical pattern, the partners, with the help of the city, have totally broken the 21st Century development mold,” Morris said. “Whereas, normally, there would be four large buildings on this land, each with the same architectural style, when you look at this project, you will see 28 buildings from the outside, not four,” she said.

These buildings will incorporate the historical influences from past eras that would have influenced those early-day builders – Georgian, Italian and Victorian and Edwardian – the styles that would have been in fashion at the time they were built.

“This is a labor of love,” Morris said. “It’s not the easy task.”

John Long, director and principal at South City Partners which heads the residential portion of the project, said he was impressed at the turnout of more than 100 people at the groundbreaking.

Such numbers, he said, speak to how invested residents feel about the project.

“Knowing the responsibility we have as a developer to execute on a plan that the mayor laid down and the councilmembers who have been working on this for a long time, is really humbling,” Long said. “We take this responsibility very seriously. This is going to be an amazing project.”

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