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Updated May 26 @ 10:26AM

Plans announced for 22,000 s.f. restaurant megaplex

Old Varsity site on Haynes Bridge Rd. Alpharetta’s next ‘destination’


ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Developer George Banks hopes to one-up the old Varsity restaurant with his own vision of “cool” when he opens a 22,000 square-foot courtyard restaurant megaplex later this year just off Westside Parkway on Haynes Bridge Road.

Banks plans to develop the property at 11556 Rainwater Drive, the site of the Varsity which closed its doors in February 2016.

“We’re very excited about this project,” said Kathy Cook, Alpharetta Planning director, adding that it is good to have a property picked up so quickly after a closure.

“It’s located within a mixed-use community, so there’s a big opportunity for people to walk and eat,” Cook said. “It’s a neat concept.”

Banks was one of the people behind development of Atlanta’s Krog Street Market. The Inman Park market, housed in an old warehouse, features two dozen small restaurants and boutique shops and has become an in-town destination.

The Alpharetta project won’t be nearly as expansive. It will include five restaurants facing an interior courtyard with plenty of outdoor seating.

The plan was introduced to an enthusiastic Alpharetta Design Review Board Dec. 16.

Each restaurant would be self-sufficient and they would range in size from 4,000 square feet down to 1,000 square feet, Banks said.

Each eatery would have inside seating for 50 to 80 people in case of inclement weather.

Customers would enter through the courtyard and be faced with five dining options. The patio would be cooled with fans and misters during the summer. A fireplace and fire pit would take the chill off the cooler months.

The façade facing Westside Parkway would be of painted blocks, eventually covered in vines, Banks said.

“The intent is to kind of create this idea that the passerby says, 'I gotta find out what's going on inside that space, it's so green and mysterious and unusual looking,'" Banks told the board.

Banks said he hopes to close on the property sometime later in January. He said the tenants will be announced later.

“We’ll be closing on the land in about a month and hopefully starting construction shortly thereafter,” Banks said this week. “We think it’s a good concept, and a good location in Alpharetta.”

Construction is expected to take up to 10 months. The project is being designed by architecture firm Strada LLC of Pittsburgh.

“We’re very excited about it,” Banks said, “and our tenants are excited as well.”

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