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The Cost of Creating "Downtown" Sandy Springs

The ongoing trend of incorporation has resulted in a handful of new Georgia cities without any focus, perfectly illustrating Gertrude Stein's famous quote, "There is no there there." One municipality trying to dispel this notion of placelessness is Sandy Springs, which has been in the process of gathering input for a downtown master plan since earlier this year. A classic mix of retail, recreational, government, and cultural facilities is envisioned on the site (and then some) of an old Target occupying land the city already owns at the junction of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads.

Although known for their overall affluence, residents of the North Fulton city might balk at how much that source of civic pride will cost them. Should the city decide to follow the guidelines set forth by consulting firm Good Clancy, the price tag could range from $25M-$60M, which would reflect a price of no more than $1.5M per 25 to 40 acres. So far the city has put forth a poker face in regards to whether or not they want to spend that much for an insta-downtown, but the $1.16M/acre they paid for the Target site in 2008 leads one to believe it isn't out of the question. The bigger issue might be how they go about acquiring the land, as some nearby property owners don't want to budge and the city has expressed a distaste for eminent domain. Hopefully a Stockbridge-style showdown doesn't ensue.

·Sandy Springs: Report hints at cost for city's downtown [Reporter Newspapers]
·City Center site and Infrastructure Investment Criteria Presentation [City Center Master Plan]