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This Proposed Roswell Mini-City could Rival Avalon

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Think of it as Avalon on the water. Or Avalon on a road bike. Or Avalon beneath a river birch, eating granola. One week after OTP rival Alpharetta cut the ribbons on its $600-million mega-project, a proposed Roswell mini-city called "Riverwalk Village" has bounded into the spotlight. In terms of size and cost, the Duke Land Group's "ecologically driven mixed-use development" could rival its cross-county competition; Riverwalk Village would be nearly 20 acres larger, and cost just $100 million less, than Avalon's first phase. It's being pitched for 104 acres where Ga. Highway 400 meets Holcomb Bridge Road — the side opposite Roswell's historic downtown village — where a failed $2 billion development called "Roswell East" was once envisioned, the AJC recalls. The project could distinguish itself from Avalon by signing Mother Nature as an anchor tenant. Officials say more than 40 percent of the land will be parks and public spaces, with a system of running, walking and biking trails linking to the Chattahoochee River. Retailers, restaurants and boardwalks would surround an existing lake.

Developers expect construction to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015, pending zoning and permits. The numbers are more than ambitious.

Plans call for roughly 1,500 residential units — single-family homes, multifamily dwellings and active-adult housing — and nearly as much retail as Avalon's 500,000 square feet. Closer to the highway, expect some 1.7 million square feet of office space (that would dwarf Avalon's 105,000 square feet), a 200-key hotel and space for the Swift School, which focuses on children with language-based learning issues.

That arbiter of all things Roswell development, New Urban Roswell, offers a few thoughts on this new gorilla in the backyard:

"I think it's ambitious but doable given that this is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in North Fulton. I'm unsure of the developer's background but I'm optimistic. My biggest concern is the vocal NIMBY force that will organize to once again defeat a project in that area." (A one-two punch of enraged NIMBYism and economic recession crippled the Roswell East plans).

One highlight, according to the blog, is that Riverwalk Village would replace an existing apartment community called Marquis Trace, which is "a big POS (that) significantly underutilizes the land."

· Developers revive plan for Roswell mini-city [AJC]
· Initial Thoughts on Riverwalk Village [New Urban Roswell]
· Roswell's Push For Park Nucleus Gets Visual, Dramatic [Curbed]