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Can New City Center Put the 'Park' in 'Parking Lot'?

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Not much beyond demolition has occurred so far, but as plans for the new Sandy Springs City Center begin to take shape, the project has been recognized as a finalist by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in their "2015 Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards" land category. The new home for Sandy Springs government, long located in an office park on Roswell Road at Morgan Falls, will include city offices, a performing arts center, retail shops and restaurants, residential units, park space and parking lots. The intention, says Mayor Russell "Rusty" Paul, is to create centralized community space and spark redevelopment for a city known more for suburban sprawl. Even before the project rises, the plans seem to be working. But with the release of new drawings, the question has to be raised about defining progress in an area still dominated by cars.

Paul's vision for a dense, vibrant city center hinges on more than just the city's 14-acre development. Rather, the city-led initiative is spurring private developers to clean up land along Roswell Road. Where there once were midcentury shopping centers, new mixed-use projects are being proposed and constructed, greatly changing what the city considers "downtown" Sandy Springs.

A presentation was given last week to gain public input for the City Center project to move forward. The biggest takeaway from the 119 slides is that, while the city is attempting a sense of urbanness, they can't shake the essence of suburbia. A large portion of the development, as illustrated above, is devoted to parking lots.

UPDATE: Sandy Springs officials have pointed out that while there may be a lot of parking to support the development, the areas highlighted in grey on the plan above represent underground lots, slated to hold 800 cars.While not included on the grey-scale drawing, a representative from the City confirms that there will be a surface parking lot as shown on the color drawing south of Mt. Vernon Highway along the extension of Blue Stone Road to hold an additional 200 cars — as represented, it will replace existing structures, wooded land and a small business parking lot.

· Sandy Springs developing a city center [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· 'Nostalgic' City Centers are Becoming all the Rage OTP [Curbed Atlanta]
· Presentation - March 4, 2015 [Sandy Springs City Center]