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Alpharetta’s ‘Beltline’ plans are latest example of Atlanta envy

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For ‘burbs, upswinging intown is a wellspring of ideas

A rendering for a Beltline-style trail in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Hypothetical Alpha Loop green spaces.
City of Alpharetta/AJC

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Alpharetta is making a habit of kissing Atlanta’s hindquarters these days.

First the growing, well-to-do North Fulton County city welcomed Avalon, which trumpeted walkability and lured intown all stars such as Ford Fry, Giovanni di Palma, and Hop City to help echo Atlanta’s urbanity.

Then, in December, Alpharetta’s Design Review Board approved a food-hall concept that developers envision as a suburban cousin to Krog Street Market, with a moat of surface parking.

Now, A-town North wants its own version of Atlanta’s multi-use crown jewel, the Beltline.

The Alpharetta City Council has approved plans for a multi-use network of trails called “The Alpha Loop” that would link some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Big Creek Greenway, Avalon, and the planned food hall, which would be built around the husk of a former Varsity outpost.

According to the AJC, this Beltline relative would actually be two loops—a three-mile inner circle, and a five-mile larger one forming a perimeter. Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said the full loops could take years to fund and build.

However, certain sections (like one connecting Avalon with the city’s traditional downtown) could open as early as this year. Elsewhere, developers have begun building sections of The Alpha Loop into ongoing private projects, the newspaper reported.

In what’s either a funny coincidence or Freudian slip, the Alpha Loop bears an uncanny resemblance to the boundaries of the Old Fourth Ward.

This diagram shows the loop’s inner circle cutting directly through Avalon.
Image: Twitter/@MarkToro
Old Fourth Ward Business Association

Alpharetta isn’t alone in its envy of Atlanta amenities.

Last year, Snellville leaders announced ambitions for their own Krog Street Market-inspired concept, hoping to capitalize on a commercial upswing near the Gwinnett County city’s core.

Elsewhere in the metro, Fayetteville leaders are looking to borrow from the Beltline template to connect and enhance the city’s walking paths—and possibly reinvigorate the area around Old Courthouse Square.

The Alpharetta food hall concept is being brought by the former vice president of Krog Street Market’s creator, Paces Properties, so its KSM-ness is probably a sure bet, to an extent.

Early renderings for Alpharetta’s KSM-style food hall concept.
City of Alpharetta/AJC


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