Mark Toro, known at times to count his eggs before they've hatched and one of the least modest developers in town, seems to be keeping a few recent signings close to the vest.
Avalon, currently under construction off Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta, is scheduled to open next October, and will encompass 86 acres and feature restaurant, retail, residential and office space.
According to multiple sources close to the project, Lacoste, Burberry, Kate Spade , Tiffany & Co. and Michael Kors are all opening at Avalon's Phase 2, slated for completion spring 2016.
In the case of Kate Spade, Burberry and Tiffany, an Avalon outpost for each will be only their second in the market, with Spade and Burberry at Lenox Square and Tiffany at Phipps.
Homewood Suites by Hilton is also reportedly planning a hotel on the property in conjunction with the planned convention center. Stormont Hospitality Group has been named as the hotel's developer with the hope that both properties would be open spring 2016. Homewood Suites is not a full-service hotel as had been promised by North American, so there may, in fact, be two hotels in the works.
There is no doubt that Toro and friends have assembled a serious roster of restaurants, retailers and amenities, but comparing Avalon to the likes of The Grove in Los Angeles and The Domain in Austin is a stretch. North Fulton county is a completely different environment than either Los Angeles or Austin. In addition, as I've visited both The Domain and The Grove, both have anchor department stores, a key component Avalon lacks. In the case of The Domain, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Dillard's each have stores at the project, and The Grove has a Nordstrom and the added coolness of an onsite Farmer's Market.
Below is a list of tenants reportedly committed to the project as of last week:
Whole Foods Market, Regal Cinemas, Orvis, Anthropologie, Paper Source, Athleta, Banana Republic, Everything But Water, lululemon athetica, Ted's Montana Grill, a Ford Fry concept, Destination Maternity, C. Wonder, Marlow's Tavern, Gymboree, Flywheel, Free People, Dry Bar, Kona Grill, Luxury Nails, Pinkberry, Fab'rik, Janie & Jack, Van Michael, Aveda Salon, Arhaus, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, PNC Bank, Bocado Burger Bar, Francesca's, L'Occitane, Bantam + Biddy, Cru Food & Wine, Tommy Bahama, Kinnucan's, Antico Pizza Napoletana, Exhale Spa, Vineyard Vines, West Elm, Marmi, Gap, Sage, Oak Steakhouse, Kendra Scott, Pottery Barn Kids, Fuzziwig's Candy Factory, American Threads, The Cosmetic Market and Giovanni DiPalma's Caffe Gio.
North American is reportedly in "final lease negotiations" with Crate & Barrel for Phase 1 and Lilly Pulitzer for Phase 2.
Among the more notable openings restaurant-wise, are Kona Grill, CRU Food & Wine Bar and Oak Steakhouse, all of which are firsts in Atlanta market.
Missing from this new list are Yard House and YEAH! Burger, both previously announced as confirmed, but seemingly no longer involved in the project.
With both Gap and Banana Republic opening in Avalon, their existing stores in North Point Mall are sure to close. Interestingly, when the project was known as Prospect Park and being developed by Stan Thomas, local government insisted that their be no "poaching" by Prospect Park of existing tenants of North Point. When Toro was presented with this stipulation, he threatened not to develop and local authorities caved. Many see the removal of this clause as the first government-supplied nail in the coffin of North Point.
In terms of office space, I've heard no "sexy" or "exciting" names coming to Avalon. According to a release, Wakefield Beasley and Associates, Integrated Care Management and Dental Town have all committed to the project.
OliverMcMillan, on the other hand, has already announced that Atlanta-based Spanx will relocate their headquarters to its Buckhead Atlanta project, and Jamestown recently inked Atlanta-based MailChimp to 100,000 square feet of office space at Ponce City Market.
There is no doubt that a housing recovery is underway, but Toro's claim that there is a 1000+ person waiting list for one of Avalon's 100 or so single family homes is hard to believe.
Are you a neighbor worried about the incentives being provided for the sake of economic development?
Are you a local concerned about added traffic congestion?
Do you fear the popularity of the "new" Avalon project will lead to "old" North Point becoming the next Gwinnett Place or Northlake Mall?
Please weigh in below.