Friday, April 20, 2018

Local Firm Planning Significant Sandy Springs Redevelopment

Sandy Springs-based developer Heritage Capitol Partners is proposing a huge mixed-use development on Roswell and Pitts Roads in Sandy Springs.  The roughly 40 acre development would cover three existing properties: the Dunwoody Pointe apartments at 7901 Roswell; the Stockholders Place office complex at 8097 Roswell; and a wooded area home to a historic cemetery, which runs alongside the Addison apartments at 7889 Roswell.  The proposed new development, dubbed “Heritage on Roswell,” would include 600 apartments, 150 town-homes, about 50,000 square feet of retail & restaurant space and a 125,000 square foot "Community Kroger."
The general area of the redevelopment in red and the general location of the Power cemetery in yellow
Reporter Newspapers, who was first to report on the planned development, published a great piece Thursday in which they discussed the development with Taylor Morgan and Marie Power Frazier, both descendants of the Power family for whom Powers Ferry Road is named and whose forebears are buried in the cemetery.  The conceptual plan for the development shows most of the woodland being developed, while avoiding the cemetery, which dates back at least to the 1880s.  The Heritage Capitol website refers to the project as "18.34 acres [in] City of Sandy Springs" but Fulton County property records show the overall project encompassing nearly 40 acres, including the nearly 19 acre woodland and cemetery.  

According to Morgan and Frazier, Heritage Capitol is requesting the relocation of the cemetery as part of the redevelopment proposal.  “I don’t think it’s like a piece of furniture,” Taylor Morgan of Roswell told Reporter Newspapers.  He is a descendant of the Powers and another famous local family, the Morgans. He and other family members are organizing political opposition and calling for  preservation of the cemetery and the creation of a park with the woodland around it.  As it is currently situated, the cemetery is difficult to access and as a result, is not well maintained and has been vandalized repeatedly.  


Marie Power Frazier, another descendant who serves as the family contact for arranging burials in the cemetery, told Reporter Newspapers that a representative from the developer contacted her about two months ago with an offer of (in the thousands of dollars) in exchange for allowing the bodies to be exhumed and moved elsewhere.  “He said he would move them to a nice place and ya-di-da,” Frazier recalled. “I said, ‘It’s been there over a hundred years and I don’t want to move it.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you build a nice fence around it?’”

Although Kroger has not yet confirmed their involvement/interest in the project [any name can be put on a site plan], the potential new store would seem to serve as a replacement to the roughly 42,000 square foot store that the grocer closed last fall at Northridge shopping center.  The Kroger, which formerly anchored Northridge shopping center at the corner of Northridge Parkway and Roswell Road, was less than a mile north of the Heritage development site.  
The conceptual siteplan for "Heritage on Roswell" 
As we have previously reported, Kroger has significantly scaled back its expansion plans for its large format "Marketplace" stores which measure 113,000-125,000 square feet.  A number of planned Marketplace stores have either been delayed indefinitely or cancelled altogether.  One key component of any larger format Kroger store is a fuel center, which the Heritage site plan lacks.  Industry sources have previously told ToNeTo Atlanta that Kroger simply will not do any Marketplace stores that do not have space allocated for a fuel center.  Sources close to Kroger indicated to us last year that company executives had previously talked with the owners of Northridge shopping center about an expansion of their former store into a Marketplace store on site but the discussions reportedly never went very far.  That said, Kroger does seem to value the market and perhaps would entertain returning, but the absence of a fuel center leads us to question Kroger's involvement in this development.  


Heritage Capitol Partners, headed by CEO Albert Ashkouti, is "a family-owned real estate company with expertise in development, acquisitions, and management."  Heritage, which has reportedly been in business for over 50 years, has a number of other projects in its portfolio such as The Fields at Druid Hills, a new single family home development on North Druid Hills Road, and the Chipotle Mexican Grill at nearby Toco Hills Promenade.  

The conceptual site plan is undated and no plans or rezoning requests have been filed with the city.  Neuther Texas-based Westdale Asset Management, the owner of Dunwoody Pointe nor Buckhead-based Cornerstone Investment Partners, the owners of the office complex, responded to requests for comment by Reporter Newspapers.  The woodland and cemetery are listed in Fulton County property records as owned by "Tabas Two" a Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP) that shares its address with Heritage Capitol Partners in the Century Springs West office building on Hammond Drive near Lake Forrest Drive.  


Reporter Newspapers indicates that the proposed Sandy Springs redevelopment could put two major city planning efforts into conflict. 

"Morgan advocated for his preservation concept at an April 18 City Hall meeting for public input on a revised city parks master plan, where creating new green space is among the goals. But the city also has a new North End Revitalization Task Force looking at ways to spur redevelopment along that stretch of northern Roswell Road, and the conceptual plan meets many of the general ideas discussed so far."    

What are your thoughts on this proposed redevelopment?  Shouldn't the final resting place of anyone, remain the their final resting place?  Would you be pleased if a large format Kroger were to be built in the area?

Please share your thoughts below. 

UPDATE: Friday afternoon Reporter Newspapers posted an update to their earlier story  saying that Heritage claims to have never made an offer to relocate the cemetery and that they still hope to proceed with the redevelopment but that it will be smaller than originally planned and will not disrupt the cemetery.  

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