Tuesday, May 3, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] "Unique" New Dog Park Pitched at Awesome Alpharetta Address

A local businessman is pitching a new dog park, restaurant and bar at the site of a former drugstore near downtown Alpharetta.  Off leash, which promises an indoor and outdoor dog park as well as a full restaurant and bar, is looking to make use of the former Rite Aid (originally Eckerd) at 142 South Main Street at the corner of Highway 9 and Old Milton Parkway.  Lonnie Cooper Ventures is a seeking a Conditional Use Permit from the City of Alpharetta to operate the business with its request slated to be heard May 11.  

Photo courtesy of ToNeTo Atlanta reader Clifford Martin 

The roughly 11,000 square foot former Rite Aid opened in 1999 but has been closed since 2018.  Combined, the Rite Aid property and smaller undeveloped parcel to its rear, 125 Marietta Street, also part of the development, total about 2.25 acres and are zoned General Commercial (C-2) and located within the Downtown Overlay.

Off leash, according to materials supplied to the City of Alpharetta, seeks to renovate the existing former drugstore property into a blended indoor and outdoor space with approximately 5,000 square feet dedicated to the planned restaurant and about 6,000 square feet for the dog park(s).  The redevelopment would also include 0.59 of an acre of outdoor dog park area (125 Marietta Street) at the rear of the property.  

The business would operate on a membership model with monthly, month-to-month or annual options. (Day passes would also be an option for those wishing to check it out before committing to a membership.)  Patrons with a pup would pay a fee to enjoy the dog park(s) while those wishing only to enjoy a meal with their pup on the restaurant's patio would not incur a charge.  

Renderings show an indoor dog park as well as small and large dog outdoor parks.  Submitted materials refer to at least one of the parks as a "luxury dog park," but that may be meant to describe the project in total.  Materials go on to say "Vehicular access into and out of the Property will utilize existing curb cuts. Off Leash anticipates guests will walk from residential communities in the Downtown core. The sidewalks will provide pedestrian access to the dog park area."  

Lonnie Cooper Ventures, an entity controlled by local businessman Lonnie Cooper, is behind the proposal.  Cooper's other businesses include CSE, a sports and media talent representation company, yah (You Are Here), "an experience agency," and IfThen, a creative and digital agency.  

Interestingly, the proposal in support of the new businesses states: "Off Leash is a unique concept."  While re-purposing a  former drugstore for a dog park is unique, the business itself is not.

Stephen Ochs opened Fetch, a strongly similar concept, on Daniel Street in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward in June 2018 and in addition to several other new and upcoming locations, is expected to add an Alpharetta outpost, about one mile from where off leash wants to open.  Fetch Alpharetta, located at 11440 Maxwell Road next to Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, was first announced in 2019 and was to have opened in 2020.  The Alpharetta outpost would be similar to other Fetch locations with the addition of two beach volleyball courts.  The existing Atlanta and upcoming Alpharetta Fetch locations are in addition to Fetch in Columbus  and others coming soon to The Works on Atlanta's Upper Westside as well as those planned for Nashville and Colorado Springs, Colorado. According to the Fetch website, the company plans soon begin to offer franchises.  (A press release announcing the Alpharetta Fetch inadvertently plugs their would-be rival with its headline that reads in part  "FETCH PARK – THE TRAILBLAZING OFF-LEASH BARk CONCEPT COMING TO ALPHARETTA.")

For its part, the City of Alpharetta itself also operates a free community dog park: "Waggy World Paw Park," at 175 Roswell Street, which encompasses 1.5 acres and is managed by the City of Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Department.  Waggy World, although without the bells and whistles promised by off leash, is less than a half mile from the former Rite Aid site. 

Correction: We originally reported that the former Rite Aid was closed due to Walgreens purchasing the entire company.  Although that was originally their plan, the eventual buyout included this store and about two thousand others, but not the entire company. We apologize for any confusion and thank our eagle-eyed reader who noted the error.   

Are you excited at the prospect of as many as three dog parks in Alpharetta?  Do you think the area needs so many similar options?   What is your favorite dog breed?

Please share your thoughts below.  


BigRedDogATL said...

This city is going to the dogs.

Carl said...

Did they do any research to see how much doggy foot traffic is in the area? Did they go down the street to look at the Waggy park to see how busy it was? I would think you would want a place like this in the middle of a more residential area where there are lots of dogs...

Anonymous said...

Rite Aid, the company, was not sold to Walgreens. Rite Aid sold several thousand stores to Walgreens, including all in Georgia. But Rite Aid is still a company with thousands of stores across other states.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for updating your "journalism" to reflect my corrections about your errors in the reporting on Rite Aid but pretending it never happened by not posting my comment and making not mention of the change to the story.

Anonymous said...

This is a super busy intersection, getting busier with more construction happening along Highway 9 and nearby streets in downtown Alpharetta. With so many cars zipping through there, seems an odd place to bring dogs. I'd be afraid of a dog getting loose and running into traffic.

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