North American Properties and the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce tried to convince 140 local business leaders to contact Alpharetta elected officials to tell them to approve the Avalon development's zoning.
"I'm asking you for your support," said Brandon Beach, chamber president. "This chamber is fully behind Avalon and what you are doing," he told Mark Toro, head of North American Properties' Atlanta office.
Progress Partners, the economic development arm of the chamber, sponsored a breakfast at AdvancED this morning, March 21. Toro made a presentation on the mixed-use development before he and Beach asked for support.
Both Toro and Beach acknowledged Alphareta residents have a problem with apartments and the city has a policy limiting them to 15 percent of the residential devlopment in the city. But they characterized the rental units on floors above retail as something entirely different. Leases will be significantly higher on these units than the market in the community, Toro said, which eliminates concerns of crime and the "wrong element" moving in.
"It's a deal breaker. If they don't get it, they are not going to build it," Beach said.
The chamber leader said he wants something unique and transformative on the site that will draw attention.
"I don't want another Avenue, I don't want another Forum. I want something unique."
Answering questions from the audience, Toro addressed concerns that Avalon would pull retailers out of North Point Mall.
"Our entire leasing effort is two to three notches above what is in North Point Mall," he said.
Toro called the mall a great second tier retail center, but the types of stores Avalon will attract would more likely be in places such as Buckhead, or not even in the state yet.
Up to 50 percent of the retail space is spoken for, Toro said. The project will not be built on spec; 65-70 percent of the retail needs to be leased for it to be constructed, he said. The single family detached residential and townhomes will be built 10 units at a time to keep residential from being speculative as well.
Beach urged the business people to do three things:
- Post comments supporting Avalon on Alpharetta's Open City Hall forum;
- Contact City Council members offering support of the project by April 3;
- Attend and speak in favor of the project at the April 23 City Council meeting, when it is scheduled to be in a public hearing.
North American Properties has its own online and social media presence, all of which can be accessed through an Avalon website.
The Alpharetta Planning Commission put off making its recommendation, and plans a work session on Monday, March 26 to discuss the development. It's next regular meeting is April 3.