Visitors to the Avalon development will get to lace on their skates and hit the ice from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, Mark Toro told business and community leaders at this week's Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Enterprise Breakfast.
"We will build a skating rink outside. We expect to see 40,000 skaters," said Toro, a partner in North American Properties, owner of the development.
He expects a lot of energy to be generated by the 10,000 college students expected to attend Gwinnett Tech's North Fulton campus, planned on a site just across Old Milton Parkway from Avalon.
He said the company has applied for a land disturbance permit, and expects to begin construction in the first quarter of 2013. Avalon's opening is planned for April 2014.
His talk at the Eggs & Enterprise breakfast came six months to the day since Alpharetta City Council approved the mixed-use development.
"Retail is what everyone wants to hear about," Toro said. "We announced 22 tenants about two weeks ago. We are about 50 percent committed."
He said leases for 37-38 percent of the space have been executed, with another 25 percent at some level of negotiations. North American Properties has set the bar at 80 percent leased before construction will begin.
"We will not speculate Avalon," Toro said.
Stakeholders who were surveyed as the project developed – including many of the people at the breakfast being held at the Country Club of the South – told the developer they wanted a more cosmopolitan dining experience. Toro said they are talking with people such as Ford Fry, whom he called a master of the art. Esquire magazine apparently agrees, naming his restaurant The Optimist "Restaurant of the Year." Little Alley Steak, a group formed on Canton Street in Roswell, Cru Wine Bar, Marlow's, Ted's Montana Grill and Yeah! Burger are among the restaurant groups that are in Avalon's plans.
The developer plans a connection to the Big Creek Greenway. They also are in talks with Farmer D of Farmer D Organics to figure out how to carve out space for an organic garden on the site. Fifth Group Restaurant's Steve Simons told Toro if he had a garden on site he could build a restaurant that serves from the garden to the customer's plate.
The site will promote walkability.
"It will create an urban environment in a suburban community, and create an opportunity for people to literally live, work and play," Toro said.
Technology will be everywhere, whether it is Wi-Fi or a special app to help locate your car in a parking lot or deck.