Alpharetta plans to commission a study of retail needs and uses for its downtown west of the City Center site, but put off awarding a contract until a few details are ironed out.
Councilman Donald Mitchell, who owns a downtown Alpharetta business, said the business community on the west side of Main Street wants to be sure it gets treated just as fairly as any business locating in City Center. Mitchell wants to be sure that “we don’t have old town there and new town here.”
He told Ethan Milley of Jones Lang LaSalle that the firm needs to make sure the Downtown Retail and Use Analysis Study/Plan achieves that, rather than just drawing out something on paper that’s never put in use.
Milley’s company and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart/David M. Schwarz Architects were to be awarded a $98,500 (plus expenses) contract to complete different parts of the plan.
The scope of the plan geographically is everything in the downtown district west of City Hall and the rest of the City Center site.
In describing the scope of the study, Milley said the team will take a look at what may be needed in terms of parking and sidewalk access. He said it would also try to determine “what makes most sense in locating potential private development in the non-City Center parcels.”
A market assessment will be undertaken to determine what opportunities will be available for retail components of City Center.
“What the goal of this is to look at the area and how do we make sure the east and west side of Main Street are not in competition with each other,” Milley said. “A concern we want to make sure doesn’t happen [is] we don’t want the new City Center to be an overwhelming success at the expense of existing establishments downtown.”
Pedestrian and vehicular traffic needs to flow between the two parts of downtown, not away from each other.
Milley told Mitchell and the rest of council that plans would show potential or recommended uses for downtown parcels west of Main Street.
Mayor David Belle Isle said the city doesn’t expect to be a landlord in City Center. City Council may want to set aside revenue generated from sales of sites and other capital to help bring the other side of Main Street along, he said. They want to “make sure the other side of Main Street isn’t kind of left in the dust, so to speak.”
Councilman Michael Cross wanted to make sure the Buxton retail study of Alpharetta’s main corridors–North Point, Windward and downtown–would be used for the study, which might even reduce the costs of the new study.
Councilman Mike Kennedy asked if the Alpharetta Development Authority could be approached to help pay for this study, but Cross cautioned that the authority was contemplating a study suggested by the city’s Economic Development Plan that would rain its funds.
Cross said he also wanted an explanation of all the expenses listed in the study proposal before approving it, so City Council tabled the award until an explanation was detailed.