Alpharetta rejects $550M redevelopment plan for North Point Mall

A $550 million redevelopment plan for North Point Mall was rejected by Alpharetta City Council on Monday.

The proposed live-work-play project appeared to have support from residents, including many who were in attendance.

Developer Trademark Property Company was trying to remodel 83 of 100 acres of mall property and bring in new retail, restaurants, residential living and office space.

Councilmembers opposed to the project said they did not trust Trademark to carry out its design plans and feared the shopping center would become a wasteland with only a shuttered mall and an unwanted apartment complex left.

“I disagree with the structure of the deal,” Councilman John Hipes said. “The mall is in decline, but what about this project saves the mall?”

The City Council denied rezoning for the project 4-2.

Councilmen Bruce Will and Donald Mitchell voted to approve. Mayor Jim Glivin, Hipes and councilmembers Jason Binder, Doug DeRito and Dan Merkel were opposed.

The council did, however, unanimously approve a measure allowing Trademark to resubmit a redevelopment plan in six months.

Credit: Courtesy Trademark Property Company

Credit: Courtesy Trademark Property Company

Trademark CEO Terry Montesi had little comment when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked about future plans via email on Tuesday.

“We made our position very clear last night,” he said.

The mall is owned by New York Life, which turned to Trademark last year to lead the project.

In recent weeks, friction grew between Trademark and city officials over the number of apartment units to be built, as well as how the firm publicly described city officials expressing concern about transient renters who are drug dealers.

Binder said that comment was taken out of context.

“Nobody said that,” Councilman Binder said to Monetesi on the city’s view of renters. “What you say and how you act has been a little different over the past couple of months and I’m a little disappointed.

“I think all of us want to really make it work ... It’s really a lose-lose for all of Alpharetta.”

Trademark needed to build at least 875 apartment units for the project to be financially viable; a lower number would’ve resulted in the builder canceling the project even if approved by City Council, Montesi said before the vote.

Trademark’s plans were to demolish most of the interior mall space and renovate a small remaining portion that would include anchors Macy’s, Von Maur, Dillard’s and AMC Theaters. Outside the mall, the builder wanted to create a neighborhood village.

Montesi said the project’s multifamily and for-sale homes would attract employers and at least 900 jobs, all of which would feed into the mall and businesses surrounding it.

But the opposing councilmen said there was no guarantee that the mixed-use section of project would be built. The officials said they believed only the planned apartment units could be relied on.

“I’ve also been up here long enough to know that there’s certain things you can count on and there’s certain things you can’t,” Gilvin said.

Alpharetta has successful mixed-use development in Avalon and City Center, and more is coming, including a recently approved 52-acre project on Windward Parkway.

But during the Monday meeting, Gilvin pointed to a failed development in Roswell where different builders promised similar mixed-use on 18 acres of land, yet only large apartments were built.

“Drive down (to) Roswell. … You will see there’s this vast open pad of land … a few hundred yards in the back you will see these huge white apartment buildings.”

In addition to Councilmen Mitchell and Will, the project received support from numerous residents, local business owners and State Sen. Brandon Beach during public comment.

Mitchell told the audience that the city had a chance to “win the lottery.”

He added, “We need this tonight ... Our mall is in decline. ... If they can’t see the vision for North Point Mall and how important that is for our city, don’t vote (them into office) again.”