Photo: Photo courtesy of the Roswell Downtown Development Authority
Photo: Photo courtesy of the Roswell Downtown Development Authority

Actual Factual North Fulton: What’s going on with the Southern Skillet property?

Hi there! Today's column is part of a regular series I'm working on called "Actual Factual North Fulton."

Each week, I will dig and dive into those burning questions you might have about any and all random facts and head-scratchers happening around north Fulton County.

Don't worry, there's no such thing as a dumb question. (Just don't ask me anything weather-related. Leave that to Siri).

Feel free to send me your questions at the submission form below. Or drop me a line or two at 

The Southern Skillet in Roswell was once considered by locals as the go-to place for down-home country eating.

The Roswell staple opened its doors in 1980 at the Roswell Plaza Shopping Center on Alpharetta Street and remains a favorite memory among locals for its comfort cuisine and nostalgic renderings of Georgia's countryside.

However, a shifty economy caused Southern Skillet to close its doors for good in January 2011. The 4.3-acre shopping center has also been in decline over the years, with its tenants now reduced to a thrift store, a Mexican meat mart and a dollar store.

To revive business, Roswell’s Downtown Development Authority purchased the property in January for $4.8 million – courtesy of a $5 million loan from the city. The shopping center sits along Norcross Street and Ga. 9, a notable interchange within arm’s reach of downtown.

City officials agree the property is ripe for redevelopment, most likely some type of mixed-use development at the site.

Residents have said they want a grocery store, or some type of market similar to Atlanta's Krog Street and Ponce City markets. There have also been suggestions of some sort of mixture of retail, office and residential developments.

There have been some disagreements between the city council and development officials over the project. The council wants more oversight of the development process, but the authority isn’t comfortable with that group being involved in selecting developers for the project because of possible bias.

"City council already has authority to approve and deny any site plans,” said Dave Schmit, a development authority member. “We think it's a question of whether (city council) wants complete control of the process."

Councilmembers have agreed to a conditional use for the property with the following provisions:

  • Multi-acre family is not to exceed 30 units per acre.
  • The height may go up to 5 1/2 stories with the conditional use.
  • The site plan with the number of residential units must be approved by the mayor and city council.
  • The mayor and city council will continue to monitor the progress of the site but not have the ability to choose any developers.

The Roswell Development Authority is currently marketing the project and fielding proposals from developers. Downtown development officials will next meet with the city's Historic Preservation Commission to gather their input on intent statements, which is criteria that helps developers understand the city's vision for the property.

No deadline has been set by downtown development officials on when they will choose a developer for the project.

I, Geoffrey Cooper, am a reporter with the AJC. To submit “Actual Factual North Fulton” questions, contact me at or use the form below.


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