Alpharetta OKs huge mixed-use North Point project set to rival Avalon

Credit: City of Alpharetta

Credit: City of Alpharetta

Alpharetta City Council voted Monday night to forever change the North Point Mall.

Council members approved rezoning 83 acres and allowing a 24,000-square-foot freestanding development with apartments and retail on the site of what used to be the Sears.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Councilman John Hipes.

The mall, like many around the country, has been struggling to keep up with changing consumer tastes for experiences over Orange Julius and how internet sales have ravaged retailers with rent.

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“It’s a plague in Atlanta,” Kathy Zickert, a partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, told the Council. She was representing owner Brookfield Properties, which she said owns 140 malls.

Like in the planning commission meeting earlier this month, Zickert mentioned how mall developer Simon, which owns Buckhead's Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square, has spent hundreds of millions bolstering their Atlanta flagship malls.

Credit: City of Alpharetta

Credit: City of Alpharetta

At Phipps, Simon added a Legoland Discovery Center, apartments and new restaurants. The mall giant recently launched a project to convert the former Belk store into and a $200 million-plus expansion involving a Nobu Hotel and flagship restaurant, office tower and a fitness center.

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A metro Atlanta success story of this new-age shopping experience is nearby Avalon.

The glitzy mix of restaurants, housing and retail draws the affluent crowd along Ga. 400.

Credit: City of Alpharetta

Credit: City of Alpharetta

Apple, Pottery Barn and other high-profile tenants left North Point in favor of the open-air Avalon, which also features Brooks Brothers, Crate & Barrel and a bevy of hot restaurants, a high-end cinema, office buildings and a luxury hotel.

The North Point project has been in the works for months, with the city asking the developers for many revisions.

“We don’t want just another development in Alpharetta, we consider this a community that deserves better,” Mayor Jim Gilvin said Monday.

The housing at North Point will have 175 one-bedroom apartments between 700 and 900 square feet starting at $1,400 a month and 125 two-bedroom units ranging from 1,050 to 1,250 square feet for a monthly cost of $1,900.

Developers are also changing the inside of the mall by expanding the playground from the current play area just under 2,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet with separate, age-appropriate play spaces.

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There will be outdoor green space open to the public and an eye-popping amount of amenities.

Expect revitalized retention pond overlooks like in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward park, pocket parks, a play fountain like Centennial Olympic Park, multi-use trail, “linear parks system,” Spanish steps, the flashing HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon) crosswalks, rock climbing wall and bocce courts.

“If you do it right, it’s going to be special,” Gilvin said.

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Speaking of changing tastes...