A vacant shopping center in East Cobb that a judge once declared a blighted property could soon see new life.
The Sprayberry Crossing shopping center at northeast corner of Sandy Plains and East Piedmont roads could be transformed into a mixed-use project of retail, office space and some residential components to the 15-acre parcel.
Richard Aaronson of Atlantic Realty Partners said his company hopes to redevelop the property, which formerly housed a bowling alley and grocery store. The strip center is now sparsely occupied by a church and a few other tenants.
Aaronson said the realty company has an agreement with the current property owners to buy the site. In the meantime, the developers have been meeting with local residents to get feedback on their preliminary plans. Aaronson said the initial proposal calls for ground-level retail space, office space and residential components to include apartments and townhouses.
“We’re in the planning phase of that process, and we hope to have a plan that will have enough thought in it that it contains input from community,” he said. County approval of the plans will be needed, but the developers want to wait for community consensus on the proposal before moving ahead.
East Cobb resident Joe Glancy said he met with Aaronson about a week ago and had positive thoughts about the initial plan.
“There will be individuals in the community who will be concerned about high density residential and those concerns are valid,” Glancy said.
Glancy and other residents, most of whom are members of the Sprayberry Crossing Action group on Facebook, have been pressuring the owners to address the dilapidated state of the property.
The shopping center came under scrutiny in 2018 when a Cobb County judge ruled that its owner must clean up the property or face a blight tax. It was the first property targeted under a June 2017 ordinance approved by the Cobb County Commission establishing the tax, which would apply a sevenfold increase to the owners’ property tax bill.
Tom Garland of NAI Brannen Goddard, the property manager for the shopping center, said the company supports plans to redevelop the site.
“We have and will continue to cooperate to help bring about a positive result for all parties,” he said.
In March, dozens of residents used social media to share photos of themselves in front of vacant storefronts. The campaign resulted in more than 100 photos of people, some of whom held signs decrying the conditions.
“It’s so blighted and a eyesore for our community,” Glancy said.
Aaronson said he won’t approach the county for any zoning-related changes until he can get the support from the community. Glancy said he and others have been encouraged by Atlantic Realty Partners’ work with the community.
“The community will have chance to ask questions, and so we’re encouraged about that,” Glancy said.