Developers would pave over this pond to build a large new retail center in Dunwoody, if the plan if approved.

New Perimeter Center retail area would pave over pond, build new road

A heavily trafficked property near Dunwoody’s Perimeter Center could be getting a major face-lift, with developers hoping to pave over a pond, build a new street and birth a vibrant shopping complex.

Off busy Ashford Dunwoody Road, less than a mile north of Perimeter Mall, developers at Branch Ashwood Associates aim to launch “Perimeter Marketplace,” which would consist of a grocery store, bank, Race Trac gas station and several restaurants. The Dunwoody City Council discussed the plan Monday night and could vote on whether to approve it next month.

The 10.1-acre plot is currently made up of three large restaurant buildings, which were constructed in the 1990s, and a stormwater detention pond between Ashwood Parkway and Meadow Lane Road. Only one of the restaurants, P.F. Chang’s, is currently occupied. Brio Tuscan Grille and McCormick and Schmick’s both closed within the last two years.

This site map shows how the developers envision the prospective shopping center. (Photo: Branch Properties, via city of Dunwoody)

“It’s tired now, tired-looking,” said Mary Keesee, who lives in the Walton Ashwood Apartments down the street from the property. The proposal for the new shopping center “cleans it up,” she said.

The developers, a division of Atlanta-based Branch Properties, got approval from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to fill in the pond and pave over it, according to a report from the city. Councilman Terry Nall said the stormwater pond is “fairly toxic,” but Keesee said it’s a popular hangout spot for geese.

“It’s pretty, but its not necessarily something you want to be fishing in,” Nall said.

Keesee said several of her neighbors are concerned about the loss of the pond, but she noted there is another small body of water nearby.

If the plan is approved, Branch will spend about $5 million to construct a new public road between Ashwood Parkway and Meadow Lane Road, which could serve as a helpful cut-through for residents in the multiple apartment buildings nearby.

Only two of the three restaurant buildings on the property, shown in this drone photograph, are currently occupied. (Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)

“One thing to keep in mind is that we’re putting a generational road through this site,” Branch Senior Vice President Jack Haylett told the City Council, later adding that “it may not be green space, but it is desperately needed in that area.”

Perimeter Marketplace would be anchored by a 25,000-square-foot grocery store, though developers said they cannot yet reveal which one. The name of the bank and other shops and restaurants have also not yet been announced. The existing restaurant buildings would be demolished.

Some of the businesses would be adjacent to the Ashford Dunwoody Commuter Trail, a pedestrian path along the busy road that aims to connect Hammond Drive with Mount Vernon Road. City officials hope to begin construction next year. Branch said it would fund the stretch of the path that runs next to Perimeter Marketplace.

The “King and Queen” towers are visible in the distance, near the Perimeter Center area. (Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)

At the entrance to the property — at the corner of Ashford Dunwoody and Meadow Lane — the developers envision a welcoming entryway with a patio and seating space.

The Dunwoody Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the plan last month, with several technical zoning conditions. If approved in June, construction would start later this year or early next year.

This rendering provides a look at how the corner on Ashford Dunwoody Road could change. (Photo: Branch Properties, via city of Dunwoody)

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.