[UPDATE: July 16, 9:52 a.m. Following an announcement earlier this week that North American Properties had acquired the Cobb County property in question, representatives send this clarification: "NAP is entering into a joint venture partnership with PGIM, the current owner of The Avenue East Cobb, to reposition the open-air retail community. As part owner, NAP will oversee leasing and management of the property. A sale did not take place, so it is inaccurate to say that NAP bought the property."] 

The developer behind Atlantic Station’s transformation and Colony Square’s ongoing redo is planning to give a well-known, 22-year-old shopping center in Cobb County an Avalon-style makeover.

North American Properties announced today they’ve purchased The Avenue East Cobb, a 230,000-square-foot retail district off Roswell Road in Marietta near the Fulton County line.

The lifestyle center was developed by Cousins Properties in 1999 as the first in a series of similar projects that offered an open-air alternative to traditional malls.

NAP officials say The Avenue remains a “high-performing asset” with several national brands, including Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Lululemon, and Sephora.

The Avenue's main entrance, as shown during the holidays in 2020. Google Maps

But the Cincinnati-based developer plans to reposition it with fresh retail and, most notably, the addition of a central event lawn. That space will be “surrounded by restaurants with vibrant patios that increase connectivity and engage the public realm,” according to an announcement today.

The goal is to create the "downtown" experience affluent East Cobb has always lacked, said Adam Schwegman, NAP partner and senior vice president of leasing.

“Our plan is to create a socially magnetic place that pulls people together to hang out and connect with community,” Schwegman said in a statement. “Utilizing best practices from our other projects, we’re excited to elevate this already great shopping and dining destination into a modern gathering place.”

An aerial of the Marietta shopping center developed in 1999 by Cousins Properties showing several of its existing brands, prior to recent demolition. Google Maps

NAP is best known in Atlanta for creating Avalon and applying a new sheen to once-sputtering Atlantic Station before selling it off. Like the former project, The Avenue East Cobb will see NAP’s “resort-level Concierge program” implemented, along with a diverse lineup of community events to draw people in.

Leasing will focus on “relevant retail” and “chef-driven dining concepts” with an emphasis on new patios, per NAP’s announcement.

The purchase price for The Avenue East Cobb wasn’t disclosed. But it continues a new value-add acquisition strategy for NAP that began in 2019 to revive existing communal hubs.

Beyond Colony Square, other NAP revival projects include Newport on the Levee in Newport, Kentucky and the Birkdale Village in Huntersville, North Carolina.   

Added Tim Perry, NAP’s managing partner: “[We] see an opportunity to elevate [The Avenue] into a true third place with a modern mix of retailers and restaurants.” 

Photos: Come along for a drone tour of Cobb County's tallest building (Urbanize Atlanta)