After several years of vague redevelopment talks, specific plans were unveiled in March for transforming Alpharetta’s North Point Mall from a dated, drive-to shopping hub into the next buzzy live-work-play district in the northern suburbs, like an adaptive-reuse cousin to Avalon and Halcyon.
But indications are that Trademark Property Company’s redevelopment goals might not go as smoothly as planned, at least not in the short term.
Alpharetta’s Planning Commission on Thursday asked for modifications to Trademark’s $500-million development plans instead of green-lighting them and forwarding a recommendation to city council, causing a long meeting to become tense at times, as the AJC reports.
The commission deferred its vote to a meeting in early August and asked Trademark to return with changes to its plans for remaking 83 acres of the property. Specifically, commissioners asked to see a grocery store included in the mix, 5,000 square feet of conference space in a planned hotel, and in the short term, more for-sale homes instead of apartments.
Commissioners pointed to Avalon as an example, where Hotel Avalon operates a large conference space and Whole Foods provides grocery options.
Weston Graves, Trademark’s vice president of portfolio development design and construction, told commissioners the first phase is planned to see 320 apartments with a village-style setting of retail and restaurant space around an event plaza with greenspace. Trademark hopes to open that in time for the Christmas shopping season in 2025, according to the newspaper. (Eventually, the project is expected to produce 900 rentals across three phases and 36 for-sale townhomes, mostly built upon land that serves as surface parking today.)
Graves told commissioners their requests didn’t jibe with Trademark’s vision for the mall property, in that residents are expected to be young adults more eager to rent than own. Grocery stores, he added, want an established residential population before entering a market, as hotels like to see how occupancy is panning out before incorporating big conference spaces, as the newspaper reported.
Another commission request was for Trademark to provide a better sense of what the “emotional experience” would be for visitors to the reimagined property. They also asked for an estimated timeline for when the full redevelopment might deliver. (Trademark has said building the project could take a decade.) Karen Richard, a commission member, called the quality of recent Alpharetta growth “phenomenal” and said North Point’s redo should be on par with that, though she acknowledged the mall property development is the most complex to date, per the AJC.
The 1.3-million-square-foot North Point property was one of America’s largest malls when it opened in 1993 and considered a dominant “super-regional” shopping center for a generation.
Trademark officials in March revealed plans illustrating how the property—rebranded “North Point”—would radically change in hopes of reinvigorating it and Alpharetta’s surrounding shopping corridor east of Ga. Highway 400.
Plans call for demolishing a large portion of the mall—464,000 square feet—and opening renovated interiors and facades that remain into a “verdant public realm.”
Much of today’s surface parking would be scrapped for new buildings (including a standalone, 120,000-square-foot office building), greenspaces, streets, and links to trails such as the AlphaLoop, with a goal of enhancing walkability and bringing energy all day and night, officials have said. Alongside an upscale hotel, about 316,000 square feet of new retail, creative office, and restaurant space is planned.
The green centerpiece concept is described as one of North Fulton County’s largest outdoor gathering areas, featuring a 10,500-square-foot plaza that could host more than 2,500 concertgoers. Other elements would include gardens and paths, interactive water features, and soft seating, as Trademark detailed earlier this year.
North Point is hardly a shell of itself like Gwinnett Place Mall, South DeKalb Mall, and so many others around the metro, but the property has seen better days. Anchors around the two-level mall today include Von Maur department store, Macy’s, JCPenny, AMC Theatre, and the Dino Safari experience, alongside more than 120 other retailers.
Financial difficulties in recent years prompted owner Brookfield Property to transfer its deed to New York Life, the lender.
The mall’s ownership hired Texas-based Trademark in early 2021 to lead redevelopment of more than 80 acres of the property, located off Ga. Highway 400 and Encore Parkway. The overarching goal is to change the function and feel of the quintessentially suburban 1990s relic—to better keep pace with mixed-use juggernauts Avalon and Halcyon, both also located in Alpharetta. (Although Graves, the Trademark official, told commissioners last week the mall property will be unique enough to not technically be a competitor to either of those projects.)
Trademark’s experience in open-air mall conversions earned the company the Alpharetta job. Past projects in a similar vein include Victory Park in Dallas, Zona Rosa in Kansas City, and elsewhere in Texas, Market Street Woodlands in The Woodlands, and Watters Creek in Allen.
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