The team behind Colony Square’s revival, Atlantic Station’s family-friendly turnaround, and Avalon’s ground-up creation from abandoned fields has set its sights on dated office buildings in an upscale suburb.
Toro Development Company, founded by former North American Properties executive Mark Toro, plans to redevelop a 43-acre office complex in Johns Creek into a “transformational mixed-use destination” as its debut project, officials announced this week.
Since breaking away from NAP, Toro says his company has spent the past year studying development sites around the Southeast and found “all the right pieces” at the intersection of Johns Creek Parkway and McGinnis Ferry Road. That's where two mid-rise office buildings (and acres of surface parking) were left behind when State Farm Insurance Co. uprooted to a new high-rise headquarters complex in Dunwoody.
TDC is buying 43 acres of the 54-acre property from a fund sponsored by U.S. Realty Advisors, the New York-based owner of the site since 2013 that’s been looking for a suitor for years. Toro predicts the Johns Creek project “isn’t going to be Avalon 2.0,” in that it will incorporate unique elements as part of a much larger town center vision in the Fulton County city.
For now, redevelopment plans are vague, as planning is in nascent stages.
Generally the vision calls for a walkable, mixed-use hub with chef-driven restaurants spilling onto sidewalks, residences over retail, greenspaces, and an event plaza for live music and entertainment, with a concierge program similar to what’s found at Avalon, the $1-billion Alpharetta upscale megaplex.
“Suburban office campuses are a dying breed,” said Toro, TDC’s principal and chief vision officer, in a media release. “We’ll transform this property by introducing a mix of uses that will buzz with energy, excitement, and connectivity. Johns Creek deserves a place to call its own, a Third Place where people come together to celebrate first dates, birthdays, marriage proposals and everyday moments.”
To that end, TDC officials say the project will complement Johns Creek’s recently passed, multi-phase Town Center Vision and Plan.
The former State Farm campus is part of that 192-acre plan, which calls for a blend of housing, retail, restaurants, and offices linked by public pathways and greenspace.
TDC officials plan to engage the Johns Creek community in coming months to gathering input on the type of experiences they’re looking for in the site’s redevelopment.
No outlook for a groundbreaking has been specified.
• OTP news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)