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Fuqua takes next step to redevelop Roswell shopping center

Council allows conditional use; 4 stories, Residents voice concerns about density



ROSWELL, Ga. — The shopping center at Alpharetta Highway and Sun Valley Drive could be getting a facelift.

The Roswell City Council voted May 8 to allow Fuqua Development conditional use for multi-family units and for additional height for their project, from three-and-a-half stories to four. The vote passed by a narrow margin, 4-2, with council members Lori Henry and Marcelo Zapata opposing.

The company is known for developing projects across metro Atlanta, including The Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park, Kennesaw Marketplace, Lindbergh Place and Peachtree Corners Market.

Fuqua’s proposed project in Roswell aims to redevelop what Jeff Fuqua calls the “old and stressed” Roswell Exchange Shopping Center, just north of Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Their plans currently call for a 115,000-square-foot mixed-use development with new grocery stores, retail and 300 apartments.

That area is the “heaviest commercial corridor” in Roswell, according to Bradford Townsend, director of planning and zoning.

Mayor Jere Wood supported the project, citing the mostly empty current shopping center.

“I think it will be good for Roswell,” Wood said. “We have to have projects like this if we are going to see redevelopment of Highway 9 corridor… Will it bring more traffic? Yes. But stopping development is not going to solve our traffic problem.”

Although the development is located in the same area as the proposed Phase II and III of the Sun Valley Extension projects, the developer is not relying on these transportation plans for the project’s success, Fuqua said.

The development company would also like to include office space in the plans, but there have been problems finding companies who want to sign on, Fuqua added.

Fuqua originally approached the council requesting building heights up to five stories, but that request was lowered to four stories after community concerns were heard. Additionally, the approval calls for 14 conditions.

They include:

• Not surpassing 300 residential units and 115,00 square feet of commercial use

• Dedicating 3,000 square feet of right-of-way to the Georgia Department of Transportation

• Considering analyzing and constructing a roundabout on Sun Valley Drive

• Constructing an eight-foot sidewalk along both Sun Valley Drive and Alpharetta Highway

• Mandatory inclusion of a swimming pool, internet café and fitness center as amenities

The development’s requests faced opposition. Nearly two dozen citizens living in the area, including residents of Hembree Springs Drive, stayed past midnight at the council meeting to protest the density the development would bring.

The residents were upset about the possible noise, nuisance and “towering” effects of the buildings, which would be on a hill overlooking Hembree Springs Drive.

Councilmembers Lori Henry and Mike Palermo echoed these concerns and suggested altering the granted height to four stories instead of five. Henry added that the project could be developed outward instead of upward.

Fuqua accepted the four-story limit and agreed as one of the conditions that any grocery stores would be moved closer to Alpharetta Highway to minimize noise.

The designs shown at the council meeting for the development are still conceptual, and Fuqua said that the recently granted conditional use was a determining factor in the plans.

The development must still go through a Design Review Board hearing, which might change the look of the final rendering, said Julie Brechbill, Roswell Community Relations manager. The board will approve the final design plans.

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