Plans may finally be coming together in Alpharetta for a 62-acre tech village that could now include one or two Fortune 500 companies. The site is attractive to large employers because of its proposed sense of place, mixed-use concept and because it ties into the proposed Alpha Loop.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the large site sits at the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Ga. 400 and has been proposed as a tech village concept since at least 2016. The developer, Atlanta-based TPA Group, claims to be in late-stage negotiations with a company that would take up about 110,000 square feet, and is in early discussions with another company it says is valued at over $40 billion. While no names have been mentioned by the developer, the article said payroll giant ADP, which has several offices in Alpharetta, and Colonial Pipeline, which is currently headquartered in Roswell, are both looking for new locations.
To accommodate the increase in office space, the company scaled back the project’s townhomes from 141 to 63, and the number of apartments from 276 to 255. The project would also include a 4-acre park along with retail and restaurants.
The site sits one exit south of Avalon and just over a mile from Alpharetta’s downtown City Center, which just won an Excellence in Town Center Development from the Urban Land Institute’s Atlanta district. With the addition of Avalon and City Center, the area has changed dramatically over the last five years as TPA has conceptualized their site. With the rollout of the proposed Alpha Loop, a multi-use trail encircling the downtown area to connect the different nodes of the city, developers have been able to better market their properties to companies whose employees would find being on the loop attractive.
Since the enormous success demonstrated along the Beltline in Atlanta, communities across the metro area have designed their own conceptual multi-use trail systems. Just south of Alpharetta, Roswell has the Roswell Loop. Building such a project is expensive, and few cities have been able to raise the funds to build it, instead building it in small sections as they make improvements to intersections and roadways.
To get a look at Roswell’s loop, drive through the new roundabout built at Chaffin Road and Hardscrabble. A small section was built there. Roswell’s loop would also continue across the new redesigned Big Creek Parkway, which would include a second bridge crossing Ga. 400 just north of Holcomb Bridge Road.
Employers, and thus big developers and planners, are drawn to areas with strong amenities. Gone are the days where all you need are 20 acres for an office park. To draw in quality projects, or quality redevelopment, cities are having to better brand different character areas to accentuate the style that makes those areas unique. It isn’t so much about logistics and drive-time anymore, employers want style and a sense of place.
Years ago, TPA branded their development as a tech village. That has been the theme planners worked with as they designed layout of the project and architectural style. And that theme isn’t out of left-field either. Alpharetta has been calling itself the Technology City of the South for a while now, and for a city that has more tech companies in it than Austin, Texas, it really isn’t much of a stretch to say that.
There is no timeline yet for the project, but TPA filed plans with Alpharetta asking them to expedite their review of the revised master plan in an effort to get their possible new tenant in the new space by 2021.
Geoff Smith is a mortgage banker with Assurance Financial focusing on residential home loans for refinances and home purchases.
*The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of Assurance Financial Group