By John Schaffner

During groundbreaking ceremonies July 17, Sandy Springs Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins proclaimed the Abernathy 400 mixed-use development at Ga. 400 and Abernathy Road the “gateway to Sandy Springs.”

Kris Miller, president of Ackerman & Co., went a step further proclaiming the $270 million office, retail, hotel and condominium development the “gateway to Perimeter Center and to Sandy Springs” to the 50 plus representatives of development partners, city and county officials and interested parties on hand.

Highlight of the event was when Jenkins climbed up on a large backhoe and used it to dig the first ceremonial dirt for the development.

Abernathy Development Partners, a venture of Ackerman & Co. and Russell New Urban Development, is developing 550,000 square feet of office space in two buildings, 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space and a 400-room hotel on the site.

At the same time, Atlanta-based Lane Co. is developing Serrano, a 150-unit Mediterranean-themed condominium community, with prices starting in the low $300,000 range, and 6,500 square feet of vertically integrated retail.

The first phase will involve the development of Serrano, with the second phase, to begin in 2008, encompassing the hotel, office and retail space.

Although Ackerman & Co. Chairman Charles Ackerman was unable to attend the event, Russell New Urban Development was represented by its President Jerome Russell and Russell & Company founder Herman J. Russell. Lane Co. President John Bell also attended and addressed those attending the morning ceremony.