By Gerhard Schneibel

Heritage Sandy Springs recently moved from Hilderbrand Drive to the refurbished Suburban Tool and Supply building adjacent to Heritage Green. The new space gives the organization an opportunity to generate income by renting out meeting space in the roughly 4,500-square-foot upper floor.

The lower floor is the same size but has yet to be refurbished. One day it might house 3,000 square feet of open space and a catering kitchen to serve as many as 200 people.

The organization wants to raise $2 million and hopes to finish a veranda around the building and build a walkway to its old offices, which will be used as meeting and storage space.

Heritage Sandy Springs raises money by renting space for corporate events and weddings and through the Sandy Springs Festival. Increasing its capacity for rental income will help secure its finances, said D.J. DeLong, who managed the renovation project.

“We see rental income being an important balance for the Sandy Springs Festival,” he said. “We’d like to have those two as the major funding sources. When we finish the lower level, the rental income will help us be significantly down that road.”

Carol Thompson, the executive director of Heritage Sandy Springs, reported “good interest by lots of groups” in renting space.

“We want to really utilize the whole park,” she said of Heritage Green, the Williams-Payne House and the renovated building. “We had no idea this building that was a concrete block could be such a beautiful space.”

DeLong said: “We wanted to demonstrate to the citizens of Sandy Springs that we could put these facilities to a better use.”

City residents can see the renovated facility during an open house Feb. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. The ribbon cutting will be at 5.

Mayor Eva Galambos said: “Of course we think that the Heritage park, the green, is a fabulous, fabulous spot for a downtown park. They have some wonderful ideas and some wonderful plans, and I hope it all comes to fruition.”

The city helps maintain Heritage Green and spent hotel occupancy tax revenues on the Suburban Tool and Supply renovation.

Galambos said the downstairs renovation will be part of the city budget discussions in the spring. “Given the revenue projections, I’m not terribly optimistic about adding a lot of capital items. We think it’s a marvelous, marvelous addition to our central city, so we’ve tried to be as supportive as possible.”