The former Mellow Mushroom location in Sandy Springs was purchased by the city as part of the downtown project.

Many people assume that the shuttered Mellow Mushroom site at 6218 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs was the first store the company opened.

Actually it’s the second, but it opened in 1974, the same year the company opened its first store on Spring Street in Atlanta. There are now more than 100 Mellow Mushroom franchise stores around the country. The Sandy Springs location will be the scene of the company’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

“Definitely a lot of people view that as the original,” said Annica Kreider, Mellow Mushroom’s vice president of brand development. “It’s a neat little place. There’s history there. It is still decorated as a Mellow Mushroom.”

The company is well-known for its counter-culture motif, one that celebrates and pokes fun at the psychedelic aesthetic of the 60s and 70s.

The city of Sandy Springs recently bought the property for $400,000 to redevelop as part of its downtown revitalization project, an effort that will reshape the area of the city just north of I-285. As part of the agreement, the company will get to use the location through January 2014 for several events commemorating the company’s anniversary.

“They have ties to it,” City Attorney Wendell Willard said.

The company remained attached to the location even after a dispute with the building owner forced the restaurant to move further down Roswell Road. Kreider said the company purchased the property back from the owner.

“We had the feeling it was a little slice of our history that we would potentially not be able to get back,” Kreider said. “We felt [that] to the brand, it had a lot of historical value.”

Kreider said the official anniversary month is September. The company has several events planned to commemorate its 40th. She said two of the company’s founders – Mark “Banks” Weinstein and Nick Nicholson – are still affiliated with the company and will be on hand for the celebrations.

“We feel like to be 40 years in the restaurant industry is quite an accomplishment,” she said.

Kreider said the company is sort of bummed to see the building leveled and the site absorbed into the city’s downtown plans.

“I guess we would say it’s bittersweet for us to lose the building, but hopefully we can do enough to cement it into people’s minds that they remember the site,” she said.