Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, City Manager John McDonough and members of the city council watch as the facade of the old Target building on Johnson Ferry Road falls.

City officials, media and spectators gathered on Johnson Ferry Road Jan. 6 to watch an old building fall.

As a light flurry of snow fell, Mayor Eva Galambos trumpeted the building’s destruction over a bullhorn, her words getting lost amid the sound of the wind and the rumbling of machinery behind her. The crowd of onlookers clapped and cheered. The Mayor and City Council counted down from 10 before a giant claw began ripping away chunks of the former Target building’s facade.

The demolition of the Target building on Johnson Ferry Road is the first visible sign of the city’s downtown revitalization project.

Galambos worked for decades to help Sandy Springs become a city, and didn’t like the development that housed the old Target site. It began as a Richway retail store. In the 80s, Target purchased many of the old stores and converted them. The city bought the old Target site in 2005 for $8 million after the company moved farther south to the Prado shopping center.

Galambos is leaving office after two terms.

After the demolition, everyone went back inside the nearby Fidelity Bank for coffee and hot cocoa. City Councilman John Paulson looked at the crumbling building through one of the windows. He said the Target site and the downtown project should be home to something iconic.

“I think this site should have a tower,” Paulson said, while adding he was speaking only for himself. “The Sandy Springs Tower.”

Mayor-elect Rusty Paul called the demolition “a new beginning.” He said the city’s downtown plans already have stirred interest from developers looking to locate on Roswell Road.

“This project will be the most important thing that happens in Sandy Springs over the next four years,” Paul said. “I’m gratified that Eva got it started. Now it’s my job to get it finished.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com