Mayor Rusty Paul delivered his 2015 State of the City address on March 5.
Mayor Rusty Paul delivered his 2015 State of the City address on March 5.

Save the date.

“I expect we will celebrate New Year’s Eve in our new performing arts center in 2017,” Mayor Rusty Paul told a crowd gathered at the Westin on the morning of March 5.

He was referring to the construction timeline for the Sandy Springs’ planned City Center, which is slated to contain a performing arts center with at least 1,000 seats.

Paul was delivering his State of the City address following his first year in office. The event was hosted by the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.

“The plan is that we will have a groundbreaking sometime in the summer, begin full construction in September, then we will probably have a soft opening around Thanksgiving of 2017,” Paul said.

But beyond any opening celebrations, the City Center is planned to be the catalyst for redevelopment along Roswell Road during the next 15 years, he said.

“One of the great things about Sandy Springs is that we have all these marvelous neighborhoods,” Paul said, with the City Center as the connective tissue that gives the city a downtown and walkable area.

He said he was pleased with the turnout at an open house the previous night were some 200 residents showed up to give input on the future look of the City Center.

“It was an amazing event just to watch our community come together and vote,” he said, later adding, “it has unified the community in a significant way.

Paul also mentioned that high-profile companies like Mercedes-Benz and Veritiv are choosing Sandy Springs as the location for their corporate headquarters.

“Right now we have the hottest market in the Southeast when it comes to new growth, new business development and the ability to bring in new corporations,” Paul said, referring to companies like Mercedes-Benz and Veritiv moving into the city.

Paul said that MARTA’s presense in Sandy Springs and Perimiter was one reason these companies are attracted to the area.

“The reason that we’re getting the Mercedes and the Veritivs and the State Farms in this area is because we do have a true multimodal commuting option,” he said.

However, Paul called on local chambers and business groups to unify to continue attracting such companies.

“We need a unified business voice in this community,” he said. “One of the challenges we have is we’ve got a Dunwoody Chamber, we’ve got a Sandy Springs [Perimeter] chamber, we now have a Perimeter Business Association.”

He said the Mercedes deal served as an example as the company dealt with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Greater North Fulton Chamber, rather than those located in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, when it was negotiating its future move to the area.

“The state is not going to work with all these different voices,” he said. “I urge you as the business leaders of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody and the Perimter market, come together, give us one voice so it can be more effective.”