Fourteen acres. Three hundred apartments. A thousand-plus seats in a performing arts center.
Those are some of the numbers floated around as plans for Sandy Springs’ City Center begin to take shape.
But what will it all look like?
City officials and planners say final sketches will be made public for the mixed-use development once they assess resident input on the appearance of the future civic center, performing arts center and residential units located at the intersection of Roswell, Mount Vernon and Johnson Ferry roads. City spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said that at least 700 residents had responded to an online survey about the look of the project.
“We do feel like the character of [the residential units] is going to be somewhat more contemporary,” said Greg Blaylock of Carter/Selig, which is developing the private portion of the complex. “This is a new civic center and we’re in the 21st Century, so we feel driven by that.”
He spoke at a recent event at City Hall where residents were invited to give feedback on the potential look of the development after hearing a presentation from the site’s developers and architects. Planners showed examples of mostly glass facades, brick facades and a combination of both.
Mayor Rusty Paul said that ground will be broken on the site this summer, with a soft opening in November 2017, and plans to “be in the new facility” New Year’s Eve of 2017.
Resident Helen Tapp said she was thankful the city asked for citizen input. “I think it’s great that people have a chance to weigh in on the options,” she said, adding, “I’m really excited about the greenspace.”
During the March 4 meeting at City Hall, George Bushey of Rosser, the lead architect for the civic and performing art centers, went over some components of the projects, including a smaller studio theater that will double as City Council chambers, upscale features in the performing arts center, and a five-story government building.
Bushey said that while the performing arts center will contain at least 1,050 seats, it will be capable of a more intimate feel. “The lower orchestra level is about 500 seats,” he said. “This is important because your community groups didn’t want the house to feel too big. You can bring the lights down on the upper levels and have an intimate [feel].”
John Fish of jB+a, the site’s landscape architect, talked about the center’s greenspace, which planners see as a major component of the development.
The space will accommodate festivals and fairs, with a lawn area that can hold 1,000 people, and a shaded area will allow citizens to sit while watching some of the events. Residents will be able to access a “triangle park” across Roswell Road from the main development from all sides, while a market square will be lined with restaurants and shops.
“The sooner they build something the better,” said resident Pat Levy, who said she was jealous of cities that have central places to gather. “I think it’s going to be grand.”