The City Springs project’s master lease was approved at an April 19 Sandy Springs City Council meeting that offered a few extra seats—theater seats, in fact.

The real, working theater seats of various styles were installed so that city officials can try them out and see what type they prefer for the future City Springs performing arts center. They’re among several interior design elements City Manager John McDonough has brought into City Hall for real-life testing as City Springs construction progresses, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

Sample theater seats installed in the Sandy Springs City Council chambers for officials to test as models for the future City Springs performing arts center. (Photo John Ruch)

The council was too busy doing things like approving the master lease to mention the theater seats during its meeting, but Kraun said officials already tried them out.

“I like the red one,” Mayor Rusty Paul said after the meeting, referring to a well-padded, high-backed model, while council member John Paulson diplomatically declined taking any seat-related stance.

City Springs is the massive, $220 million mixed-use project going up on Roswell Road at the intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road. A public-private partnership, it combines a new City Hall with housing, businesses, two theaters, parks and more.

The project requires a master lease and related agreements with the private partners, Carter & Associates and Selig Enterprises. Those are what the council approved, as did the Public Facilities Authority, which consists of the same officials briefly donning a different government hat.

The wide-ranging agreements include a 50-year extendable lease with a private-business rental rate of $11.38 per square foot for five years and going up after that. Retail visitors are guaranteed free parking for five years, after which time the private developers can charge for such parking after two hours.

The agreement includes a long list of businesses prohibited from City Springs, ranging from obvious (gambling parlors) to improbable (stockyards and funeral parlors). Gun stores, tattoo parlors, video game arcades and “adult businesses”—including shops selling Hollywood films rated NC-17—are among the uses on the City Springs blacklist.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.