A 9-acre shopping center at 7300 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs will hit the market for some type of redevelopment, according to its property manager. But first, the owners are dealing with a former dry cleaner’s chemical pollution, which the state worries may be entering nearby homes as vapor.

Part of the North Springs Center at 7300 Roswell Road. (Photo John Ruch)

North Springs Center is already mostly vacant, and anchor tenant Big Lots will close in mid-May, according to a manager. Some other remaining businesses said they have short-term leases and that there are rumors of redevelopment into apartments or condos.

“We do know it’s being sold as a redevelopment,” but no other details, said Don Goodman of Equitable Management Corporation, who manages North Springs Center for an ownership company called North Springs Associates.

According to property records, the center dates to 1969. It is zoned as a “Community Business District,” which includes townhomes among the many permitted uses, according to the city website.

Rich Arroll, the broker for the property, said he could not immediately comment at length beyond saying the center is not currently under contract to sell. Donna Maslia of Parian Properties, who is named in state records as a partner in the ownership company, did not return a phone call. Andrea Rimer, an environmental attorney for the owner, declined to comment. The city planning department has not received any redevelopment applications for the site, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

Rimer is involved because of North Springs Associates’ cleanup of the former Prestige Cleaners, a dry cleaner that operated in the center from 1996 until its eviction on Sept. 30, 2015, according to state records. The cleaner leaked toxic dry cleaning solvents, according to the state Environmental Protection Division.

The former Prestige Cleaners in the North Springs Center is fenced off for environmental cleanup of leaked chemical solvents, according to the state Environmental Protection Division. (Photo John Ruch)

“They have quite a bit of contamination in groundwater and also…in the soil,” said EPD’s David Brownlee.

The owner notified EPD of the contamination on Oct. 1, 2015, Brownlee said, and has been cleaning up the site, with the next report due June 30. The owner has removed a large amount of contaminated soil at the fenced-off Prestige storefront, and soon will do “chemical injections” into the ground to neutralize remaining solvent.

However, EPD on March 31 ordered further testing on whether the polluting chemicals could be entering nearby homes in the form of vapor.

“We had some concern about potential vapor intrusion for residents on the back side,” Brownlee said. “They’re up high on the hill, which is a good thing for them.” But data on that possibility is still being collected from test wells, so “we don’t have information” yet, he said.

Abbe Seitzman, president of the North Springs Homeowners Association, which includes those nearby homes, said there have been rumors and conversations circulating about the pollution concern, but no solid information. The neighborhood also has heard only rumors about possible sale or redevelopment of the center, she said.

Brownlee said EPD understands from the owner that the property will be redeveloped, but no other details.

“They haven’t told us how it’s going to be redeveloped. That’s one of the questions we had,” he said, adding that a residential use would require more thorough pollution cleanup.

“They want to clean up the property so it can be redeveloped or go as a brownfield for sale to some other developer,” Brownlee added. “That’s why they were aggressive about cleaning it up.”

He estimated the costs for the currently proposed cleanup at around $200,000.

John Ruch

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