A year-old legal battle over developer Hines’ massive Northpark plan is heading to court again May 11. Meanwhile, city officials are looking into dedicated access to the site from Ga. 400 on the assumption some form of large development will eventually happen.

The Northpark site, a wooded area bounded by Ga. 400, Mount Vernon Highway and Abernathy and Peachtree-Dunwoody Roads, in an image from city of Sandy Springs zoning documents.

Hines’ Northpark plan is for a 14-acre wooded site at the southeast corner of the Ga. 400/Abernathy Road interchange. Based on a 1987 zoning plan, Hines wants to build a roughly 25-story office tower and a 600-room hotel up to 8 stories tall, along with a “village” of mixed uses. But city development staff said the zoning plan the project application hinges on is no longer valid and rezoning is required. Hines took the city to court over the ruling last year and lost, but an appeals court will review the case in May, according to Hines attorney Doug Dillard.

At the annual City Council retreat in January, City Manager John McDonough said his staff is talking with the Georgia Department of Transportation about building a Ga. 400 ramp into the site to prepare for its future traffic. GDOT spokesperson Jill Goldberg said that cannot be added to the massive I-285/Ga. 400 reconstruction project that just began, but could be part of a toll lane system GDOT is planning to add within the next 10 years.

John Ruch

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