The Dunwoody Development Authority is considering taking a more proactive stance in bringing redevelopment to the city, including to areas such as Dunwoody Village.
At a June 19 meeting, the authority received an overview of the Dunwoody Village master plan created in 2011. The plan recorded the desire of residents to create a town center for the city with restaurants, shops, homes and a walkable layout.
Plans made years ago are being incrementally introduced, such as renovations and additions to restaurants Village Burger and Novo Cucina, as well as the upcoming construction of a 79-unit townhome development.
Economic Development Director Michael Starling, who is also executive director of the authority, said in an interview that authority members are interested in what they can do to help redevelopment in the city to bring in such amenities as restaurants. Development authorities have a broad range of powers that include assembling properties and offering tax abatements.
“The Development Authority has been a reactive authority,” Starling said, in that it waits for developers to approach the city for tax abatements, which have been granted on large developments, such as the State Farm regional hub in Perimeter Center.
Last year, the authority approved $34 million in tax abatements to the developers of the State Farm complex to cover costs of constructing two new office towers. The total cost of constructing the two new Class A office buildings is estimated to be approximately $410 million.
Large developments are crucial to the city’s economic success, Starling said, but residents are more in tune with smaller retail and restaurant developments and are telling city officials this is the kind of development they want to see.
“This is true in every community, not just Dunwoody,” he said.
Starling said the idea of presenting the Dunwoody Village master plan to authority members is to let them know plans exist throughout the city for what residents want to see in their community. What the Development Authority wants to do to help redevelopment remains up to the board, he said.
“It could be anything from leasing a space that is empty and then leasing it back to a small business … or being partners on projects,” Starling said.
Looking to take a more proactive stance on redevelopment began about a year ago when authority members asked what they could do to encourage restaurants and shops in the city, Starling said.
“They wanted to know: How can we dip our toe in this?” he said.
The authority also has co-sponsored, with the city of Dunwoody, the Dunwoody Chamber and the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau, a “Shape Dunwoody” lecture series, including a discussion with Billy Parrish, a downtown consultant.