A developer is proposing to bring a three-story self-storage facility to Sandy Springs on a site currently occupied by a shopping center just south of I-285. The project at 120 Northwood Drive would displace several businesses, a church and a social-service nonprofit, but could also create a new city park and include a new home for the nonprofit.
City staff will present the proposal to the Planning Commission at an Aug. 27 meeting. It is recommended for approval, according to a city staff report.
Currently, the building on the Northwood Drive site houses a mix of retail and nonprofit organizations, including the Satellite Office for the Community Assistance Center, an organization that helps people at risk of homelessness.
Kristen Ristino, the CAC’s communications manager, says the organization is aware of the proposal and has attended the community meetings about it.
“We are currently considering alternatives for [a new office location],” Ristino said.
Woody Galloway, the attorney representing the developers, Taylor/Theus Holdings, Inc., said that the developers have taken the time to listen to the community’s needs and assess their plans accordingly. Townhomes were part of an earlier plan but were removed in response to public input.
“We have worked with the community extensively over the last seven months and feel like we have come up with a plan that has the support of a lot of the stakeholders in the area and addresses the needs that were expressed,” Galloway said.
At community meetings held on Feb. 25 and April 1, citizens expressed concerns about the potential loss of the current retail and civic associations holding space, because the building would be demolished and the tenants would be displaced while construction occurred, according to a city staff report.
“While we understand that properties often change hands, we would be sad to see some of the current businesses leave,” Ristino said.
However, Galloway says that the developers are inviting the nonprofits, such as the CAC, back after construction. They are also preserving space for “neighborhood-serving” retail for residents around the area, such as grocery stores, laundromats, etc.
“We are providing below-market rent for nonprofits to allow them to continue to serve the communities in the area at rates that are close to what they are paying but in a brand new facility,” Galloway said.
Centro Católico del Espíritu Santo, a church that was established in 2002 as an affiliate of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 4465 Northside Drive, for the Hispanic communities of the Sandy Springs area, is currently housed at the proposed site.
Kim Schulman, Holy Spirit’s director of communications, says that the church is aware of the potential demolition of the building and is looking into other options.
“If [the proposal] goes through, the parish component that is currently housed in that building would need to move elsewhere,” Schulman said. “We have not identified a possible future location.”
In addition to the storage and retail space, the developer has plans to use the space previously designated for townhomes to instead construct a park geared toward young children. Galloway said this decision comes as a result of the discussions the developers had with the nearby community.
The park will then be donated to the city upon completion, replacing the current playground found at the site.
“[The developers] are currently working with the city’s parks department on the concept,” Galloway said. “[The park will be] a lot bigger, a lot safer and a whole lot nicer.”
Prior to the commission meeting, a third community meeting will be held on the site of the proposed project on Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.
North End self-storage proposal
The Northwood Drive project is one of two self-storage proposals that will go before the Planning Commission Aug. 27. The other one is a controversial plan at 8040 Roswell Road, adjacent to townhomes on Brantley Drive.
According to city documents, the staff recommends denial of that proposal based on “a review of the information provided and in light of the stated goals for the area provided in the Next Ten and North End Redevelopment Plan.”