Smyrna Council to vote on downsizing site
by Noreen Cochran
February 16, 2013 12:45 AM | 4568 views | 11 11 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — The fate of a corner on South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector may lie in the hands of the Smyrna City Council when it meets Monday night.

The city council approved a previous site plan for a 78,000-square-foot strip mall in 2008, but the developer now wants approval to downsize it by about 20 percent for four freestanding buildings.

Marietta-based developer Columbia Properties demolished a former Home Depot garden center and is planning to move in a Krispy Kreme, Del Taco, Auto Zone and a bank. The site already contains a Race Trac gas station and the Smyrna Eye Group.

Developer attorney Garvis Sams said with “reduced density” will come “ingenious” landscaping and brick construction to blend in with the existing tenants.

“In terms of style and architectural components, we tried to do what the city wanted us to do,” he said. “We tried to make it consistent but at the same time obviously we want to keep the brands.”

If approved, the site could be built within the year, he said.

At a Feb. 8 town hall meeting held by council members Wade Lnenicka and Ron Fennel, officials and residents discussed the planned changes on the site.

“I’m excited about us getting a Krispy Kreme,” said Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon.

Meeting attendee Bryan Wasson said he didn’t see how the new tenants will add value to his home in walking distance on nearby Lois Street.

“They’re good businesses, but it seems you’re just getting the space filled up versus what will really add value to our community. It adds some tax base but none of this makes my home worth more,” he said.

Sams said the new businesses will be long-term creators of jobs.

“We’ve got 15- and 20-year leases from two of the users and Auto Zone is buying their site. All of them are spending multiple millions of dollars,” he said. “One’s going to bring 50 jobs, another 60 jobs. We think from an economic perspective, we don’t think it’s going to diminish value. It’s going to add value.”

Like other attendees, Wasson said there are already businesses nearby catering to local appetites.

“We have a Dunkin Donuts, we have a Taco Bell, we have a car wash,” he said.

Krispy Kreme representative Mike Neal of Sandy Springs-based Colliers International said the difference is the fundraising help his client gives to local nonprofits.

“If you’ve been in the Southeast long, you know one of the best things about them is their community outreach program,” he said. “They have a positive impact. It’s not just about coming here and selling donuts.”

Residents suggested higher-end food retailers like Starbuck’s and Trader Joe’s, which project manager David Shanahan of Vinings-based Trilogy Group said are elusive.

“Starbucks is very particular about where they go,” he said. “Trader Joe’s has a limited number of stores. Everyone wants one.”

The tenants they have, Shanahan said, are going to do well.

“For them to take this parcel and redevelop it, it’s going to bring life to this corridor. What I would point to is their financial strength. That’s just as important as the service they provide,” he said.

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott also attended.

He said the corner is part of his goals for 2013.

“What I propose for this next year is to start a South Cobb redevelopment plan starting at S. Cobb Drive and (Interstate) 285,” Ott said.

Once a stakeholders’ committee of 10 homeowners and 10 business owners find out what other stakeholders want, he said developers gain confidence.

“From a developer’s viewpoint, the one thing that is music to their ears is (when) they come to me and I say, ‘If you can develop the best plan, the community will support it,’” Ott said.

Fennel said the Columbia Properties plan helps create a gateway.

“One thing that is really important for those of us in the city that are looking to our future, is our gateways. What is the gateway to Smyrna in each of the corridors? We’re taking a look,” he said. “Having this site ultimately built out in some fashion is part of the gateway for Smyrna on this side of town.”

He recognized the concerns of nearby homeowners.

“It’s important to residents of Vinings Estates, Lowe’s Point and other places nearby, to have it done right,” he said.

Ott said sometimes compromises have to be made.

“It’s not necessarily what they originally told you. In this economy, sometimes councils and commissioners need to make some tweaks,” he said. “A lot of developers are like lemmings. If they see something, they ask, ‘What do they know that I don’t?’”
Comments
(11)
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mk-no hope 4 smyrna
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February 19, 2013
No wonder Smyrna is in the dumper.

Yes, Fennel is right, people are moving to Smyrna, that is true, because of the abundance of a cheap housing stock, period.

They aren't moving to Smyrna for quality schools, good shopping, high tech jobs or blue collar jobs,

because these things don't exist in Smyrna, nor are the existing homeowners experiencing any quality of life.

Last nites council meeting, another joke!

Keep Smyrna Beautiful, preens in front of cameras w/ self sought after awards- yet no environmental practices in the city, no curbside single stream recycling, no bio-swales, no native plantings, etc.

Bragging about being a 'tree city' (which has very easy requirements to obtain), yet no protection of disappearing tree canopy and absolutely zero attempt to plant street trees,.. hence baron, ugly corridors.

Then the most ridiculous statement from, Anulewiz & Bacon about the piece of property that SHOULD have SOME value, w/ its major road intersection & Atlanta skyline views,... "well, we don't OWN the property"!

What fools!

Does Woodstock own Downtown Woodstock or the Shoppes of Atlanta?

NO!

Does Brookhaven own Town Brookhaven?

NO!

Does Alpharetta own Avalon?

NO!

Does Norcross own The Forum?

NO!

Does Cobb County own One Moutain Vinings?

NO!

Of course not!!

The difference is,.. THEY know how to work w/ developers, bring VALUE to their community AND listen & protect their homeowners!

Bring own the donuts & tacos!

Gez!!

This is the best we get!!
Ok, funny.....
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February 18, 2013
This must be an early April Fools joke!

S. Beach
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February 17, 2013
What town hall meeting? Smyrna doesn't have them. That was a private meeting for certain subdivisions. If you don't live in a upscale subdivision you never get a meeting with your council person.

That shopping center will be redundant. In walking distance there's one of everything they're going to build there. So the city will eventually have more empty store fronts when these businesses close.

New Smyrna resident
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February 16, 2013
How about a LA Fitness, or a Whole Foods/Fresh Market?

That area is in desperate need of that. Auto Zone? That sounds awful.
anonymous
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February 16, 2013
Nice job! I hope 2013 sees more upswings like this. Maybe the economy really is starting to rise.
mk-the truth
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February 16, 2013
Of course I will be attacked by the usual suspects.

God forbid anyone expect the city leaders to do their job & bring any value to Smyrna or its' neighborhoods.Smyrna citizens deserve better!!

Smyrna would rather play the victim,...(its always been poor,... its the economy,..its mks fault for talking the truth,... etc.)

I might add to previous post, the helicopter flying above Smyrna Heights (a few blocks from city hall) yesterday around 6 p.m., was the WSB copter showing the Smyrna police emptying out a 'grow house' directly behind the King Springs craftsman style homes.

Maybe some of those folks will wake up,.. no??

Shame on Progress
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February 17, 2013
Yeah, shame on you for wanting to improve Smyrna. None are so blind as those who refuse to see.

Illegal aliens are protected and hard working citizens are attacked. Sounds about right, ignore freedom of speech and glorify corruption.
mary kirkendoll
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February 16, 2013
This is totally unacceptable.

Max Bacon has shown utter incompetence in running a city.

He has achieved RUINING this city!

This corner was the last hope of any value placed on land w/in the city of Smyrna. This corner SHOULD have been built as a high end highrise/residential/condo/office tower w/ Atlanta skyline views.

I blame also the rah-rah Smyrna folks that have sat in silence and watched as this city has become a no mans land.

As the Shoppes of Atlanta outlet mall is set to open in Woodstock, Towne Brookhaven is a thriving destination, Avalon in Alpharetta has broken ground, Georgetown in Dunwoody has been revitalized, Duluth, Suwannee, Roswell & Sandy Springs, all are building wealth & looking out for their homeowners,...there's really no choice for Smyrna homeowners, except to put the 'for sale' sign in the yard & try to escape while they still can.

fluffhead
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February 16, 2013
Can't they figure out what to do with that pit on the corner of Spring and S. Atlanta before starting new projects? That lot has been barren for almost 4 years. It's an eyesore and should be the first thing that comes up in every development meeting in Smyrna.
A total disgrace!!!
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February 16, 2013
The joke is surely on the Smyrna citizens.

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