North end 2 North Springs Center shopping center

The entire front of the North Springs Center shopping center in Sandy Springs, once anchored by a Big Lots store whose lettering outline is still visible on the façade, is now empty.

Following an in-person public meeting March 5, the city of Sandy Springs will host some online design activities this month as part of the process to devise mixed-use, conceptual master plans for four shopping centers in its north end.

The activities will be open June 1 through 19 and can be accessed by visiting

The four shopping centers, all examples of suburban blight, are meant to be redesigned to accommodate office, retail/restaurant and residential components, including affordable housing.

In December, the Sandy Springs City Council voted 6-0 to approve awarding a $307,260 contract to TSW, a Midtown-based architectural and design firm, for north end design services. The company will create three varied design concepts each for the Northridge, North River, North Springs Center and former Loehmann’s Plaza shopping centers.

Online, there will be a video short introduction, followed by the design activities. It will take about five to 10 minutes to complete. The results will be used to help design conceptual master plans for the four shopping centers.

The concept plans are intended to illustrate how the community’s vision for reimaging the north end can be realized through a variety of recommendations, uses, and intensities for the four shopping centers within the study area. The designs are not development proposals by the property owners, but rather illustrative concepts that might spur the highest and best uses of key properties in this redevelopment area.

According to a news release, based on public feedback at the March 5 meeting, the design goals and principles of the Sandy Springs north end are to:

♦ ensure a variety of housing options to accommodate all types of residences

♦ attract and support local small businesses in the north end

♦ improve multimodal connectivity throughout the north end, starting with the four sites and Roswell Road

♦ model how mixed-use (retail, office, housing, and institutional uses, and green space) environments can work in Sandy Springs.

♦ build upon existing green spaces and parks to create a cohesive public space network

Mary Baron, who spoke during the public comment portion of the council’s June 2 meeting, said she had some concerns over how the online activities are organized.

“I am lost and overwhelmed already,” she said. “The choices are confusing, and the descriptions are vague. … More information would be helpful. Are all these buildings occupied? … It would be better to have a two-way dialogue with residents and city representatives.”

For more information, visit

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