North end 2 North Springs Center shopping center

The entire front of the North Springs Center shopping center, once anchored by a Big Lots store whose lettering outline is still visible on the façade, is now empty. This is the type of suburban blight Sandy Springs’ north end task force wants to address.

The city of Sandy Springs will host a special meeting March 5 to get public comment on the city’s proposal to create mixed-use conceptual master plans for four shopping centers in Sandy Springs’ north end.

Following recommendations made in a report by the city’s north end redevelopment task force, the Sandy Springs City Council at its Dec. 3 meeting 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, all located on Roswell Road. The meeting will take place at Sandy Springs City Hall, 1 Galambos Way. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a brief presentation, followed by a community engagement session. This meeting is the first of several the city has planned as part of the redevelopment process.

“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,” a news release stated. “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.”

Mayor Rusty Paul included north end redevelopment as part of one of his top three priorities in his reelection campaign in 2017, and the following year the city created the task force to address what changes needed to be made in that area, which is one of the last parts of the city to be revitalized.

He said the design concepts would also address adding affordable housing to that area, something a group called Sandy Springs Together, which was formed by former task force members David and Melanie Couchman, has said the city won’t have enough of in its redevelopment plans.

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