The area around Cumberland Mall “has become Cobb County’s own downtown,” attorney Kevin Moore told the county’s governing board Tuesday. But, he added, the mall itself “needs to be a part of that.”

The board agreed. On Tuesday, it approved the redevelopment of what Moore called “a gigantic asphalt parking field” surrounding the mall. Moore is representing the mall’s owner, Brookfield Properties.

East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott called the proposal “transformative.”

“I commend Brookfield Properties for looking into the future with me and staff to come up with something that I think is going to be transformational, not just for the Cumberland area but for Cumberland Mall,” he said. “It’s just a tremendous example of a public-private partnership.”

That “gigantic asphalt parking field” covers approximately 17 acres, on which Brookfield Properties will build two 10-story office towers, a 315-unit apartment building and retail space.

The office towers would sit atop parking decks and the residential portion would be surrounded by greenspace and feature ground-level retail, forming “a real plaza,” according to Moore.

Some land has also been set aside for public use: the site plan includes a new county fire station and new CobbLinc bus terminal, which Ott has said would be an upgrade to the existing Cumberland Transfer Center.

A new center, Ott has said, would be a “true bus terminal”: indoors, with 10 bays, parking and easy access to Interstates 285 and 75.

Ott and Moore said the redevelopment would help Cumberland Mall buck the trend of struggling shopping centers.

“This isn’t about Cumberland Mall dying,” Moore said. “It’s about how Cumberland Mall survives and thrives.”

Construction is expected to begin next year, he said, and, depending on economic factors, will likely take three to five years to complete.

In other business, the board approved Brooks Chadwick Capital’s request to put 81 homes on about 49 acres in the county’s northeastern corner.

The board’s vote was unanimous despite opposition from some area residents worried it would contribute to issues with flooding.

“This is not 1970,” one area resident said, speaking in opposition. “These creeks are very swollen.”

Moore, who also represented Brooks Chadwick, said the proposed subdivision was no more dense than surrounding neighborhoods. Nevertheless, it had committed to stormwater control above those required by county code.

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