Last night the City of Alpharetta released their downtown Alpharetta plans… again. I was not at the council meeting so I’m still digesting the information. You can see some sketches on the city’s website at www.alpharetta.ga.us/downtownproject .
My early thoughts are:
No Condos! I’m stunned and pleasantly surprised not to see small condos all over this plan. I’m sure some are coming in the land surrounding this (such as the land adjacent to First Baptist Church). I figured the city would have set aside a small space, added up the total number of acres including green space, multiplied by ten and slammed that many condos in the small space. Refreshing not to see that at this time.
Retail is TDB - There is still a lot of “future development” on the sketches. I would have liked to see proposals on this, other than big shadows. It seems that for now there is no private development in this plan.
Washington, DC – I think the plan looks like Washington DC. With a long pond and big white buildings at the ends, the sketch is made to appear very much like a capitol city. Maybe this is on purpose?
Haynes Bridge Reroute – We knew this was coming. I don’t have a problem moving the street so as not to break up the parks. From what I understand, the city wants highway 9 to be rerouted along Westside Parkway, which should reduce traffic downtown. I’d like to see traffic studies on this plan. Currently commuters leave GA-400 at exit nine and come north on Hayes Bridge through downtown and north on Main Street. Will a completed Westside Parkway successfully divert traffic away from downtown? For the sake of this plan, I hope so.
Cost – The city will ask Alpharetta taxpayers to borrow $29 million for this plan. Keep in mind that Fulton County will be building the library, not the city. Also remember that the city already owns the land so there is no real estate acquisition in these figures. This money will go towards construction costs of city hall, the parking deck and creating the green space. That’s a lot of money. It’s also the maximum the city can borrow without raising the millage rate. I’ll write more on city hall’s opportunity cost later this week. I don’t believe the city should max out its credit card for this project.
Other than cost and the traffic study, I don’t have any early complaints about this plan. Downtown Alpharetta is struggling. This plan should go a long way toward helping.