Prospect Park is Under Contract

A deal is in the works for Prospect Park, Alpharetta’s failed mixed-use development on Old Milton Parkway. I believe things will move quickly from here on out. But before I get into how I think the deal will go down, let’s talk about how the story broke. It’s Interesting stuff.

Recently rumors began swirling about the sale of Prospect Park. I saw a few fly by on twitter and elsewhere on the internet. Then last week I received a private message from someone in Alpharetta’s real estate development community that the land was under contract with a July closing date. Yet even with this I saw nothing in the news regarding the sale.

I tweeted this challenge to local media in north Fulton to cover the story. Most of those on my tweet followed through with research but got no answers. Then yesterday afternoon Alpharetta Patch editor Bob Pepalis ran with a story basically saying as much. He reported that, contrary to rumors, Prospect Park had not been sold and marketing plans were continuing as before.

But a funny thing happened after this story hit the internet tubes… Alpharetta Councilman and banker D.C. Aiken called Pepalis and went on the record with the rumor. Aiken claimed Prospect Park is under contract and will close soon. He also made a few other interesting points. Says Aiken, “The potential buyer is a known player and likes the way the property is zoned.” He hints that a deal for Westside Parkway is near and that something might possibly come before the Council on Monday.

Here’s how I think the Prospect Park deal might shake out… The buyer will be a developer well known to those in north Fulton with past experience in this type of development. He’ll want significant zoning changes to the residential portion of the development. While these changes may be unpleasant to folks like myself, objection be overshadowed by two things. First will be the completion of Westside Parkway. I predict that the road, in its current incomplete form, will be deeded to the city immediately. At about the same time a knight in shining armor will appear with funds in hand to complete the road. Can you guess who this might be?

Secondly, the developer will have a plan to begin work soon, effectively removing the egg on Alpharetta’s face. The small price to pay may be some uncomfortable residential units on the property. Will it be rentals? In the Patch article, D.C. Aiken seems to be throwing a shot across someone’s bow on the issue of apartments. Is this why?

I could be completely wrong on all this. I’m just trying to read the tea leaves and make a guess. How do you think the Prospect Park deal will go down?

7 Responses to “Prospect Park is Under Contract”

  1. Chris June 8, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I would love to see Westside Parkway completed. Being able to cut through there on my way to work would cut about 5 minutes off my drive to and from every day. No more having to make a u-turn to go around the area or having to go fight 400 traffic or North Point traffic in the morning.

  2. Lee June 8, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Everyone wants Westside completed, and I think it is very important to the downtown plans. It will become effectively a bypass for Alpharetta, allowing downtown to become more pedestrian friendly.

    I just think the developer is going to play on everyone’s desire to get the road done. It’s a trump card he’s going to use to get what he wants out of the density in the project. Just a hunch, but that’s how I see it being played out.

    And this being an election year in Alpharetta is also significant. Councilmen will finally be able to go back to voters with a plan to get the road done.

  3. Tom Miller June 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Prospect Park already has record-setting density. Mayor Letchas and City Council shouldn’t feel any need to approve any more density to please a new owner.

    Current zoning for Prospect Park will add 50,000 car trips per day! It includes 1.3 million sq ft of offices, 415 hotel rooms, 880,000 sq ft of retail, and 578 condos! Isn’t that enough density?

    It is an 87 acre dust bowl for which the City is partly responsible. Condition 5 of the zoning required the developer to build the entire site at once. That is why the entire site has been clearcut for the past four years. The City code requires only clearing the pods that can be built. There is obviously insufficent demand to build out a project of this size all at once. Just think, if the original developer had more money, he might have built everything. Then that huge glut of supply would have destroyed commercial and residential property values.

    My suggestion is that the citizens continue to watch Prospect Park and the actions of the City. In 2008 when Prospect Park was rezoned, the City gave the original developer everything he wanted. In exchange the developer promised that we would get Westside Parkway and that the main section of Prospect Park would be completed by October 1, 2009. Almost two years later, neither promise has been kept.

  4. Sydney June 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle today says the contract is with North American Properties. It says they will scale back plans of the original developer. I’m not a subscriber so unfortunately can’t see if there are more details.

    North American is also the developer re-working Atlantic Station. Based on other blogs I read, so far they seem to be very sensitive to needs and wants of surrounding residents, so maybe that’s a good sign.

  5. Sunnie July 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Alpharetta is a great community. As a resident, I would hate to see more apartments on Old Milton Parkway. So far, crime here is pretty low and right now you have high crime in areas such as Buckhead, Midtown and Atlantic Station. More apartments only heighten the possibilty of ‘hooligans” wanting to escape the city. I would love to see a trader joes, maggianos or something new that Alpharetta doesn’t currently have. I think the developers need to research areas such as California and New York and find out what’s popular in those areas and bring them here. It’s sort of like the whole Krispy Kreme theory. New York has never had Krispy Kreme…but whoever decided to start the first store in New York made a huge profit. Thereafter, it became a huge hit and now you see them all over NY. My point is we need something that is going to generate alot of money for the city. Alpharetta is a small city already filled with tons of homes and apartments.

  6. Sunnie July 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    I forgot to add….World Market would be nice. I hate going all the way to Buckhead :(

  7. Christine August 25, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    I will be happy as long as they stay true to bringing in high end retailers. I understand Whole Foods still wants in. What we don’t need is another low end retail shopping center like North Point Mall. THAT is egg on Alpharetta’s face. If you want anything nice you have to drive to Buckhead!

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