The city wants to send a message to developers that the ”north end is open for business.”
This has been an objective since the formation of the North End Revitalization Task Force in July 2018.
In a step toward that goal, the city passed a resolution last week, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to hire the design firm TSW Design Group.
By taking this action, the city has sent the first signal.
TSW Design will offer 3 design suggestions for 4 underutilized shopping centers on the north end.
The four shopping centers are:
- the former Loehmann’s shopping center (where the Sandy Springs Diner is located);
- Northridge Shopping Center (where the former Kroger’s was);
- North River Shopping Center (where Stars and Strikes is currently located), and;
- the Big Lots shopping center.
We welcome revitalization if it addresses one of the objectives of the mission of the same task force, specifically “…that (it) creates a place for the families currently living in the neighborhood”.
These families are our workforce and our neighbors and many of them have already been priced out of the city due to rising rents and redevelopment.
Mayor Rusty Paul said, “While there’s too much rental housing in the area, we’re not interested in gentrification. I want to make that real clear.” Sandy Springs Reporter, May 25, 2018.
We are interested in seeing how the design plans from TSW evolve and what price point the housing will come in at. Keeping housing costs affordable for both renters and homeowners is our primary concern.
We have been advocating for the city to conduct an affordable housing impact study before development begins, and we will continue to raise awareness for this issue.
There are options available to the city to ensure that housing remains affordable — other cities are taking steps to accomplish this. Sandy Springs can and MUST do the same.
We are hopeful that our elected officials will not pretend that rising housing costs are “unintended consequences” of redevelopment, because that would be misleading.
Instead, we encourage them to face the challenge of encouraging redevelopment while preserving housing affordability for all income types.