City Walk Starting to Factor into Quaint Downtown Concepts

About 100 Sandy Springs residents have brainstormed and shared their concepts for a new downtown area with master planning firm Goody Clancy.


Sandy Springs residents have given the Goody Clancy folks plenty to think about in creating a new downtown area.

Imagine a median along Roswell Road and quaint restaurants on Hildebrand Drive. 

“I’m pushing for Hildebrand to be our Canton Street,” said resident Mark Sampl, during Wednesday’s held in Mount Vernon Presbyterian School’s Media Center.

Sampl envisions rooftop restaurants on Hildebrand Drive that would attract the type of patrons that frequent Rumi’s Kitchen at the corner of Roswell Road. “Some of these older buildings need something like that. My idea is a historic restaurant district,” he said.

During morning and evening workshops, Tuesday, about 100 people showed up to brainstorm and share their concepts for downtown with representatives from master planning firm Goody Clancy. Now the firm has big themes to consider along with their own professional experience, said Ben Carlson, of Goody Clancy.

Carlson said folks suggested two locations for City Hall: The former Target site and City Walk shopping center.

“People want a community activity center,” said Carlson, regarding the Target property. “They want a place for visual arts and neighborhood meetings; first and foremost a place that is of the community. Bureaucrats might happen to be there and share a space.”

Carlson said people also want a destination park space with a children’s play area; perhaps connectivity between City Walk and the seven acre Target property; and they want Heritage Sandy Springs to be better utilized. 

He envisions new housing along the property.

What's are the best ideas you've heard for downtown?

City Walk went into foreclosure last November. It could be transformed into a community-gathering place, with a parking deck, if City Hall is located there, said Carlson. “Kroger might, or might not be there for the long term. [The property] is well located. It’s close to some housing, and you could use that site to connect to other housing,” he said.

“The economics of building structured parking is challenging,” Carlson said. “We think there is an opportunity there. City Hall could potentially bring activity to that area and be a gateway to Sandy Springs Circle. On the west side of Sandy Springs Circle [Ace Hardware area] there is an opportunity for something new.”

Looking back to Hilderbrand and Roswell Road, Carlson said Boylston Drive is an opportunity for development too. That could attract residents to activity at The Punchline and Café 290, and across Roswell Road into a new restaurant district.

“As soon as somebody figures out this crossover, you have a whole new footprint,” Mark Sampl said.

Doug Faciglia likes the idea of building on a restaurant district or “Canton Street” destination. 

“Start with something that is small and manageable,” he said. “To me that is what is appealing about [Mark’s] idea. We’ve got some history over her on the Heritage, and we’ve got some potential to get people to move between these places.” 

Goody Clancy will start to look at the economics of some the concepts, Carlson said.

“We have some number crunching to do. There is no one factor that is going to determine things. It’s not just financial. It’s meeting community goals,” he said.

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Adrianne Murchison June 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Which ideas do you like the best for downtown? What do you think of a median on Roswell Road near Hilderbrand?
Danny Martin June 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I'd like to see the whole area between the target site and a redeveloped City Walk become a walkable village. Canton street times ten with a focus on fine arts, crafts and music. It would include both Mt. Vernon and Hildebrand. Shops, galleries, professional offices, studios and restaurants along Mt. Vernon can overlook the Target site (which should be our central Centennial- like urban park) as well as front Mt. Vernon. 2 to 3 levels of Loft housing could be above the retail. A mix of limited onstreet parking, underground and intermixed behind shops and possibly a parking deck at some central location. The village will connect and include the new park, Heritage Sandy Springs and amphitheater and a more walkable City Walk. The Park could include a progressive, iconic city hall/performing arts center and public meeting spaces. Medians on Roswell Rd will improve pedestrian crossings and limit left hand turns. Johnson's Ferry and Mt.Vernon at the triangle need to be 2 way. And this is just a start.


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