While there are more than 60 projects proposed, approved or under construction, according to city information, it was the redevelopment of City Center—which was completed in 2018—that caused the spike in developer interest in downtown Alpharetta, according to Thomas.
“Downtown Alpharetta did not look [the way it does] 10-15 years ago, but we wanted more of a tourism draw, more of a business center and commercial node, and a more economically vibrant downtown area,” Thomas said.
Several of these projects will also have ties to the Alpha Loop—a multiuse trail with a 5-mile outer loop and a 3-mile inner loop, connecting city center to Avalon and the Northwinds area—to further push walkability and connectivity between Alpharetta’s major activity centers, Community Development Director Kathi Cook said.
“For many years, I’ve heard from people that were looking for more of the heart of the city—a place that they could gather, enjoy events, a farmers market, see their neighbors,” Cook said. “[All of this development] is creating, for both the locals and visitors, a walkable community that so many people are looking for.”
Coming soon to downtown
Even though there are dozens of new projects under construction, Cook said three of the major developments include The Hamilton, a boutique hotel being constructed at 21 Milton Avenue; The Maxwell, a mixed-use development on Devore Road with retail, dining, office and residential space; and 55 and 61 Roswell Street, which includes Alpharetta Provisions—a second location of Roswell Provisions—and about 25,000 square feet of office space.
The Hamilton’s 96,200-square-foot, four-story building will feature 119 luxury hotel rooms atop the 1858 Public House restaurant and bar—paying homage to the Alpharetta’s incorporation year—as well as other food and retail options, according to Jason Joseph, project partner and Mayfair Street Partners managing director. Mayfair Street Partners is one of the developers of The Hamilton.
“It’s obvious that the fundamentals of Alpharetta are just hyperbolic, explosive and amazing. We have a pro-growth city, and they’ve been really good to work with,” Joseph said. “It gave us an opportunity to try and fulfill some of the bullet points within that plan, which ultimately was the boutique hotel.”
Joseph said the hotel is also slated to house an event venue in addition to a speakeasy bar and social club called The Roaring Social, which will have a “Roaring ’20s” theme.
“This hotel caters more toward leisure travel rather than business,” Thomas said. “People had plenty of reasons to come to downtown, but now they’ll have a reason to stay.”
Whereas The Hamilton provides an alternative tourism opportunity, The Maxwell will feed into the “symbiotic relationship” between commercial and residential space, Thomas said.
Approximately 40,000 square feet of retail, dining and office space in conjunction with 138 upscale residential units will make up The Maxwell, site plans show. The future extension of Devore Road from South Main to Roswell streets will allow The Maxwell to connect directly to downtown, Cook said, and part of Alpha Loop will also run through the development as well.
“From a streetscape standpoint, [The Maxwell] has the ability to visually expand the geography of downtown and create the opportunity for future connections to downtown,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile, the 55 and 61 Roswell Street projects cater to the demand for office space with a nearby dining option in downtown, Thomas said.
Alpharetta Provisions—a market that will offer a variety of wines, fromage, charcuterie, baked goods and sweets—will open as a second location of Roswell Provisions at the 55 and 61 Roswell Street location, Cook said, although an exact timeline for this portion of the project could not be provided. Alpharetta Provisions will be located in a historic building and adjacent to 25,000 square feet of office space, Cook said.
The Maxwell is expected to open this spring, and the office space portion on Roswell Street is slated to open in mid-2020. The Hamilton is expected to open in March or April 2021.
Need for development
In addition to the new City Center making its debut about two years ago, the demand for office space, amenities and greater connectivity all contributed to the spike in development as well, Thomas said.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the city of Alpharetta’s population nearly doubles during working hours, totaling more than 122,000 in daytime population as opposed to the 66,263 resident population as of 2018. The daytime population increase comes from the thousands of people driving into Alpharetta to work, shop and dine, which means the amenities for those people have to be available, Thomas said.
“If you divide our tax digest of $6.3 billion with the number of people who call this home, we have the highest property tax digest per capita in the state,” Mayor Jim Gilvin said during his State of the City address Feb. 13. “We really are exceptional in the fact that we are blessed with so many things for most cities our size, and that makes us special.”
All of the developments coming to downtown will help promote connectivity in the area and bring more jobs, sales tax revenue and businesses, Thomas said.
For example, The Hamilton developers—Mayfair Street Partners and Hotel Equities—gave the city a 10-foot pedestrian easement behind the hotel to serve as a pedestrian pathway between Old Canton and Canton streets, according to Cook.
Another property owner gave the city an additional 10 feet to add to the pathway, Cook said, totaling a 20-foot pedestrian pathway leading to a pocket park. City Council members authorized the $795,000 purchase of about one-quarter acre of land at the corner of Milton Avenue and Canton Street at the Feb. 24 council meeting, which will house the pocket park.
“Companies and businesses that need office space often favor connected environments. We’ve seen it successful in Avalon where you have a strong component of office, and you have retail, extended-stay opportunities and dining,” Thomas said. “We know that an environment with those interactions not only works for our growing daytime population, but our nighttime population as well.”