Developers Chosen for Phase II of City Springs

It’s been nearly two months since the City of Sandy Springs chose two major real estate developers as its Preferred Development Partner for Phase II of the City Springs development. The city council chose Regent Partners and Morris and Fellows to work with the city to develop three separate but adjacent parcels at Hildebrand and Mt. Vernon Roads, flanking its flagship City Springs development.

Still, John Bell, principal of Regent Partners, acknowledged “it’s not a done deal.” In fact, Sandy Springs withholds the right to engage with other developers if necessary.

According to City Manage Eden Freeman, “We are excited to announce the selection of our preferred development partner for Phase II of the City Springs development project. While the City still retains the right to re-negotiate with other developers if required, we firmly believe in Regent Partners and Morris and Fellows’ ability to bring our shared vision for the City Springs community to life.  This marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Sandy Springs and we eagerly look forward to the next steps of the project, including receiving input from the community.”

Development could start late next year

Bell called the development a “work in progress. We’re still making the sausage. Being chosen was the goal.”

According to the City, construction is currently expected to begin late next year with an estimated completion in the fall of 2026. Bell said it is “too early to say” when work will begin on the project, which is expected to be built in phases. But he said his company is “fully staffed” and ready with a “comprehensive team”.

Morris & Fellows is the retail partner for the project. The retail will include restaurants, shops and fine arts. “Choosing the tenants will be a collaborative effort with Sandy Springs,” said Bell.

Regent Partners developed Eastern Wharf in Savannah

Regent Partners has a rich history of multi-use developments throughout the Southeast, Bell pointed out. “We’ve done all the food groups in office and hospitality.”

In fact, in its three and a half decades, Regent Partners has developed more than 10 million square feet in the Southeast, valued at more than $2.6 billion, according to its website. Its portfolio includes office, hotel, retail and mixed-use developments. Bell noted that it has experience with private/public partnerships.

Most notable is the Eastern Wharf development in Savannah. The 54-acre project includes community parks, luxury hotel rooms, office space, riverfront residences and many shops and restaurants. Bell said that Regent coordinated with the city. “We are done with phase one,” he said.

The name of the project is based in history. In the early 1800s, the area was known as the Eastern Wharves District. It was home to businesses such as A.N. Millers Foundry, Hydraulic Cotton Press Co. and the Bullock and Winton Steam Saw Mill.

“We’ve done a lot throughout the Southeast. In fact, the company is known for its development of East End Market in Raleigh, N.C. and the Reservoir in Nashville, Tenn., among others.

Background on the city’s decision

At the City Council meeting in which the developers were chosen, Mayor Rusty Paul noted, “We wanted to work with a proposer who shared our vision.”

The discussion and vote followed a meeting last December in which the mayor and city council adopted the City Springs Master Plan which was an update to its original 2012 City Center Master Plan. The City then issued a request for qualifications as the first phase of a two-phase process to solicit and select a master developer. The first phase of the solicitation phase one was issued on Nov. 16 with responses due Dec. 13 last year.

Paul also stated, “If we cannot find a deal that works in the best interest of everybody in this community and have the kind of downtown environment we aspire to have, then we will find another partner. This is a first step, but it is monumental.”