Sandy Springs’ downtown master plan gets an update for another decade of redevelopment

The City of Sandy Springs is updating a decade-old plan that guided the creation of a new downtown neighborhood with an eye on sparking even more change along central Roswell Road.

The City Springs Master Plan update, led by the consulting firm Pond and Company, is currently in a study phase with online public input running through June 3. 

Remaking the aging strip malls along Roswell Road is an effort that predates the City’s 2005 incorporation. It goes back to a 2001 Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study, with grant money from the Atlanta Regional Commission, that was commissioned by a nonprofit called Sandy Springs Revitalization. The LCI study discussed redevelopment potential in the Roswell corridor roughly between I-285 and Abernathy Road. 

Then in 2012 came the City Center Master Plan – “City Center” being the original name for the then-hypothetical downtown. (“City Center” was later deemed too generic and was reworked by marketing consultants into “City Springs.”) That highly influential plan folded in the LCI, but aimed at a more targeted area: roughly between Cromwell Road to the north and Carpenter and Cliftwood drives to the south. 

The 2012 plan envisioned a new civic center at Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway, and the transformation of many strip malls into new blocks of mixed-use midrises. And a significant portion of that has come to pass.

A map of the study area for the City Springs Master Plan update. Credit: Pond and Company/City of Sandy Springs

The City Springs civic center opened in 2018 as a massive mixed-use site that includes City Hall, the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, the City Green park, apartment towers and restaurants. The City also has made moves to other items touched on in the plan, such as an arts center and a hotel. 

Meanwhile, private developers have turned malls and office buildings in the area into such apartment-anchored mixed-use complexes as the Adley, the Margo and the Morgan. A similar plan was announced last year for the Parkside Shops shopping center, and the adjacent Hammond Exchange center is likely to see similar redevelopment. 

In short, a lot has changed in 10 years – and to the City, a lot still should. That’s what the renamed City Springs Master Plan update is for, with a goal of laying out another decade of redevelopment. 

More than just a review, the update covers a larger area of the Roswell corridor, between Chaseland Road to the north and Allen Road/Carpenter Drive to the south. It also now includes Mountain Creek Road, a cul-de-sac of single-family homes between Carpenter and I-285. 

The update folds in several other recent City studies, including a housing needs assessment – code for discussing affordability problems – and a multiuse trail master plan.

The $150,000 study is in a fact-finding phase that includes an assessment of current conditions, a parking management strategy, and a market and feasibility study. Besides the online engagement, the City held community meetings earlier this spring, and the consultants will appear at the June 25 Sandy Springs Farmers Market at City Springs at 1 Galambos Way. For the full meeting presentation, click here.

The next phases, rolling out through the rest of the year, include creating a vision and then a final plan. For more information, see the update’s website.