By Cory Sekine-Pettite
Since we last checked in on the Town Center CID (in the September/October 2018 issue), the members of the community improvement district have been working diligently on several projects. Cobb In Focus caught up with Luci Morgan, the CID’s communications and outreach manager, to learn more.
There are a number of redevelopment projects in the planning and zoning process that would positively impact the Town Center area, Morgan said. As these developments enter the market, they enhance property values for surrounding commercial and residential developments, and provide new amenities for both residents and visitors alike. “It is often said that rising tides lifts all ships, and that remains true,” she said. “As a primary regional activity center for metro Atlanta, Town Center will continue to serve as a critical hub for the northwest community.”
As Morgan reminds us, the role of a CID is to identify and design projects to create opportunities for developments to flourish. The Town Center CID and its partners — including Cobb County, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the state of Georgia, and Select Cobb — work collaboratively to deliver infrastructure and quality-of-life projects that enhance property values within the district.
In 2017, the Town Center CID updated its master plan to include an action/investment strategy that promotes quality growth over the next five to 10 years. The district identified a number of corridors that require further study, and it’s working to further identify the next projects that align with the Cobb Forward (Comprehensive Transit Plan) and 2020 SPLOST. “These studies allow us to get an in-depth look at a particular corridor and receive recommendations regarding various improvement options we may have,” Morgan said. “These recommendations may include road widenings or re-alignments, the addition of a roundabout, connecting trails, or expanding the bike share program. Each project is assessed based on need, the return on investment, and with an eye toward continuing quality growth and development in our thriving area.”
Speaking of growth, the new Edison Chastain development, located along Chastain Meadows Parkway near Bells Ferry Road, will be the first Class A office space in 12 years in the district. This $35-million development will provide nearly 150,000 square feet of much-needed office space, and is expected to bring an estimated 525 jobs to Cobb County. The Edison building model focuses on creative work environments, featuring open layouts, high ceilings and large windows that appeal to current workforce trends. “We are thrilled that the Edison will not only provide new, modern office facilities but also greenspace amenities that benefit employees and residents alike,” said Town Center CID Executive Director, Tracy Rathbone Styf, in a news release.
“Edison Chastain is the start of a very exciting phase in Town Center’s story — it serves as a message to the broader region that Town Center continues to thrive and is ready for modern redevelopment,” said Morgan.
The Town Center CID is continuing the corridor studies for Barrett Lakes Boulevard and Big Shanty Road. The intent of these studies is to identify transportation improvements to enhance mobility, connectivity, and safety for all users while supporting adjacent land uses.
Planning continues on Town Center Park, a 42- acre site located behind the Town Center at Cobb shopping mall. Being traversed by the Noonday Creek trail, the site currently includes a Town Center Bike Share Program station, natural park space with forested area, and water elements. A design team has been contracted to analyze the park site and determine how the area can be best utilized for the community.
Phase I of the Town Center Bike Share Program is complete. In October of 2016, the bikes were upgraded to Bluetooth-controlled locks that open using the Zagster smartphone app. The completion of Founders Park this year will add a bike share station, and progress is being made toward a station at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
The goal of the Busbee Trail project is to add transportation options between the Town Center Mall/Barrett economic activity center and Kennesaw State University. The project would construct a shared-use path between the Noonday Creek Trail and the Skip Spann Connector, just north of Chastain Road.