Plans for New Downtown Green Space Would Uproot 40-Year Business

Sandy Springs plans include a green space on a triangle at Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road near Roswell Road, that is home to Eddie’s Automotive. Owner Eddie Mobley, opened his business in 1971.


Some small business owners are less enthusiastic about plans for Sandy Springs' new downtown. Because plans have come and gone over the years several business owners tell Patch they have a wait and see attitude.

Current plans for the Sandy Springs new Town Center area include a multi-use civic space at the old Target site on Johnson Ferry Road, with office space, a performing arts area, green space and mixed-use housing and retail nearby.

An open house detailing plans was held at City Hall on Tuesday. The presentation can be found at sandyspringscitycenter.com.

Plans include a green space on a triangle at Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road near Roswell Road, that is home to Eddie’s Automotive. Owner Eddie Mobley, opened his business in 1971.

“These are just conceptual plans on what somebody can do with the property,” said Assistant City Manager Bryant Poole.

A formal recommendation of the downtown master plan is expected to be presented to City Council in December. 

At that point city officials would talk to Mobley and other property and business owners whose land could potentially be redeveloped, Poole said. “Somebody could say, “I’m ready to retire. I’ve been waiting for someone to buy me out,” he added.

Mobley, 65, who leases from Orkin and Associates, believes any redevelopment is five to seven years away. If it happens sooner, the city may have to buy out his lease and possibly move him to a new location, he said.

In seven years, Mobley may indeed be ready to retire, he said. Over the years, Mobley said he has heard of a few plans for Mount Vernon Highway where his shop sits.

“One time they said they were putting in sidewalks. Another time they were going to make it a two-way,” he said. 

Sandy Springs residents have made similar comments. During an Oct. 30 public input meeting neighborhood activist Patty Berkovitz wondered if public feedback is being taken into consideration. 

“I want to feel if I’ve been spending time here that I’m listened to,” said Berkovitz to Ben Carlson, from master planning firm Goody Clancy. “We want green space, and the Target site to be green space, not divided up into retail and a parking deck…”

At Tuesday’s open house, resident Howard Austin agreed, “At one point I thought we were being listened to. I’m less sure now because of the Target property.”

Tell us in the comments what you think of the new downtown plans so far.

Linda November 15, 2012 at 07:52 PM
How about the old, barely used strip mall down by the river. Develop that AND tie into the parks alreadypresent there. Build a smaller offshoot rec center at J-Ferry and Roswell. You don't need the additional traffic at that intersection. Mon.-Sat. are impossible with traffic fo=low. Analyze/design the roads, water/sewage, electrical needs first, then build. Where would people walk around for a rec center, where would we park, what about the ability to host picnics, family reunions, small business meetings, weddings, receptions, teen parties, etc.The river location seems more applicable to a community need.
Tom Doolittle November 18, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Rubber meets the road. Repubs want a city, Repubs are pro-business--can't have both in the same spot apparently...and if Ol' Eddie doesn't want to play ball, Repubs also legalized eminent domain for economic development in the New London, Ct Supreme Court decision. We KNOW the Dems are more than willing to push people out for "common green" (Repubs call that Big Govt), but all of the sudden, who is Big Govt now? So you want a city--at least your GOVT is "closer to the people".
Joe Seconder December 11, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Read up about the history of what transpired over the past 20 years in Decatur, & how they evolved. They removed an entire roadway that ran through the middle of what is now their "Town Square". Can you imagine the resistance from all sorts in doing this? But just look at how lovely and ALIVE it is today.


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