Avalon is a mixed-use town center that, in its first phase, includes retail, restaurant, multifamily rental housing, single-family for-sale housing, and office uses surrounding a main street and a central plaza. A second phase will add a hotel and conference center as well as additional retail, multifamily rental housing, and office space. The 2.3 million-square-foot (214,000 sq m) project is located in an affluent northern suburb of Atlanta on an 86-acre (33.5 ha) site. A previous developer had planned a similar concept for the site in the mid-2000s era but was unable to execute it.

[ Introduction | Development Background and Site | Development Finance | Planning and Design | Marketing, Management, and Leasing | Observations and Lessons Learned | Project Information ]

Alpharetta, Georgia, is an affluent community in the far northern suburbs of Atlanta that has a plethora of high-paying tech jobs and many upscale residential areas and gated communities. But as in many affluent suburban communities, residents spend a lot of time in their cars, often traveling to other parts of the metropolitan area to find restaurant and entertainment experiences and services. Although the community did have a historic downtown, the area had a distinct lack of walkable urbanism. Avalon was conceived and developed to address this gap in the market and was designed as a mixed-use town center that could offer many of the lifestyle and community amenities that were previously available only in places such as Midtown Atlanta.

The first phase of Avalon—completed in 2014—features 390,500 square feet (36,000 sq m) of experiential shopping and dining options, 105,400 square feet (9,800 sq m) of Class A loft office space, 250 luxury rental apartment units, and 101 single-family home sites. The developer has positioned the development as “the South’s first ‘urbanburb,’ a walkable, urban experience in a suburban setting, with a blend of curated uses that maximize the energy level of the property throughout the day and into the evening.” In designing Avalon, the developer focused on the human experience, rather than the buildings, with the goal of delivering “the luxury of time well spent.” Avalon was designed to serve both those who wanted to live and work in a more walkable setting and those from the surrounding residential areas who wanted to visit, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment in such an environment.

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Upon completion of Phase II, Avalon will feature an additional 88,400 square feet (8,200 sq m) of retail, 550,000 square feet (52,000 sq m) of Class A office towers, 276 luxury rental apartment units, and a 330-key hotel and conference center.

Development Background and Site
Founded in 1954, North American Properties (NAP) is a privately held, multiregional real estate operating company that has acquired, developed, and managed more than $5 billion of retail, multifamily, mixed-use, and office properties across the United States. The company’s first major experience with mixed-use properties occurred when it acquired Atlantic Station in Atlanta, a mixed-use property in Midtown that had been undertaken by a previous developer and then sold. Following acquisition, NAP set about filling empty retail spaces and vacant floors of office towers to improve performance.

NAP learned a lot from the Atlantic Station experience, and when the Avalon property became available, the company was ready to move on to a new mixed-use development. The idea for a town center on the site was initiated by Thomas Enterprises in the mid-2000s, and the development was called Prospect Park; however, the project was halted when the original developer lost funding during the depths of the Great Recession. The site was foreclosed on by the lender, Wachovia, which was later acquired by Wells Fargo. Thomas Enterprises had put a plan in place that was conceptually similar to Avalon, had begun site work, and had built a parking structure on the site. NAP acquired the property in July 2011 and decided to tear down the deck and create a new plan to respond to market demand, marking a new beginning for the two-phase project.

Avalon lies on 86 acres (33.5 ha) at the intersection of GA 400, Old Milton Parkway, and Westside Parkway in Alpharetta, one of the most affluent trade areas in the country. Alpharetta is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of downtown Atlanta, 20 miles north of the Buckhead area, and 14 miles (22.5 km) north of the Atlanta area’s I-285 perimeter highway. Home to many affluent households, Alpharetta, together with its surrounding area, is known as one of the leading technology cities of the South. The nearest competitive retail/lifestyle places, though very different in nature, are the North Point Mall and downtown Alpharetta, both a few miles away.

Retail leasing began in March 2012, site work commenced in January 2013, and construction financing was arranged in August 2013, when 75 percent of the retail space was leased. Vertical construction also started that month. Phase I opened in October 2014, and the multifamily residential was available for occupancy in November 2014. The Phase II opening is planned for April 2017, and the hotel and conference center opening is planned for January 2018.

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