I meant to put this together last month but unfortunately this part-time blogger just didn’t have enough time. Anyway, it’s always interesting to take a look into the crystal ball and see where we will be in the future. This year, we are going to take a stab at what will happen in Roswell and around the metro area in 2012 as well as recap some of the bigger changes we've seen in and around the Historic District. It's shaping up to be an interesting year in many ways. Check out our recap, thoughts and predictions in each of the areas below:
2011 Recap - Keep up the Good Work Roswell!
- Midtown Streetscape - Initial work has been completed and is a great improvement.
- Norcross|Grimes|Warsaw Roundabout - This has been a huge hit.
- Oak Street Streetscape Improvements - This came together nicely. The street no longer looks like an industrial dump.
- Wayfinding and Road Signs - These have added even more character to the HD.
- Info Kiosks - Well done, they still need to get the info on them but the kiosks and the maps look great.
- Improved Bus Stops - These are a great improvement for the neighborhood.
- Table & Main - A great addition to the Roswell Restaurant Scene.
- Roswell Provisions - How can you not love this place? Nice addition to Canton St.
- Roswell Tap - This was a good addition along hwy 9. We miss suburbanite pizza but we'll take the tap.
- Roswell Restaurant Week - The 1st annual event was a hit.
- Renew Social Ventures - The rehab of their building has been well done and we appreciate what the organization is doing.
Food Access - One of the biggest obstacles to making the Historic District a vibrant living spot is the lack of a walkable or bikable grocery store. We think there may be an announcement sometime in 2012 about a small(er) grocery store going in somewhere near the HD. Unfortunately, it won’t be a Trader Joe’s or a locally owned market. A Fresh Market would be good or even a Publix GreenWise Market. However, it will most likely be a Walmart Neighborhood Market. So, our HD might just be graced with the beautiful tan and green color scheme that WMNM's are trying to force feed their new suitors. I'll stop griping now and dream about riding my bike to the grocery store.
Restaurants - No new restaurants will open in the old Pico/Relish spot, the old Red Building or in the Old NOLA building on the square side of the Historic District. We do think there is and off chance that someone may try to open a cafe in the spot where Wedding Angels used to be. There’s already a kids cupcake place (Gluten Free Cuties) going into one half of that space. We think at least one restaurant on Canton Street will close but we’re not sure which. Nine will continue to disappoint on the quality of food. Table & Main will keep moving up the list of top spots and may become another entrant to regional lists (Salt Factory #91 on Jezebel Magazine's top 100 & Greenwood's Atlanta Magazines top 50 have made some lists recently)
Locally Grown Food - A community garden will open in the Historic District... maybe at Barrington Hall?
Farmer’s Market - The saturday farmer’s market at city hall formerly known as the Riverside Farmer’s Market will stay put even though we think it would be a bigger draw if it moved to either the Canton Street Antique Market parking lot or to the square. The city’s allowance of additional markets (i.e. Sweet Apple Village) will cannibalize business and potentially end the one at city hall.
Historic Square Sidewalks - We will finally have completed sidewalks along the square and around Barrington Hall. Or at least mostly completed sidewalks. Construction is slated to start sometime this month. Oh yeah.. we’ll get some nice new traffic light poles as well which will take some of the unsightly wires out of the air.
Historic Gateway Project - Option 3a will be approved and the people at Creekview Village condos will go berzerk because they will lose their tennis court... The anti-roundabout camp will come out in full force and there will be a prolonged battle to get this redevelopment project going. The truth is, this design has the potential to be truly transformational for the HD. However, one thing that is a MUST is on street parking. We'll probably know this year whether GDOT will allow that. If they don't, everyone should oppose this option as it won't work.
Building a Network - Work will continue on the plans for the Oxbo Rd realignment and Elm Street Connection to Oxbo. However, no actual work will start for another couple of years. We are very excited about this initiative.
Historic Gateway Master Plan - DPZ, the world renowned team that designed Seaside, will completely rock the master plan for the historic district laying the groundwork for Roswell to become the best place to live in the northern burbs as well as a regional destination. Some might say we are now but we don't have a grocery store and if we are to be a destination and at a minium we need a hotel to be a destination. To get this all started, we just need to find the private investment. Hmm.. Maybe the DDA can work on that.
Form-Based Code - Roswell’s first form-based code will officially be approved for the Groveway Community. This will be another huge event in ushering in a new age for Historic Roswell and it will hopefully become a trend in the Atlanta area.
Downtown Development Authority - Our prediction is that the DDA will focus too much on large empty shopping centers along Holcomb Bridge and the HD will be a smaller part of what the initial design for the DDA was before the opportunity zone was expanded.
Tax Increment Financing - The newly formed DDA will start to talk about implementing TIF in the revitalization area but nothing official will happen. We need to be very careful with this tool.
Civic & Community
Alive After 5 - Our premiere event will continue to thrive and there will be a strong push to close down Canton Street during the event. We think it should be closed from Norcross St to the Hwy 9 intersection from 5-8pm. There has been a push for this recently after a teen was hit by a car last year.
Riverside Park Area - Plans will be finalized for two projects.. the extension of the riverside trail will be approved despite NIMBY and Environmental Concerns. The design plans for the bike/pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee River will be finalized and approved. Some think this is a waste of money and there will probably be a little bit of a fight. We love the idea but think the bridge design will be a disappointment to some.
Same ‘ole Same ‘ole - Other than the shops along Canton St continuing to do what they do, we don’t expect to see much going on in non-food related retail this year. We’d love to see Roswell Bikes open up shop in the Historic District (where the old soccer store(s) used to be) but that’s just wishful thinking. We’d also love to see something other than thrift shops open up...
Large Employer Void - We don’t expect any major announcements here but we do expect the city to court a large employer to move operations to the historic district in conjunction with the Groveway neighborhood revitalization plan. The mayor's recent annual state of the city speech to the Roswell Kiwanis was an indicator that the city is going to push economic development in 2012. Additionally the formation of the Roswell Business Alliance last year and DDA will help but we won't see much movement this year.
Development Revitalization - Several developments will get new life. We are guessing that there may be some action on foreclosed Vickery Falls development just south of Chaplain's on South Atlanta Street due to the prime location and the added focus on cleaning up the area around the square. This could push out into 2013.
Goulding Estate for Sale - The $8.75M, 16 acre Goulding Estate will not move this year. However, when it does in 2013, the land will be subdivided into ridiculously expensive smaller lots. We think the the original building will remain intact and potentially become another event facility (we don't need more though).
Charlie Brown Part Deux or Trois?- Someone will make a pitch for the old Charlie Brown parcel on the southeast corner of 400 and HBR. Citizens on the east side of town will say it will ruin their lives by increasing congestion and bringing crime to Roswell in the form of nefarious transit riders.
Around the Metro Area
Transit Bill - TSPLOST will pass (barely) and Cobb county will still have no idea how to get its collective act together.
Ponce City Market - Work will begin on Ponce City Market late in the year. This will be a huge step in the continued revitalization of the Old 4th Ward.
Avalon (formerly known as Prospect Park) Alpharetta - The development that I like to call The Avenue Avalon will gain approval from the Alpharetta council with two dissenting votes even though the development would further tilt Alpharetta's target ratio of apartments in the city above the 85/15 ratio that is approved in the city's comp plan. Stay tuned for the March 26 Alpharetta City Council meeting. North American Properties will begin work later in the year.
The Beltline - The trail portion of the Beltline that connects Piedmont Park to the New 4th Ward Park will open up and will become an instant hit amongst locals and non-locals. We will see a more formal timeline of transit implementation after the Transit Bill is passed this summer.
The Atlanta Streetcar - Love it or Hate it, construction will start this year!
Boondoggle Field at Art Blank Stadium - This true taxpayer ‘boondoggle’ will continue to be pushed even though no NFL stadium has EVER created a net positive economic impact. Paying half a billion for something that will be used ~10x/year just isn’t a wise decision.
The Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal (aka The Gulch) - We will see the initial vision of this project toward the end of the year. Long range economic impact estimates were already released and the number look very positive.
Well, that's it! If you made it this far, you're a true NUR fan. Thanks and have a great (rest of) 2012!