I was able to get a copy of the site plan today for Riverwalk Village and it looks pretty darn good. I'm seeing a lot more pros than cons as I dig in. It utilizes the land and geography nicely and puts appropriate development in the appropriate place. Here's the plan overlaid on Google Maps.
There are 16 different sections broken out into 7 different categories, each with a slightly different intent and purpose. I think they have largely gotten these right. Here are the descriptions for each according to the site plan along with my commentary.
- A1-A2 - Office District - This area is well located along the western edge to place it closest to 400 which was an intentional decision by the developer to keep the residential and retail further away from the highway. I'm curious about it being further south on the site though as there will be a lot of commuters driving through to get to the offices. That could be a positive for the retail and it would be great to be able to get out of the office and walk to the river during lunch break.
- B1 - Medium Density Residential (Townhomes & Single Family) - The residential is toned down from the East Roswell/Charlie Brown proposal from 2007. In fact, there are roughly half the number of units coming down to 1500+ from 3000. I don't see any single family on the site plan but the description calls for it. We'll see if that happens. I really like that this B1 parcel it is situated close to the river and what will eventually be more parks and trails in Riverwalk Village.
- C1-C8 - Mixed Use Development District (Residential & Non-Residential Uses, Such as Retail, Restaurant, Civic, Office, Multi-Family, Entertainment) - This one is a bit tough to envision but the obvious main point is that it will front what appears to be a Main Street that bisects the new development. This could create a great walkable street on the east side of town that currently has nothing at all close to a walkable urban street. Or.. It could end up looking plasticy and contrived like Town Brookhaven. It will hopefully take its inspiration from Serenbe, Downtown Woodstock and Glenwood Park. I like that there will be a small bridge crossing the lake.
- D1 (with alternate) - School or Alternate Residential District - This one is well played. The developer has to expect that their largest opposition is going to come from Martins Landing. This part of the property abuts 21 single family homes along Trailmore Dr & Trailmore Pl. So, they place a school that will cater to children with disabilities on the adjacent property. If for some reason, there is enough objection to the school, they have prepared option two which will be townhomes and multi-family from what I can tell. The one thing that seems a bit ridiculous is that the multi-family and the townhomes each have their own entrance/exit on to Old Alabama. There should be street connectivity between the properties.
- E1-E2 - Entertainment District (Restaurant, Retail, Grocery, Multi-Family) - Everyone loves entertainment. The lone rendering which I shared in my first post on Riverwalk is, from what I can tell along the lake in what looks to be E1. They've done an excellent job putting this area next to the lake and it appears they will utilize the water in an urban fashion actually building right up to it which differs significantly from most modern development which caters to the environmental memes of water quality protection at all costs. (One reason we can't develop much at all along the Chattahoochee). I'm thinking the water in the lake won't be as blue as the rendering depicts though. Whatever they've done, it sure does attract a lot of Rendering People though. Be prepared to be Entertained!
- F1 - Hotel District (Hotel, Civic, Multi-Family) - The articles and PR releases floating around are calling for a ~200 key hotel. That would give this new hotel 28 more rooms than the Doubletree. It will be positioned directly on the little lake. Once again, well thought out. Roswell needs this. Period!
- Greenspace - (Parks, Trails, Landscaping) - This is a huge plus for this development and I sure hope they get it right. There is a real opportunity to differentiate the development from virtually any other in Atlanta. Mixed-Use with a connection to the Chattahoochee River and the Roswell Riverside Trail. Wow! I'd like to see the city jump on the opportunity to finally connect the Big Creek Greenway to the River by somehow extending the trail from Big Creek Park down through this project and to the River. There aren't many details yet on the greenspace but given what they are doing with the rest of the property, I'm thinking this will be a win.
Our next post will take a look at transportation and potential traffic issues and after that, we'll hypothesize on what this means for Roswell and in particular, the Historic District given that it will have Avalon, Alpharetta City Center and now Riverwalk Village to compete with.