Connolly Targeting Terrell Mill For Next Major Mixed-Use Project
By Jarred Schenke
The developer of two major mixed-use projects on the northern outskirts of Buckhead is heading for a hat trick, and it is trying to do it near the new home of the Atlanta Braves.
Connolly Investment & Development is headed to Cobb County’s Terrell Mill Road for its next mixed-use retail project, the third coming after Parkview on Peachtree in Chamblee and Dresden Village in Brookhaven Village off Dresden Drive. “It will be very similar to Parkview on Peachtree,” Connolly Investment & Development CEO J.R. Connolly said. Connolly, which is in partnership with Eden Rock Real Estate Partners, the group developing the $25M Westside Village at Moores Mill, will raze the existing Brumby Elementary School and a single-story office complex next door. In its place will be a new development expected to cost roughly $120M.
So far, a major grocery store has signed a letter of intent to occupy the space, Connelly said, but he declined to identify the retailer. Sources familiar with the project said the developers are in talks with The Kroger Co. to replace a much older store up the road from the site. The developers go before the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for their rezoning request this September. Connolly, along with Brandon Ashkouti, a partner at Eden Rock, likened development in the area to what happened on Powers Ferry Road. Terrell Mill is somewhat of a “’tweener market,” Ashkouti said, sandwiched between the affluent East Cobb area and the surging The Battery at SunTrust Park and Galleria market. While some new projects have sprouted up in the area, Connolly said the Terrell Mill corridor in the immediate area is still filled with retail and commercial buildings from the 1970s and ’80s.
The project is slated to include about 212K SF of commercial space, including restaurants, retail and climate-controlled storage facilities, according to development of regional impact plans filed with the Georgia Department of Community Development, which oversees proposed development projects that will have a regional impact. The developers also plan to partner with a multifamily firm to deliver a 350-unit project connected to the property, similar to what Connolly did with Terwilliger Pappas at Parkview, he said. Connolly is one of a handful of developers launching new retail projects in metro Atlanta at a time when retail overall is being gutted by mass store closings. But not all projects are facing the same struggles. Newer mixed-use projects, particularly those in the urban core, are finding the most favor from retailers. And grocery-anchored centers, spurred on by retailers clamoring for market share, especially newer entries such as Aldi and Lidl, seek new areas to stake claims. As of the first quarter of this year, more than 3.4M SF of new retail space was under construction in metro Atlanta, according to data compiled by CoStar Group. At the same time, Atlanta’s retail market saw the strongest first quarter of leasing in three years with companies leasing nearly 600K SF more than they gave up. That pushed the vacancy rate to 8.5%, the city’s lowest in a decade, according to data compiled by Colliers International. Assuming permits are granted, Connolly and Eden Rock are expected to deliver the project by 2019, according to documents.