JOHNS CREEK, Ga. —The City of Johns Creek hosted a community kickoff meeting Jan. 28 to discuss plans for a proposed town center.
Technology Park, the 192-acre site that includes the current City Hall, was identified as the front-runner in the comprehensive plan update adopted in 2018.
The area, while not along a major highway, sits near Medlock Bridge Road and McGinnis Ferry Road. Technology Park is also made up of arterial collectors, such as Johns Creek Parkway.
The space is much larger than town centers in nearby cities. Downtown Duluth is 46-acres. Alpharetta’s City Center sits on 26 acres.
Johns Creek currently owns 27 acres of the Technology Park site.
Community Development Director Ben Song said the city will work with private property owners during the process to get the buy-in that's needed to form a community focal point.
Currently, the city is in the initial stages of a five-stage plan — listening to the community and accessing the opportunities for the town center.
The ultimate goal in the early going is to create a strategic blueprint for a vibrant town center that addresses land use and economic development, parks and open space, transportation and urban design.
Andrew Fayn, a project consultant from MXD Development Strategies, said they are working to access what will bring the most business and enjoyment to the town center. He said they are addressing everything from the brick-and-mortar locations to live entertainment and even job opportunities.
Fayn said MXD is comparing how businesses perform in other North Metro Atlanta locations such as Alpharetta and Forsyth County. He said the process is to just get an idea of what is working, not necessarily to copy what other cities are doing.
“We want this town center to be unique for Johns Creek,” he said.
As with other mixed-use locations, such as Alpharetta’s City Center and Avalon, and Forsyth County’s Halcyon, Fayn said he thinks there will need to be a housing component to the town center.
Other elements discussed include retail, office space, food and beverage and walking trails. While there are currently dining options in the area, the plan is for more unique locations to be in the town center. Consultants said they would like to incorporate Johns Creek’s diverse cultural make-up into the location.
Residents provided some ideas during the meeting, including lakeside restaurants and ideas for potential architecture flavors. Some also expressed concern around struggling retail and food and beverage companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the city gathers input and works to create a strategic blueprint for the town center, officials say the project won’t wrap up overnight. Fayn said they are being cautious and considering the COVID-19 pandemic in their work.
“We understand that due to COVID-19, there are certain things that we have to think about,” Fayn said. “But at the same time, this is a potentially 10- to 20-year plan that we're looking at here, it's not going to happen overnight.”
The city is still looking for input from Johns Creek residents. Those interested can provide their feedback and ideas through a survey and interactive map on JCTownCenter.com until Feb. 12.