• Sandy Springs business owners wary about new municipal complex

    By: Mike Petchenik


    SANDY SPRINGS, Ga.,None - Even though Sandy Springs is already buying up land for a new municipal complex along Roswell Road, some are asking the mayor to make sure it's the right move.

    Will Smith's Master Kleen dry-cleaner has operated at the corner of Roswell Road and Mt. Vernon Highway for 43 years.

    "It's the only site like this in the whole city of Sandy Springs," Smith told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik.

    That's part of the reason why Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos and others hope to build a city hall complex at that location.

    The city already spent $8 million to buy up an old Target store, and Galambos said the city is in the process of acquiring other parcels of land around it.

    "We're trying to get the whole block," she told Petchenik.

    Galambos said the city is negotiating with landowners first, but hasn't ruled out eminent domain.

    "You don't exactly want a tattoo parlor as the entrance to your city complex," she said. "So, some of it is we want something people can be proud of."

    Smith said the city has been low-balling property owners on the land and he expects a legal fight if the city takes the land.

    "The council members have received a lot of pushback about spending the kind of money they want to spend here," Smith said.


    Councilman Chip Collins told Petchenik via email he wants to be sure the Target site is the best option on the table.

    "In my view, this is one of the most important decisions we will make as a city, so we need to make sure it is made as part of a deliberate and studied process and that we have considered every angle," Collins wrote.

    Collins said an expert planner will be reviewing ideas for the downtown.

    "I want to make sure that all options for our municipal complex are on the table for the planner to consider and advise us which location is most likely to achieve our goals," he wrote. "If we wind up building at the Target site, we can be that much more comfortable in our decision."

    On Feb. 10, the city will receive information from planners and developers with ideas about redeveloping the downtown area.

    Galambos said once that information comes in, it should put to rest concerns about the Target site.

    "I think the entire community wants us to move forward on the Target site," said Galambos. "They're invested in that site. They already picture and have visions of what it'll look like."

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