The article was originally posted Jul 13, 2020 on MDJ Online – https://www.mdjonline.com/cobb_business_journal/the-next-big-thing/article_08dc4040-bf8f-11ea-a831-c3aba153fece.html
Contact: Katy Ruth Camp, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cumberland Mall in Smyrna is about to get a major facelift.
Since Sears Holdings closed its Sears store in Cumberland Mall in the fall of 2018, along with the freestanding building holding the Sears Auto Center directly across from it, the site has been the source of much speculation for potential new tenants and/or redevelopment.
Round1 Bowling & Amusement has continued to move forward with its plans to occupy the entire bottom floor of the former Sears building, as it was recently issued permits by the county to complete its $6 million buildout of the 80,000-square-foot space. The top floor is also set for redevelopment with the installation of a Dick’s Sporting Goods & Golf Galaxy.
But the large parcel across from it and behind what was once the Sears Auto Center is about to become unrecognizable, in a good way. Brookfield Properties, which owns the mall and much of its surrounding space, has submitted plans for a project that would include 445,000 square feet of office space, 31,200 square feet of retail and restaurants, a bus transit station, a fire station, an 8-level public parking deck, a 312-unit apartment complex and two 10-story office towers.
Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott, whose district includes the project area, said the developers came to him about a year ago with the concepts and originally planned to put up an apartment complex only, but that he thought something more robust was needed there.
“I told him to consider the possibility of having a fire station there, because we’ve really needed a location in that area for one for a while, and also a transit station. There’s a kiss and ride there now (an area where passengers can be dropped off and picked up to ride Cobb Community Transit buses), but this would be more of a true train station, with 10 bays for buses and it being part of the overall complex,” Ott said.
Ott said the county had been looking for a location a fire station in the area long before Truist Park and The Battery Atlanta were developed, but it never came to fruition because the county couldn’t find the right parcel of land. But the new fire station would service the Braves stadium and surrounding areas, if approved and built. Ott said he couldn’t comment on his thoughts on the overall project as it is still set to come before commissioners for approval, but that a new fire station to service residents and business owners in the area, as well as more transit options for the area, could be a plus for the area.
“I think it’s an interesting proposal with a true transit station, and a new fire house would be great for the county,” Ott said. “The transit station would be an improvement over the kiss and ride, and any time we can improve connectivity is a good thing, because that’s something we hear from residents all time – that we need connectivity.”
Cobb County Zoning Division Manager John Pederson said the proposal will likely be considered during the August zoning commission and board of commissioners meetings, but that it could possibly be delayed due to reviews by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The project’s application for rezoning lists the hearing dates as Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Kevin Moore of Marietta’s Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele is listed as Brookfield’s attorney for the rezoning.
Ott said the project, if approved, would likely be done in phases. Submitted plans show Phase 1 as the area at the corner of Akers Mill Road and Cumberland Boulevard, which would include the parking complex, two amenity areas, a five-level parking garage and a 5,000-square-foot retail space. Phase 2, the area at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Akers Mill Road, would include one of the office towers, a 6-level parking structure and two freestanding retail buildings. Phase three would run along Cumberland Boulevard and include the fire station, bus terminal, public parking deck, the other office tower and two retail spaces.
Representatives from Brookfield Properties could not be reached for comment.