Just like their neighbor to the south, Alpharetta is going to be getting it's own version of the Atlanta Beltline.
Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle unveiled plans for the first phase of the "Alpha Loop" this week at the 2017 State of the City Address . It will be approximately eight miles and it will connect the city's downtown to big projects including Avalon and the Big Creek Greenway.
The master plans for the new Alpha Loop was approved on February 20 by the Alpharetta City Council. "We want to get out of our cars and start walking around. Plus, we have our bike share program that we started last year. It's all an effort to make Alpharetta more pedestrian friendly," said City Councilman Jason Binders.
The Atlanta Beltline has created more than $1 billion in new developments along it's route such as the Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market and thousands of new apartments. Not only that, but the Beltline has created a sense of community between some of Atlanta's most popular intown neighborhoods.
According to Kathl Cook, Alpharetta's community development director, the city has issued nearly $1 billion worth of residential and commercial building permits, prompting the initiative to build the Alpha Loop.
Next steps are also being taken to further the development of Alpharetta's City Center project. The Atlanta-based MidCity Real Estate Partners and Morris & Fellows and South City partners are expected to break ground in March on the $80 million project that will add residential, office and retail space along downtown Alpharetta's Main Street.
There's almost 3 million square feet of office space along the Alpha Loop and that includes new office space. There's also nearly 230,000 square feet of new retail space and more than 1,100 apartments underway along the trail.
George Banks, a developer who worked on the Krog Street Market, is planning on brining five restaurants to a central courtyard patio at the former site of The Varsity. The new restaurants would sit along the Alpha Loop.
"We have already seen people and businesses start making their decisions based on the Alpha Loop," Bells Isle said. "We think some of the office workers are willing to hop on a bike and pedal downtown."
The Alpha Loop will be built in phases. The first phase would be building the "Inner Loop" which would be a 3-mile trail connecting the City Center to and through Avalon, south to Northwinds Parkway to connect to the Big Creek Greenway. This is estimated to cost $5.2 million and will be completed in about 18-24 months, according to developers.
Some possible funding sources for the project include TSPLOST and the Community Improvement District.
"All the land needed for the Inner Loop, we believe we can have donated," Bell Isle said.
A portion of the Inner Loop is already under construction along Thompson Street.
The second phase would be to add park space and public art along the Inner Loop and the third phase would construct the trail for the Outer Loop. This would run five miles from the City Center, along Academy Street, south along Ga. 400 to the Northwinds project and back up Haynes Bridge Road.
"My whole reason for running for office," Belle Isle said, "was because when you closed your eyes and thought of Alpharetta, there wasn't anything that symbolically or geographically tied people to the space. This plan to me is about drawing and gravitating people to the city. Alpharetta is a perfect city, and I think people will start to see that."