By John Schaffner

The merchants of Sandy Springs’ CityWalk shopping center may finally get the street signage identifying the stores and restaurants and the directional signage within the center they have been seeking for two years or more.

Much of the credit for pushing the center’s owner into moving the signage issue forward and discussing other possible improvements at the center should go to Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos and Nancy Leathers, the head of the city’s Community Development Department.

According to Leathers, a variance request to allow the signage is on the agenda of the Board of Zoning Appeals for its March 12 meeting and can be finalized at that time, providing the management of the center provides “just a couple of pieces of information” still sought by the city.

After attending a meeting with several of the CityWalk merchants in November, Galambos sought to find ways to get the owner of the center, M. Chu, to work with the merchants on the sign issue.

During the week of Feb. 6, Galambos and Leathers were able to sit down with Sandy Springs lawyer Louis Bridges, who represents the center’s owner and has an office on Lake Forrest Drive, and ReMax Commercial agent Dave Thomas, who represents the owner on a limited property management basis, to work out details of moving the variance process forward in an expedited manner.

Apparently, what brought the owner’s representatives to the table was that the city had issued citations for some minor code infractions at the center the past couple of months.

CityWalk’s management began the process a year or more ago of seeking a variance to allow the store names on the pylons for the center’s main signage along Hammond Drive and Sandy Springs Circle. But the request was never completed, and the application remained dormant.

During the recent meeting in the mayor’s office, Galambos urged Bridges to convey to the owner that the city agreed with the merchants that directional signage within the center area also was needed. She urged the lawyer to get the owner to commit to the internal signage improvements as well as to the main streetside signage.

Meanwhile, Julie Routenberg, owner of the Potpourri women’s apparel store at CityWalk, said she had a creative professional work up a design for the store signs to go on the main shopping center signs along Hammond Drive and Sandy Springs Circle. She said they are attractive and inexpensive and can be produced quickly.

Galambos said she also was told the owner is looking for new property management for CityWalk.