The City of Sandy Springs on March 6 hired a firm that will help the city realize its vision for downtown redevelopment.

During its regular meeting, the City Council awarded a $350,000 contract to Boston-based firm Goody Clancy. Goody Clancy has a resume that includes development of the downtown master plan for Asheville, N.C., and a plan to revitalize the Denver, Colo., lower downtown district. The firm has also worked with the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. The vote was unanimous and council members said the company’s resume is impressive.

The (evaluation) team felt like they did a very good job of having done their homework about Sandy Springs,” City Manager John McDonough told the council.

The firm is made up of 85 employees with backgrounds in architecture, planning, preservation and urban design. It has offices in both Boston and Washington D.C., according to the company’s website.

Our work has been published extensively and has won numerous accolades for design excellence from such groups as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the United Nations, the Urban Land Institute, and the Congress for the New Urbanism,” the firm says on its website. “We have won more than 100 design awards, including six national AIA Honor awards.”

The contract also includes the city’s 10-year downtown Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) update.

The city put out the request for qualifications on Jan 5, seeking a firm that will help transform part of Roswell Road into the heart of the city. The downtown redevelopment project will be centered a municipal complex the city currently intends to build at 235 Johnson Ferry Road. The city paid $8 million for the 6.9 acre site in 2008. Some members of the City Council have questioned whether this parcel, which formerly operated as a Target store, is still the best site for a future City Hall.  Council members have said the city might be able to explore alternatives to the Target site through the process of developing the downtown plan.

The city staff recommended the firm after reviewing 12 proposals in response to the RFQ. There was a 13th proposal that was disqualified.

The city appointed an evaluation team to review the proposals. Its members were McDonough, the city manager; Assistant City Attorney Cecil McLendon; retired community development director Nancy Leathers; Planning Commission Chairman Lee Duncan and Public Works Director Kevin Walter.

McDonough told the council he’d like the city to kick off the downtown planning process with the firm at the City Council’s March 27 retreat.

I’d like to commend staff on this process and how pleased I am with the quality of responses we got,” Councilwoman Dianne Fries said. 

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of