Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough discusses the city's civic center proposal during a City Council retreat Jan. 14.
Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough discusses the city’s civic center proposal during a City Council retreat Jan. 14.

Sandy Springs City Council on Jan. 14 formally approved five potential developers for the city’s civic center project, which is expected to cost up to $159 million.

“We believe these firms are qualified to move into the next phase,” City Manager John McDonough told members of the council before the vote during a special called meeting in the middle of the council’s annual retreat.

The companies or collaborations will be asked to submit proposals on how the city center should be developed. City officials have proposed building a civic building that would include city offices and a 400-to-600-seat theater, housing and parks on property located at or near the intersection of Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads.

The city will review the proposals from the five and choose a development partner.

The five approved by the city are” Batson-Cook/Pope & Land; Carter/Selig Enterprises; MidCity Real Estate Partners/Morris and Fellows/John Weiland Homes/Pollack Shores Real Estate; North American Properties; and Seven Oaks Co./Orkin & Associates.

The council unanimously approved the list.

During the retreat, McDonough told council members the city already had approved $48 million for the civic center project’s first phase and that $111 million was needed. City officials have identified a variety of potential sources of funds, including a tax allocation district, bonds and the city’s hotel/motel tax, that would product a projected $146 million, he said.

Nine groups of companies responded to the city’s request for qualifications for the development job. A city committee reviewed the responses and narrowed the recommended list to the five approved by the council. “We were pleased with the response we got,” McDonough said.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.