The Sandy Springs City Council awarded a $307,260 contract to architect firm TSW for the designs of four shopping centers in the North End at a Dec. 3 meeting.

Mayor Rusty Paul made it a point to clarify that the designs will not be set in stone and the four projected sites are not necessarily the ones to be developed.

“These are illustrations,” Paul said at the meeting. “We are not designing specifically what we want to see on these specific sites.”

A work session was also slated at the meeting for city staff to present a proposed “zone” for the North End revitalization, but the session was removed from the agenda on the city’s website before the meeting with no discussion.

City spokesperson Sharon Kraun said the work session was removed because the presentation was not ready and that the zone will be explained in the presentation when it is ready.

“When it’s ready, it will go before council,” Kraun said.

The idea of redeveloping the shopping centers follows a lengthy process and report from the city-formed North End Revitalization Task Force, which sought ways to spur redevelopment as well as retain and create affordable housing.

The design includes plans for four shopping centers in the North End: the former Loehmann’s Plaza, 8610 Roswell Road; the Northridge Shopping Center, 8331-8371 Roswell Road; the North River Shopping Center, 8765-8897 Roswell Road; and the Big Lots Center, 7300 Roswell Road.

The original RFP, which was issued in July, was delayed for a vote at an August meeting, where it was said that it would return in a non-voting work session. But instead, the procurement was canceled altogether.

TSW is required to design a total of 12 plans, three for each shopping center. One design will conform to the city’s Development Code, one will potentially require variances and the third will be “unique” and would not be bound by any code requirements, according to the procurement.

The RFP also requires the contractor to hold at least two public meetings: one at the beginning of the plan to take public input; and the second at the end to display the preferred conceptual plans. At least one meeting must also be held at each of the properties, the document said. The designs will also include the estimated cost.

Kraun said the design process will take place in 2020.

The redevelopment effort is based on a report by the city’s North End Revitalization Task Force, which was chaired by District 2 Councilmember Steve Soteres.

“There [are] a lot of opportunities up there,” Soteres said at the meeting. “It seems like a lot of excitement starting to percolate.”

Hannah Greco

Hannah Greco is writer and media communications specialist based in Atlanta.