The Dunwoody Urban Redevelopment Agency is seeking a retailer to help market a 2.5-acre parcel that is part of Dunwoody’s “Project Renaissance” redevelopment plan.

The city approved the Project Renaissance redevelopment back in 2012 as a way to revitalize its Georgetown neighborhood with parks, trails and commercial uses. The redevelopment area sits on about 35 acres along North Shallowford Road. The URA owns the land and is responsible for encouraging said redevelopment. 

Economic Development Director Michael Starling said this piece of land, which sits at 4400 North Shallowford Road, is the final piece of property the agency controls. The site has caused trouble for the agency in the past — a food hall was originally planned for the site, but in 2019 the developer, Crim & Associates, withdrew from the concept after they had trouble finding tenants.

a map's view of 4400 North Shallowford Road
A map view of the site at 4400 North Shallowford Road.

At the URA’s April 8 meeting, it approved a “request for qualifications,” or RFQ, which would invite experienced retail firms to apply to market the property. The URA would then select one of the firms to represent them to potential developers, said Starling. 

According to the RFQ, the selected firm would be responsible for helping the URA to identify an appropriate use for the site and with all marketing materials. The proposed RFQ required the firm to assist with a future sale contract, but the board amended that language to include the possibility of a lease. A ground lease is an agreement which allows a tenant to develop a piece of property during the lease period, which is usually more long-term. 

Firms that wish to apply are required to send in a description of their services, resumes of their team, any experience in commercial real estate marketing, references, a proposed marketing plan and a proposed commission fee. 

The board discussed the possibilities of what could be planned, with some board members highlighting the prospect of widening the scope of ideas for the site. But, despite the failure of the food hall concept, the board seemed optimistic about trying for a restaurant-centric development, but perhaps with fewer units. 

“We had one organization that tried to do these things, and they couldn’t pull it off,” said Chairman Ken Wright. “But as we get an agency to come in and represent us and the property and go out wide with this … personally I still think a restaurant play is extremely doable.” 

Starling said that the deadline for firms to submit would be three weeks after the RFQ is sent out. He said he should be able to send that out by April 13, putting the deadline in early May. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.