Dunwoody’s Urban Redevelopment Agency will begin negotiations with a commercial real estate services firm to market a 2.5-acre site as part of the city’s “Project Renaissance” redevelopment plan. 

At a May 26 meeting, the agency voted to move forward with hiring Colliers International. City staff will begin drafting a contract with Colliers in the coming weeks, said Economic Development Director Michael Starling. 

Project Renaissance, which the city approved in 2012, is a 35-acre redevelopment project along North Shallowford Road meant to revitalize the city’s Georgetown neighborhood by adding parks, trails, restaurants, and other commercial uses. The agency owns the land and is leading its redevelopment. 

Artist renderings from 2012 of key elements of the proposed Georgetown redevelopment, Project Renaissance.

The 2.5-acre parcel is the last piece of property the agency controls, according to Starling. Development of the site has hit obstacles. A food hall was once planned, but the developer drew out in 2019 when tenants were scarce. 

At both an April 8 meeting and the May 26 meeting, the agency expressed optimism that a restaurant-centric project could still work for the site. Starling said Colliers could help the agency with a “realistic proposal” and market the site to potential tenants. 

“They’re casting out as big a net as they possibly can, and they have the connections with not only the developers, but really the restaurateurs,” Starling said. “I think that’s where we’re headed. Instead of having a developer involved, there’s probably going to be two or three restaurateurs who come in and do this project.”

Following the April 8 meeting, the agency released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to invite firms with retail expertise to market the property. Starling said Colliers scored the highest among the selection committee, which was made up of himself and members of the agency. 

The agency agreed to hire Colliers, but still needs to draft a contract, which could take a couple of weeks. However, the agency said Colliers can begin contacting potential tenants.

“They may already have two or three organizations they have in mind that they want to begin to market the property to,” said agency member Kerry de Vallette. “It would be a matter of reaching out to them now … rather than wait for two weeks, four weeks, whatever it takes in order to get the final contract in place and perhaps miss the opportunity with one of those organizations that may be looking at other properties.” 

Starling said in two or three weeks, the agency will hold another meeting where it can finalize the contract and hear directly from Colliers representatives about their next steps.

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.