Smyrna mixed-use development gets approval, further building out Cobb Parkway corridor

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Jul. 20—A marquee mixed-use development steps from Truist Park and The Battery Atlanta was approved unanimously by the Smyrna City Council Monday.

The project will replace what developer RASS Associates called "a deteriorated and vacant office park" between I-285, Spring Road, and Cobb Parkway with 300 multi-family apartments, a 188-room Hilton hotel, and nearly 40,000 feet of retail space.

City leaders said prior to the vote the project had been a long time in the works.

"We've been working on this site probably since 2008," said Smyrna's Development Director Rusty Martin. "We denied an application that was sort of similar to this with the uses, but it was not as well designed ... So there has been a lot of work and a lot of discussion and input on this on this project."

The development comports with the city's long-term plans for the area. A 2017 study envisioned high-density residential development and office spaces for the site, with pedestrian bridges spanning Cobb Parkway and I-285 to connect with the Battery and Cumberland Mall. The design submitted by RASS includes a bridge over I-285 as a potential future addition, along with a bridge over Spring Road and public plazas.

"This property needs no introduction," attorney Garvis Sams said on behalf of RASS Monday night. "It's one of the four most important quadrants within the Cumberland (and) Galleria area. It's probably, it could be, the pivotal quadrant, I think."

Sams went on to argue the project will be "a true mixed-use development."

"I can't tell you how many times I see developments parading as mixed-use developments, that will have a small isolated component — there's retail or commercial, and maybe throw in some offices — and they're done with it," Sams said.

The pitch was met with approval by the council, and advanced without public opposition.

"This is a big project, right? It would be impactful for the city," said Councilman Tim Gould. "It's a project that goes a long way in meeting some aspects of the 2040 comprehensive plan."

Councilman Glenn Pickens said he hoped the project — estimated as a $125 million-plus investment — would come to complement the Battery.

"We've made significant changes, and I think we finally got a product that the community will be happy for," Pickens said.

As Sams alluded to, the project will now be the third mixed-use complex in the Cobb Parkway/I-285 corridor. In addition to the Battery, a mammoth redevelopment of Cumberland Mall including apartments, office towers, and retail is in the works.

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