Technology Park has been a key piece of the city’s economic infrastructure. Over 80% of the city’s office product is located in the Technology Park campus, yet much of the stock was built in the 1980s and follows an older suburban business park land use pattern with low density buildings surrounded by parking. High office vacancy rates and average retail vacancy rates suggest that there is an opportunity to reimagine the land use mix in Technology Park to adapt to changing work trends while providing an amenity-rich environment that is attractive to innovative companies and next-generation talent.
The Johns Creek Town Center challenged City Staff, elected officials, and planning consultants to think differently and approach a holistic planning process that addressed the community’s vision while grounded in reality. Given the study area’s unique circumstances and the need to rethink Johns Creek’s future, the Town Center Vision & Plan assessed land use, economic development, parks and open space, transportation and mobility, and placemaking to align the community’s vision with Technology Park’s potential.
Engaging the Community
The planning team began by listening to the community form a vision for the new Town Center. Listening, educating the public, and collaborating are strategies utilized to create long-term advocates for the Johns Creek Town Center. With the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor, the planning team had to be creative with public outreach. The team offered highly effective, multi-faceted, mostly virtual engagement options, including a project website, online surveys, stakeholder and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings, community meetings, staff-led downtown tours (Alpharetta, Duluth, Milton, and Suwanee) and a four-day design charrette.
Studying the Market
An economic and real estate market analysis was used to create a market-driven development program for the Johns Creek Town Center which provided a baseline understanding of land uses that have the greatest viability for development in the Study area and demonstrates both the short-term and long-term opportunities for the Town Center Plan. Current residential, office, retail, hotel, and supplementary uses were analyzed in Johns Creek, North Atlanta, and the Metro Atlanta region to understand development challenges and opportunities. The market-driven development program informs what the appropriate mix, size, and phasing should be for the future Johns Creek Town Center, and ensures that the plan is supported by both the public and the local development community.
Connecting the Dots
The planning team synthesized market-based development scenarios and produced high-quality graphics to help the community visualize the proposed land use mix, scale, and overall experience through renderings, building massing, and videos. Given the major undertaking for the city, planners also created and vetted a phasing plan for capital improvements and catalytic projects to guide decision-makers and economic development professionals in realizing Technology Park’s full potential as Johns Creek’s vibrant Town Center.
The City of Johns Creek has been eager to implement elements of this vision, and has recently gained traction in a couple of big ways! The creekside park identified in the plan is currently in the design phase. The City hopes to feature pedestrian pathways, boardwalks, to promote connectivity and an amphitheater to host community events. The City has also attracted a local developer, Toro Development Company, to execute a 43-acre mixed-use development on the northeastern portion of the study area called “The Medley.” Planned development includes around 200,000 square feet of retail, 110,000 square feet of office space, and 900 residential units with pedestrian connections to the rest of the Johns Creek Town Center and the greater community. For more information and to keep track of the City’s progress, visit the website.