Business Chronicle-“$70M project to launch revamp of East Cobb corridor”-1/20/17

by Amy Wenk
January 20, 2016

A roughly $70 million shopping center planned for East Cobb could be the latest target for The Kroger Co. as it continues to invest in new metro Atlanta stores.


A joint venture of Connolly Investment & Development and Eden Rock Real Estate Partners is proposing the development at the northwest corner of Terrell Mill and Powers Ferry roads, just a few miles from the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park.

From left, J.R. Connolly and Brandon Ashkouti are partnering on the project.


According to sources, Kroger would anchor the project with a new 95,000-square-foot store, including a fuel center. The developers, however, said they could not comment on prospective tenants. And Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins said he could not comment.


The project would also include retail shops, restaurants and about 50 townhomes. It would come to a 23-acre site at a busy intersection that’s languished due to a lack of new investment.


“Some of the commercial space in this area has deteriorated into less than prime retail,” said Timothy “J.R.” Connolly II, president and CEO of Connolly.

“This project will launch the redevelopment of this corridor,” added Brandon Ashkouti, partner of Eden Rock. “This neighborhood is long overdue for Class-A retail, and we’re excited to have a great location and site large enough to make a meaningful impact.”


The developers currently have the property under contract and hope to break ground in mid-2018. It includes several properties, such as Brumby Elementary School, which will be relocated.


The site also houses the circa-1974 Powers Ferry Business Park.


David Andes and I felt like Brandon Ashkouti and J.R. Connolly were the right buyers to be able to pull off this extremely time-consuming and complicated transaction,” said Steve Farrar, senior vice president with Newburger-Andes, which has owned the 5.4-acre business park since 1988. “We rarely sell real estate. But, we realized to unlock the potential of that corner, we’d have to look at redeveloping it.”


Some community leaders believe the new shopping center could be a major catalyst for redevelopment along the corridor.


“We want a village center, a heart for our community,” said Sheri George, a board member of the Powers Ferry Corridor Alliance. “We definitely see Connolly as a major piece of our redevelopment puzzle that we hope will set an example.”


The project comes as Cobb County sees a wave of new investment surrounding SunTrust Park, from new office buildings to hundreds of apartments.


It also comes as transportation officials plan major improvements in the area, including a proposed 0.8-mile, four-lane thoroughfare that would connect Windy Hill and Terrell Mill roads. There are also plans to add an express lane exit off Interstate 75 at Terrell Mill.


“The population density is there for additional grocery,” said Leslie Collins with Cobblestone Retail Group, who has worked with grocers including Sprouts Farmers Markets. “I think everything happening around SunTrust Park will elevate the area. It will ripple through the area over the next 10 years.”


Connolly is the same developer behind a mixed-use project in Chamblee called Parkview on Peachtree, which includes 40,000 square feet of street-front shops and restaurants, along with loft office space and 500 apartments.


Eden Rock is underway on a new $25 million development called Westside Village at Moores Mill. The 100,000-square-foot project is bringing new shops and restaurants to an emerging area called the Upper West Side. That project sits on a nearly 10-acre site along Marietta Boulevard, walkable to thousands of new homes and a Publix store set to open in June.


Amy Wenk covers hospitality, retail and restaurants.