North Fulton “Marketplace 2.0” Study Complete

The North Fulton CID, along with Council Member Kimley-Horn and Associates, have released the recently completed “Marketplace 2.0” Study for the North Fulton CID. Council members had the opportunity to hear the primary findings of the study at the Council’s last North Fulton Advisory Committee on Friday, October 4th. Both the study and the presentation provided a wealth of information helpful to anyone interested in moving into or developing in the North Fulton area. Below are a few major takeaways from the Study.

Since its inception, the North Fulton CID has been very successful – leveraging $15 million of commercial property owners’ funds to advance over $78 million worth of transportation and infrastructure improvements – and involving 11 projects in partnership with various municipalities, organizations, and corporations since 2008.

The original CID Blueprint created in 2008 helped to develop North Fulton by:

–        Clarifying the CID’s vision and establishing criteria to help prioritize CID investments

–        Modernizing land use patterns reinforced in local Transportation and Land Use Plans

–        Advancing a lengthy list of transportation improvements and quality of life enhancements

–        Paving the way to continued economic investment and growth in North Fulton

However, even with these tools, North Fulton still faces the challenges of changing market forces, slow progress in implementing land use changes, and continued traffic and mobility challenges.

The purpose of this new “Market 2.0” study and the resulting Blueprint 2.0 Master Plan Update is to help to facilitate future growth and develop in the North Fulton area by defining the opportunities that will shape CID investments for the next 7-10 years. By comparing and studying known demographic and market shifts in North Fulton since 2000 along with possible projections of future growth, the North Fulton CID seeks to target future development efforts to meet emerging needs in the area.

For example, demographic data shows that there is an increase in renter-occupied share in the market area, while limited new apartment construction in North Fulton indicates conversion of single-family housing to rental housing. Looking at market projections, the population of North Fulton could increase by 55,940 people by 2025, or an annual growth rate of 1.6%. These and other trends indicate that the CID could add approximately 3,770 new housing units to the North Fulton area by 2025.

Furthermore, market trends and analysis are revealing that the type of office space desired by employers is changing – an important point to note given that rents in North Fulton from 2000-2012 have been lower and vacancy higher than the Atlanta area overall.

In ensure the most successful future development, the “Market 2.0” study examined three comparable corridors through the continental United States – Plano/Allen, Dallas, TX; Reston/Sterling, VA; and SE Suburban Denver, CO – in order to compare and contrast successful development models. These corridors have experienced sustained economic success and tax base growth, in addition to sharing several other characteristics with North Fulton County, Georgia.

Based off of this analysis of these three corridors in comparison with North Fulton, the “Market 2.0” Study identified the following attributes of successful development models:

  • Numerous modes of transportation
  • Pedestrian-oriented destination
  • Master planned mix of uses
  • Housing is important element
  • Passive and active open space
  • Local government incentives and/or participation
  • Design standards with developer incentives

As a result of these findings, the North Fulton CID is working to establish a platform that enhances the area’s economic competitiveness; making significant investments to increase vehicular connections; and acknowledging Avalon as the development form of the future. Moving forward, future projects will include:

  • More fully leveraging the GA 400 interchanges by focusing activity into compact centers that carry brand recognition regionally and nationally
  • Addressing the jobs/housing imbalance with mixed-use developments that includes housing in pedestrian oriented formats; allowing intensity that justifies structured parking
  • Planning with future transit service in mind, recognizing that the market will respond with what is economically feasible before and after service is established; and
  • Creating a planning framework and infrastructure with flexibility to morph over time.

To view the full “Market 2.0” presentation, click here.