Alpharetta faces the fork in the road

Today there will be a very important meeting of the Alpharetta Planning Commission. The commission will review the request by MetLife to convert their property on Haynes Bridge Road from an office complex to a high density Mixed Use Development.

This will be the third such mega development to have been brought before the planning commission in the last few years. The first two projects were Prospect Park on Old Milton Parkway (the enormous dirt pile which serves as the entrance to our fair city) and the Windward Mill project which was approved on Windward Parkway. Neither of those projects complied with Alpharetta’s long term land use plan and neither one has yet to be completed. In fact it is extremely unlikely that they will ever be developed as proposed given the drastic changes in the commercial real estate market in the past two years. But that won’t stop the city’s Community Development Department from foisting another of these projects on the unsuspecting citizens of Alpharetta.

I hope that as the City of Alpharetta considers approving the MetLife project they will take the time to read this article which was originally published in the Atlanta Journal when MetLife first came to Alpharetta:

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. held a grand opening this week for its headquarters in Alpharetta. The 81-acre campus, at Ga. 400 and Haynes Bridge Road in the Georgia 400 Center, is expected to hold some 800 employees in about two years. MetLife will occupy four of six floors and lease the rest. MetLife’s business in metro Atlanta includes pensions, brokerage, group insurance, real estate investments, disability insurance, securities and corporate investments. The company moved its corporate headquarters from Perimeter Center because of the increasing traffic problems there. MetLife sold Perimeter Center last year for $336 million.

The key section of the article says,”The company moved its corporate headquarters from Perimeter Center because of the increasing traffic problems there. MetLife sold Perimeter Center last year for $336 million.”

So in 1998 MetLife came to Alpharetta because they had developed the Perimeter Center of Sandy Springs into a concrete jungle with disastrous traffic. Now they would like to do the same here. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s review of the proposed MetLife project shows that it will take road improvements that cost 10’s of millions of dollars just to accommodate the extra 12,000 cars a day at that intersection.

I fully expect this project to be approved because influential business interests support it and our community development department is determined to cram enough people into Alpharetta to justify a billion dollar expansion of MARTA into this city. But it is sad to see this happening in my adopted hometown.

As a community we have come to a fork in the road. We can choose growth that compliments our attractiveness as a quiet place to raise families or we can choose growth that turns us into the next Perimeter Center.

I hope we choose the path less traveled but I’m not optimistic. Wonder how long it will be before we read an article notifying us that MetLife has sold their gridlocked property on Haynes Bridge Road and moved to Forsyth County?

If you care about this decision please contact city hall today 678 297-6000.

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2 thoughts on “Alpharetta faces the fork in the road

  1. Pingback: The Fork in the Road, Six Years Later | Alpharetta's GA Jim

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