New mixed-use development will center on outdoor space

Forsyth County workers, residents and visitors are eagerly anticipating the scheduled March 2019 opening of Halcyon, a $370 million, 135-acre mixed-use project that will include more than a dozen restaurants, two hotels and other amenities.

Atlanta Business Chronicle spoke with Phil Mays, principal with RocaPoint Partners, the developers of Halcyon, for the latest on the project.

What led you to Forsyth County for this project? Forsyth County is one of the fastest growing and affluent counties in the U.S. When selecting the location for the project, we wanted to choose somewhere that would offer a unique setting for a mixed-use development that was unparalleled in the current community. Forsyth County provided the perfect location to introduce a wide variety of mixed-use amenities. With a diverse retail mix, outdoor spaces, loft office spaces and residential offerings, Halcyon will fit into the Forsyth area and introduce an unprecedented mixed-use experience. Forsyth County also offered sites with direct access to the Big Creek Greenway, which was an important part of our selection for Halcyon. Trail-oriented developments not only promote a healthy, active lifestyle for residents, employees and visitors, but they also historically achieve attractive returns for investors.

Who are your partners in this project and how are you all working together? RocaPoint and The Georgetown Company are leading the development. Our partners for Halcyon include Wakefield Beasley and Associates, Paulson Mitchell, JLL, Newmark Knight Frank and Winter Construction. Greystar is developing two multifamily buildings and Heritage Hospitality is developing two hotels, while Monte Hewett Homes and Edward Andrews Homes are building single-family homes and townhomes. We’re all working well together, though the site is definitely busy as we are all focused on the March 23 2019 opening date. It takes a tremendous amount of planning and open communication, and all the teams meet regularly to manage this process.

How did you come to determine what types of amenities would be part of Halcyon? We wanted to focus on the outdoor vision of the project. With the Big Creek Greenway being such a central component to Halcyon, we wanted to create a place where members of the community could walk along the Greenway, and then have the chance to walk around the retail shops, like Canoe and Totally Running, or drink a beer from Cherry Street Brewing. With Halcyon, we wanted to focus on a variety of amenities where guests could seamlessly embrace the outdoors, whether that is the Greenway, green spaces or sitting on the patio of one of the several restaurants or Market Hall, which is designed to be an open, airy building. The wi-fi connected pocket parks create a chance for office tenants to work outdoors and take a break from the confines of office space. As nature is the forefront of Halcyon’s vision and design, we focused on creating areas that would provide opportunities for outdoor activities, gatherings and other health-and-wellness-centered offerings.

Why do you think Halcyon is so highly anticipated in the area? Halcyon is bringing a new vision of a mixed-use development to the community. During our planning, we looked at how we could bring the most value to the area. By focusing on bringing in experienced chefs, new-to-market retail and restaurants, as well as regional favorites, we are creating a natural gathering spot for the area. With direct access off Georgia 400, connectivity to trails and growing neighborhoods, Halcyon is in a prime spot to fill a void in the area. It’s a highly amenitized, walkable village where you can live, work, eat, shop and explore.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced with this project? As with any large-scale, complex mixed-use development, the initial challenges were securing the location for the project, assembling the best team and partners, and working with the county government to get the project off the ground and moving smoothly. With thoughtful planning and working with the community to ensure we were truly adding value to the area, it takes time to see the physical and structural progress of the project, but we are excited to see the framework taking shape, and I hope those passing by the site notice how the site is rising.

How have you worked with the county government and business communities on Halcyon? Throughout the early stages of development, we have had the chance to collaborate with both the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce and Forsyth County. The chamber president and CEO, James McCoy, has been a key proponent in ensuring the project moves forward smoothly. Working with the chamber enabled us to listen to the views of constituents of Forsyth County throughout the entire process, and our development is better because of it. We thoroughly enjoy talking to the Rotary Club and other organizations; it’s a great way to establish two-way communication with the business community. The Forsyth County government was helpful in the process of approving the open container ordinance, which will allow visitors to extend their time and enjoy walking around Halcyon with a beverage in hand.

What is the latest on construction of the project, and the timeline as to what will open when? Construction is well underway, and we are excited to see the vertical progress of CMX, the multifamily buildings and the retail village. As progress continues to move forward, we are looking forward to the March 23, 2019 grand opening date.

There are so many mixed-use projects throughout the metro Atlanta area. What do you think makes this particular one unique? The biggest differentiating factor of Halcyon is the vision of the project and the dedication to creating an atmosphere that resembles an outdoor village. During the initial stages of planning, we knew that creating a place that was centered around community, outdoor spaces and connecting with the Big Creek Greenway would be a space that was very unique to the area and would draw people in. We have been working to create a balanced tenant mix that reflects the vision of Halcyon. Several tenants that plan to open are first-to-market [retail establishments] or have envisioned new concepts for Halcyon, such as Tocayo from [restauranteur] Louis Soon. Between our restaurant, retail and service tenants, our team has been intentional about who would attract visitors and encourage dwell time on-site. I also think our Market Hall is a wonderful component, since it allows for seamless interaction with the outdoors. It’s not just one enclosed box. Rather, it’s a bustling atmosphere filled with experienced chefs and new concepts, with the experience easily able to spill onto the patio and retail greenspace. Just as we are doing with our retail tenants, we are working to create an environment for office tenants that allows employees to enjoy time outdoors and a chance to utilize all surrounding amenities. Throughout Halcyon, we are implementing pocket parks and outdoor green spaces that will offer wi-fi connection.

Any exciting “news” you can share with us that people may not know about yet that will be happening around that time? What we’re most excited about is the mix of tenants that are being assembled. From services -- such as Allure Nail Bar, Uni K Wax and Raw Bronzing Studio -- to our retail tenants -- such as Nina + Leigh, Lizard Thicket, Willow + Jane, RW Design & Exchange and Totally Running -- and all of the Market Hall and restaurant tenants secured, we can’t wait to share these offerings and more with the community. 

Renderings: Home styles at Forsyth County’s mixed-use Halcyon to echo intown

Designer Monte Hewett Homes has unveiled sketches for the residences it plans to build at Forsyth County’s upcoming mixed-use mini-city Halcyon.

The renderings tease some of the different housing options Halcyon will offer once the 135-acre development opens in March next year. And the styles—especially with the standalone houses that nod to farmhouse esthetics—echo hot intown trends.

Of the 62 residences Monte Hewett will deliver, one half will be townhomes; the rest will be single-family houses.

The townhomes are expected to come in two different floorplans, whereas the standalone options will offer four configurations. All of the designs feature a blend of contemporary and old-school elements, according to a press release.

Prices haven’t been specified.

“Our overall goal with any project is to create a place, not a subdivision,” development reps said in a press release. “We want our homes to weave into the social fabric and existing infrastructure to seamlessly blend into the community, but also to address what people want.”

Complementing Hewett’s work at Halcyon will be nearly 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, as well as two hotels, more than 600 more residential units, and a dine-in movie theater.

Halcyon will also link up with Forsyth’s Beltline-like Big Creek Greenway and will be sprinkled with some 50 acres of its own greenspace.

Construction kicked off in 2016, and the development has filled nearly all of its retail spaces, officials announced last month.

New, mixed-use village slated to open March 2019

Sprawling, mixed-use development HALCYON in Forsyth County continues to grow in preparation for its big opening March 2019. 

Most recently, developers RocaPoint Partners announced the addition of RW Designs, an upscale interior design studio and gallery. In addition, it was announced recently that a 154-room Embassy Suites, complete with ballrooms and meeting spaces, will be built in the heart of the 135-acre project.

Design & Exchange will relocate its showroom from its current location at The Collection in Cumming, and occupy a 7,500-square-foot space at the entrance of HALCYON. The new, mixed-use village currently under construction in Forsyth County is being developed by RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Company. 

Founded by Rhonda White in 1987, RW Designs has become a name associated with Atlanta interior design. 

In 2009, RW Designs opened its first storefront, RW Design & Exchange, allowing customers to visit the design gallery and buy products. RW Design & Exchange offers services ranging from residential and commercial design to model home design.

Read more in the Forsyth County News Progress 2018 edition. https://www.forsythnews.com/magazines-2/progress-2018/

Developer du jour: Food halls popping up across metro Atlanta

Boosted by the success of Krog Street and Ponce City markets, new food halls are popping up across metro Atlanta.

At least five projects are planned, stretching from Midtown Atlanta to Forsyth County, as developers seek to bring energy to their projects through these new food concepts that feature several restaurants and vendors around a central gathering space.

“On every developer’s site plan where it used to show a grocery store, it now shows a food hall,” said George Banks, who runs retail consulting and development firm Revel with partner Kristi Rooks.

Revel is about to break ground on “The Daily” in Alpharetta that will bundle six restaurants around a central courtyard at the former site of The Varsity.

“It’s a high-energy, all-day, elevated dining restaurant cluster,” Banks said. “We are trying to provide a little bit of what we think Alpharetta as a city is missing.”

Food courts, of course, have been mainstays in American malls for decades. But the food hall generally excludes fast-food chains and focuses on more elevated eats, mostly from local operators.

“A curated food hall requires a lot of care and thought,” said Banks, who previously worked for Atlanta developer Paces Properties when it developed Krog Street Market. “Sometimes you have to say no to perfectly capable tenants who have money just because they don’t meet the vibe. It’s contradictory … But you can’t just cram a bunch of food and beverage operators in a box. That’s a food court.”

Food halls have been around Europe for years, but are just gaining popularity in America.

In fact, the number of food halls is growing rapidly across the country. In 2010, there were 28 food halls in U.S., according to new data from Cushman & Wakefield. That number grew to 140 in 2017. Now, it’s projected to reach 300 food halls by 2020.

“People like to gather in common spaces that are fun and unique,” said Ed Lee, principal of Capital Properties Group. “They like going to one spot and having multiple places to dine.”

Capital Properties Group and Concordia Properties are developing a food hall near the Marietta Square called the Marietta Square Market. The team is rehabbing an 18,500-square-foot warehouse to house 19 restaurant and retail concepts. It’s already landed tenants including Grand Champion BBQ and a new concept from the team behind Tin Lizzy’s Cantina called Street Taco.

Lee is also part of the leasing team for another food hall in Alpharetta that will be part of the massive 360 Tech Village project from Fuqua Development LLC and TPA Group.

That seems to be the latest theme: food halls are moving into the suburbs of Atlanta.

“Everybody OTP wants to have something like in the city,” Lee said. “Traffic is too bad. Bringing these suburban-versions of Krog Street Market is a good idea.”

Food halls have become a hit for several reasons.

Due to the rise of e-commerce sales, and with people now spending more money dining out than on groceries, food-related retail has seen the most aggressive growth of all retail categories.

“Where retail is today, it’s very food-centric,” said Patrick Leonard, principal of RocaPoint Partners, part of the development team for Halcyon, a 135-acre mixed-use project rising in Forsyth County. Halcyon will include a 13,000-square-foot “market hall” with eight food tenants including Gu’s Dumplings, Sweet Tuna and Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee.

Plus, food halls offer consumers many choices with lots of convenience.

“It solves a lot of family fights,” said Laura King, a broker with Vantage Realty Partners, who previously worked on leases at Krog Street Market.

Plus, King said, food halls offer emerging chefs a lower-cost way to open their own restaurants.

“It’s more of a stepping stone for those looking to enter the restaurant market,” she said. “The build-out is a fraction of the cost.”

And, many developers see food halls as an amenity for larger projects to help boost residential and office occupancy.

“We think it’s a good complement to the rest of the project,” Leonard said. Halcyon will also include 690 residential units and two hotels. A food hall brings energy to the development and attracts more people, he said.

Atlanta’s first notion of a food hall came with downtown’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

The craze really hit its stride in Atlanta with the opening of Krog Street Market in 2014. The project transformed the former Tyler Perry Studios into a collection of restaurants, food stalls and shops. Its lineup today includes Superica, Hop City and gift shop The Merchant.

Then came Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward, which in 2016 was named the No. 5 food hall in the country by Cushman & Wakefield. That was due to its location in a “major ‘Cool Streets’ neighborhood” and lineup of top concepts such as W.H. Stiles Fish Camp from Chef Anne Quatrano.

- Amy Wenk, Atlanta Business Chronicle

RocaPoint Taps JLL to Manage GA Mixed-Use Project

RocaPoint Partners and The Georgetown Co. broke ground on HALCYON in 2016, and the $370 million development is scheduled for completion in spring 2019.

RocaPoint Partners has selected JLL Southeast Central’s Project and Development Services (PDS) to manage the construction of HALCYON, a mixed-use, $370 million project spanning 135 acres in Alpharetta, Ga. RocaPoint partnered with The Georgetown Co. for the development of HALCYON, with a final completion date estimated for spring 2019.

Located at 1400-1434 McFarland Parkway, along McFarland Road at Georgia Highway 400 in Forsyth County, the development broke ground in 2016. Once delivered, HALCYON will include 480,000 square feet of office and retail space, a movie theater, two hotels, 690 residential units and an approximately 1200-space parking deck.

LATEST ADDITIONS

The first hotel to be developed will be Embassy Suites by Hilton at HALCYON. Furthermore, developers announced two new additions to the mixed-use village: interior design studio and gallery RW Design & Exchange and Hog Island, a Southern Proper Hospitality Group restaurant. Greystar is constructing the multifamily component of HALCYON, while retail and office development is also underway.

The JLL PDS team consists of Brian Terrell, Ron Grunwald, Mike Trost, Troy Nixon, Tasiana Wells and Mike Hall. With 70 percent of HALCYON’s first-phase retail tenants committed, the JLL team will now focus on vertical construction and tenant build-outs.

“We see HALCYON as a destination with a revolutionary role in Forsyth County designed to artfully weave nature and leisure into an environment that creates a rich experience for each resident and visitor. The attention to connectivity and transformation is similar to the Battery,” Hall said in a prepared statement.

Another project the team recently worked on is the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium—SunTrust Park—along with the adjacent mixed-use development dubbed The Battery Atlanta. JLL coordinated multiple joint venture and general contractor entities to develop more than 52 acres of mixed-use product.

- Timea Papp, Commercial Property Executive 

INTERIOR DESIGNER RHONDA WHITE RELOCATING RW DESIGN AND EXCHANGE TO HALCYON

Halcyon, Forsyth County’s new mixed-use village, is under construction.

RW Design and Exchange is relocating its showroom from its current location at The Collection in Cumming to Halcyon, according to a press release this week.

The interior design concept will occupy a 7,500-square-foot space at the entrance of the new mixed-use village currently under construction in Forsyth County being developed by RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Company.

Founded by Rhonda White in 1987, RW Designs and Exchange opened its first storefront in 2009 offering services ranging from residential and commercial design, to model home design.

“At RW Design and Exchange, our goal is to expose our customers to a better way of life and provide design services that can match your home to your Lifestyle,” White said in the release.

“With the sophisticated nature of Halcyon and the numerous new residential and commercial spaces coming to the property, Halcyon is the perfect location for RW Design and Exchange, and we think it will help us expand our customer base...”

RW Design and Exchange at Halcyon will be situated in a two-story space with the first floor serving as a showroom and the second-floor housing offices and design space.

White and her team are working with Halcyon homeowners to design their homes from the ground up.

“RW Design and Exchange is the perfect addition to our diverse, upscale tenant mix here at Halcyon,” Patrick Leonard, principal of RocaPoint, said in the release.

“At Halcyon, we want to offer people a truly unique living experience, and we believe RW Design and Exchange will help Halcyon residents and customers create spaces where they will truly feel at home.”

JLL manages the retail and office leasing efforts for Halcyon which will include 480,000 square feet of office and retail space, a movie theatre, two hotels and 690 residential units once completed.

- Caleb Spivak, What Now Atlanta

Forsyth County: Setting Records

Troy Brumbalow listens as his GPS gives driving directions through Forsyth County on a winter day, but the system will soon offer Cumming’s new mayor more options for getting around. As the state’s fastest-growing county, more roads and transportation improvements are on the horizon.

Add to that more high schools and Class A offices, hotels, shopping, dining and homes already underway, along with an economic development strategic plan.

In fact, Forsyth County is expected to nearly double its population, reaching 430,301 residents by 2040. That’s an annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, according to projections from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Brumbalow’s GPS also could map new destination points in Cumming if the businessman, who defeated 47-year incumbent Mayor H. Ford Gravitt last Novem- ber, succeeds in his ambitious plans to create a new city center and develop downtown Cumming as a walkable destination.

“We have all kinds of options. It’s really endless,” he says. “It just takes the vision to make it happen.”

Brumbalow’s plan for Cumming dovetails with county leaders’ efforts to make Forsyth appealing to new and expanding businesses and grow its commercial tax base. Currently, 71.8 percent of the tax digest is residential (including exemptions), with 28.2 percent of property taxes paid for by nonresidential property, according to the county.

Businesses continue to relocate and invest in Forsyth, which is one of the state’s wealthiest counties, with $91,842 in 2016 median household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We are certainly the wealthiest county in the state of Georgia when it comes to median family income, and that gives us some capacity to control our destiny I think,” says Eric Johnson, who moved from Florida to Forsyth for the county manager position in 2017.

In 2016, 30 announcements totaled $148.4 million in capital investment and 828 jobs. In 2017, 28 new and existing companies announced plans to spend $167.5 million in capital investment and create 1,364 jobs, according to the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve officially had a record year,” says Robert D. Long, vice president of economic development for the chamber.

Relieving Roadways

Major transportation projects should help alleviate congestion for people trying to get to school, work and recreation within the county and as they commute elsewhere. In 2014, Forsyth County passed a $200-million general obligation bond for transportation projects, which when leveraged with state and federal funding will contribute to approximately $400 million of transportation projects in the county over the next eight years, says Commission Chair Todd Levent.

The county has about 200 miles of roads under construction, according to the chamber. A $47-million project is widening Ga. 400 – which bisects Forsyth – from the McFarland Parkway interchange to Ga. 369/Browns Bridge Road, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The interchange at 369 will be the new Exit 18.

“It’s almost like a switch went off, and now we have lots of folks looking north,” Long says. “The challenge we have is finding sites with infrastructure in the northern part of the county, but the interest is there, which is good.”

When Ga. Highway 20’s widening is complete, it will connect I-85 to 400 and essentially serve as the northern arc for Metro Atlanta, Long says.

“We’re playing catch up on transportation from my perspective, certainly in the south part of the county, and we’ve got to do a better job of forecasting the growth and getting ahead of the curve,” says Dennis T. Brown, who took office in 2017 as the District 2 county commissioner.

Envisioning Growth

The county, which revised its comprehensive plan in 2017, has hired a consultant to develop a five-year economic development strategic plan by this summer in partnership with the chamber, the Forsyth County Development Authority, Forsyth County Schools, Lanier Technical College and the public.

“There is a renewed focus by our county commission on broadening and enhancing the commercial investment in our community,” says James McCoy, CEO and president of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, which has about 1,000 members. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything quite like this.”

Long says there are opportunities for advanced manufacturing in northern Forsyth, while he expects south Forsyth to attract technology office-driven projects and corporate headquarters.

The county approved moratoriums on residential zoning and land disturbance permits in order to revamp the comprehensive plan, which adjusted the unified development code, Levent says.

“Everybody knows what the playing rules are now, and we are moving forward,” he says. “Density will be better aligned next to four-lane and six-lane roads, where they should be to maintain and better manage the traffic for those higher-density areas.”

One argument for a proposed new south Forsyth city of Sharon Springs, a bill sponsored by state Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth), is to manage the growth of undeveloped areas within the proposed city limits. The city would have three initial services – planning and zoning, code enforcement and solid waste management – but Johnson, the county manager, says the county can address those needs and has called the proposed incorporation unnecessary.

Levent also opposes the effort, saying he believes it will cost taxpayers within the city and outside the city additional money.

Offering Talent

Last year, Sports Warehouse, a California-based supplier of sports and outdoor equipment, chose Forsyth for a $20-million investment in an e-commerce fulfillment and distribution center that would create 342 jobs.

“The reason we’re the most affluent county in Georgia is because we have people who are highly educated, talented, very skilled people that live in our community,” Long says. “We’re trying to create opportunities for these folks to find jobs and employment opportunities closer to home.”

But the chamber’s data shows 75.3 percent of residents commute out of Forsyth for employment.

“We’re trying to make that tough transition from … a bedroom community to a more fully realized community,” says Commissioner Laura Semanson, whose District 5 includes the eastern portion of Forsyth. “Where we’re not always having to drive out of county to do things, and that’s going to include employment opportunities.”

The chamber in late 2017 hired Scott Evans as its senior project manager for technology, as it seeks to grow that sector’s employment in the county.

Healthcare has been a top area for job growth, driven by Northside Hospital, which already is the county’s largest private-sector employer (2,400 workers), according to the chamber. New investments include Northside Medical Office Building V in Cumming, a $50-million project with 250 jobs.

Educating with Innovation

In 2017, Forsyth County Schools’ (FCS) graduation rate rose to 94.5 percent. Its College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) score is the highest overall score of any county school system in the state, and second only to Jefferson City Schools.

Currently the 7th largest system in Georgia, FCS expects to grow from 48,000 to around 55,000 students in the next five years, says Superintendent Jeff Bearden. A bond vote expected in May would include projects for more new schools, he adds.

“We are very much in a state of growth and construction, not only home construction, but road construction throughout the county,” he says. “So that obviously has a huge impact on us.”

Two new high schools are expected to open in fall 2018. Denmark High School, named after pediatrician Leila Denmark, will hold 2,500 students at capacity. The $80-million traditional high school will offer special programs, such as animal sciences, which is new to the county.

The Alliance Academy for Innovation of Cumming and Forsyth County, a partnership between the school system, city of Cumming, the county, Lanier Tech, the University of North Georgia and the chamber, will have five schools – aerospace and logistics, criminal justice and law, healthcare and first responders, hospitality and design, and mechatronics and energy. The academy, which cost about half as much as a traditional high school, Bearden says, will include flight simulators and a mock courtroom.

“We need a high school like this in our county to make sure that we are addressing the needs of our community in terms of preparing students for college and careers that we know are going to be available in our county,” Bearden says.

At the end of 2017, more than 600 students had applied for the central Forsyth school, which will have 1,200 students at capacity.

“We know we hit a need here just based on the interest without even opening the doors,” Bearden says.

More to See and Do

At Ga. 400 Exit 12 for McFarland Parkway, the first phase of the $370-million, mixed-use Halcyon development by RocaPoint Partners and The Georgetown Co. could open in 2018.

Halcyon will have 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, a luxury dine-in movie theater, two hotels and 690 residential units (single-family units starting in the $600,000s, townhomes starting in the $480,000s by Monte Hewitt and Edward Andrews Homes), 300 luxury apartments and 160 active adult apartments by Greystar. RocaPoint Partners principal Patrick Leonard says he expects brokerage houses, service businesses, software firms and technology companies to be among those locating in the office portion.

The Market Hall is 100 percent leased, with restaurants including Gu’s Dump-lings, FEED Fried Chicken & Such and Kilwins. Restaurants and shops MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, CT Cocina & Taqueria, Co-Op Community Table + Bar, Totally Running and Walking and RW Design & Exchange are slated for the restaurant and retail village.

Also underway at Halcyon is an extension of Big Creek Greenway, which will add about 0.75 miles to the trail that runs 9.6 miles through the county, as well as a paved lighted parking lot, trailhead and restrooms.

“You look at what the BeltLine’s done in parts of Atlanta, and obviously we’d like to replicate that kind of experience out in the suburbs,” Leonard says.

Long adds that Halcyon provides much- needed Class A office space.

“I think it’s really going to be a catalyst project. We’re going to see benefits to other areas of south Forsyth as it’s successful,” Long says.

The development authority has also approved $38.5 million in taxable revenue bonds for The Stables Motor Plaza, a retail center in south Forsyth.

In Cumming, Brumbalow sees plans for a city center as a catalyst as well. Two days after he was elected, he says zoning requests were put on two pieces of property in the city limits. Both of them have commercial aspects to bring shopping and dining, which he says shows there’s interest among the community in the city- center idea.

“What we’re looking at as a city center is just being the first step in the big picture of what we want for the downtown area,” he says.

Semanson says the level of citizen engagement has increased, which has helped shape the community.

“I think we're trying to reach out and really kind of build up Forsyth County 2.0,” Semanson says. “Where do we go coming from this bedroom community that was very rural in look and feel to how we embrace growth? But at the same time make sure that it brings a positive impact to the county.”

Local Flavor

The Next Chapter

This month the expanded and renovated Sharon Forks Library is expected to reopen as a 38,000-square-foot facility with more space for collaborative learning, programs and a growing collection. The branch in south Forsyth is one of four in the county system, which has the highest number of items (11.47 per person) checked out per capita in the state.

“This community is so focused on education that they really recognize the value of reading and public libraries,” says Anna Lyle, director of the Forsyth County Public Library.

The Sharon Forks branch, which had just 20,000 square feet before, boasted the highest circulation in the state, she added. More than 1 million of the 2.47 million books (digital and print) checked out in Forsyth during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, 2017, were from that branch, according to the system’s data.

The $7.2-million Sharon Forks project used special purpose location option sales tax (SPLOST) money, impact fees and a state construction grant of $2 million. The larger branch will offer more study rooms and conference areas, double its meeting room and expand its collection of 105,506 items by about 14,000 new items, particularly children’s books. It also is adding books in four Asian languages – Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and Telugu – to reflect the diversity of the community in which the branch is located. “There’s so many Asian languages spoken in Forsyth County,” Lyle says. “It was a challenge to narrow it down.”

Although some libraries struggle to attract teens, Lyle says teen involvement is so strong that the Sharon Forks expansion includes a teen area that will have collaborative and independent learning spaces and more room to hang out and read.

In FY 2017, 651,000 people visited all four branches, including more than 100,000 people attending programs, such as puppet shows, multicultural activities, crafting events, collaborative problem-solving activities for teens and tweens like “escape the room” programs, and traditional story times that often incorporate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) elements.

“I think we do a good job in providing products that people want, but we’re also in a community where people are looking for educational opportunities,” she says. “Parents and other caregivers can bring their children to programs where they’re having fun, but they’re also being educated and they’re also being exposed to literature.”

 Lori Johnston, Georgia Trend

New Georgia Breweries : 2018 Edition

Georgia Brewery Growth

2017 was an amazing year for Georgia beer.  The passage of SB63 (allowing to go “souvenirs”) in 2015 spurred a wave of new breweries and the passage of SB85 in 2017 (allowing direct sales at breweries) strengthened that growth.  We saw a 28.9% increase in the number of breweries and brewpubs in the state from 2016, and a whopping 70.4% increase in just two years.

With the revised laws, it is much more feasible for a very small brewery to open here.  The ability to sell directly at the taproom means a small brewery can be financially viable by keeping more of their money in-house.   On the opposite end of the spectrum, a brewery can open as a “production brewery” with a restaurant, giving visitors the feel of a brewpub but allowing for higher production and distribution levels for the brewer.  The recently opened New Realm Brewing Co. operates under this model.

Several breweries are already slated to open in 2018, and I’m sure we’ll see even more added to the list as the year goes on.  It’s a great time to be a craft beer fan in Georgia.

  • As of Dec. 31, 2017 there were 48 production breweries and 27 brewpubs operating in Georgia, plus 5 cideries and 4 meaderies (Does not include contract / gypsy breweries.)
  • 2017 | 13 new breweries and 10 new brewpubs opened (38.9% growth from 2016)
  • 2016 | 7 new breweries and 3 new brewpubs opened (22.7% growth from 2015)

Future Georgia Breweries

There are a handful of breweries in the early planning stages right now that may not open this year, some of them may not see the light of day at all, it happens.  Here’s a look at what we may see in the coming years.

Cherry Street Halcyon | Alpharetta, GA

Cherry Street Brewing Co-op will open its second location in a large mixed-use development in the Halcyon development in north Alpharetta.  The new location will feature 16 Cherry Street beers on tap as well as upscale pub food.  Owner Nick Tanner tells us the new location is targeted to open in 2019.

 

Adapted from Beer Guys Radio, Tim Dennis : http://beerguysradio.com/2018/01/29/new-breweries-coming-to-georgia-2018-edition/

Wins continue at Forsyth mixed-use project Halcyon as hotel deal inked

Forsyth County’s sprawling mixed-use development Halcyon got a big boost this week with the announcement of a hotel at the site.

A 154-room Embassy Suites, complete with ballrooms and meeting spaces, will be built in the heart of the 135-acre project.

According to a press release, the hotel will also feature a premier fitness area with an indoor pool, saunas and yoga studio, and an extensive bar and atrium.

The development, which was unveiled in 2015, will boast a food hall, boutique retail, offices, and ultra-swank residences. The first phase broke ground in 2016, but it’ll be years before the entire development is built out.

Eventually, plans call for more more than 700 residential units, Forsyth’s first dine-in movie theater (CMX), and 50 acres of greenspace. The development, located along McFarland Road at Ga. Highway 400, is 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta.

Construction on the hotel will begin soon, and will carry through the year, officials said.

- Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Southern Proper plans new concept for Forsyth mixed-use project

The team behind the popular restaurants including Tin Lizzy's Cantina and The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill is planning a new concept for Forsyth County. 

Atlanta-based Southern Proper Hospitality plans to open a restaurant called Hog Island. It will come to HALCYON, a massive mixed-use project rising at Georgia 400 and McFarland Parkway. 

Hog Island will combine a smokehouse and an oyster bar under one roof, serving smoked meats and seafood. 

It will take 4,220 square feet in a barn-like building. 

"Natural light and wood detailing will add warmth to the restaurant's clean, crisp and bright interior, creating a comfortable, laid-back vibe," says an announcement. 

It's set to open in 2019. 

Southern Proper also operates Smokebelly BBQ, The Blind Pig Parlour Bar, Gypsy Kitchen, The Southern Gentlemen, Beni's Cubano and MIlton's Cuisine and Cocktails. 

HALCYON is now under construction and is expected to open in 2019. The 135-acre project is from Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Co. It will include more than 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, a movie theater, two hotels and 690 residential units. 

JLL Retail is handing the retail leasing. The project has landed other coveted food tenants, including new locations of Gu's Dumplings and Alpharetta restaurant Butcher & Brew. Cherry Street Brewing will also open a new brewpub and beer garden at the project. 

- Amy Wenk, Atlanta Business Chronicle

More food tenants revealed for Forsyth's Halcyon project

Halcyon, a massive mixed-use project rising in Forsyth County, continues to land food tenants.

The latest announcement includes new locations of MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, Cocina & Taqueria, Sweet Tuna, and Pita Mediterranean Street Food.

The project’s restaurant village is now 70 percent leased and its market hall is 100 leased, according to RocaPoint Partners, which is part of the development team.

Here’s more about each tenant:

• MidiCi will open its second Georgia location at the project, taking 4,000 square feet near the restaurant village and CMX Cinema. It specializes in creating fresh Neapolitan pizzas in wood-fired stoves imported from Italy. The restaurant features a live olive tree that gives the ambiance of an Italian courtyard. The first location of MidiCi is coming to Midtown’s 999 Peachtree building. The Halcyon franchise owner is Chris Duplessis.

• Cocina & Taqueria, a concept out of Sandy Springs, will open its second location at Halcyon. The restaurant and bar will take 6,000 square feet across from the CMX Cinema. It offers Mexican cuisine with menu items such as tacos, cauliflower rice bowls and flavored margaritas. The concept is from Rafael Jaime.

• Sweet Tuna will open its second Georgia location in Halcyon’s market hall. The poke concept allows people to build their own bowls. 

• Pita Mediterranean Street Food, which has multiple locations across Georgia, will also come to the market hall. It offers authentic Mediterranean food such as gyros and shawarma.

Two retailers were also announced for Halcyon: Totally Running & Walking and Uni K Wax.

Halcyon is now under construction and is expected to open in 2018.

The 135-acre project is from Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Co. It will include more than 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, a movie theater, two hotels and 690 residential units.

JLL Retail is handling the retail leasing.

The project has landed other coveted food tenants, including new locations of Gu’s Dumplings and Alpharetta restaurant Butcher & Brew.

Cherry Street Brewing will also open a new brewpub and beer garden at the project.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2...

Forsyth's Halcyon project lands three boutiques

Three boutiques have signed on for Halcyon, a $370 million mixed-use village rising at Ga. 400 and McFarland Road in Forsyth County.

Here is more about each store:

• Lavender, which originally opened in 2004 and is currently in the Collection at Forsyth, is relocating and expanding in Halcyon. The boutique carries women’s clothing and accessories for all ages.

“As someone who has roots in Forsyth County, I’m looking forward to being a part of a community like Halcyon that will bring so many positive things to the area,” said Peony Lin, Lavender’s founder and owner. 

• Canoe, a lifestyle brand and boutique, is opening its second location in Halcyon. The store that has its first location in Blue Ridge offers jewelry, bags and accessories. Lynn Kemp started Canoe.

• And, a new retail concept called Nina + Leigh will join Halcyon. It will be a clothing boutique for women in their late teens to thirties and will carry clothing, jewelry and various accessories. Candice Sinisgalli is opening the store.

The boutiques will join Allure Nail Bar, which will occupy 3,500 square feet, and Uni K Wax, which will have a nearly 1,200-square-foot space.

Atlanta Business Chronicle also reported this week that Cherry Street Brewing will open a new brewpub and beer garden at the project.

The project has landed other coveted food tenants, including new locations of Gu’s Dumplings and Alpharetta restaurant Butcher & Brew. 

Halcyon is now under construction and is expected to open in 2018.

The 135-acre project is from Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Co. It will include more than 480,000 square feet of office and retail space, a movie theater, two hotels and 690 residential units.

JLL Retail is handling the retail leasing.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2...

Award-winning brewery set to open a brewpub in Forsyth County

The Cumming brewery that won the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship is opening a second space in Forsyth County.

Cherry Street Brewing will open a nearly 8,000-square-foot brewpub and beer garden in mixed-use development Halcyon.

The spot will serve a menu of seasonal, upscale pub food. The beer selection will include 16 existing Cherry Street beers, as well as a brew specifically made for the Halcyon location.  The open-air beer garden will feature communal tables, bar space and a stage for special events.

Founded by siblings Nick and Alisa Tanner — whose father is Rick Tanner of the eponymous Cumming restaurant – -Cherry Street Taproom and Cherry Street Brewing Co-Op opened in Cumming’s Vickery Village several years ago. The brewery took home three gold, one silver and two bronze medals at this year’s U.S. Open Beer Championship.

Located  at 5490 McGinnis Village Place on the border of Alpharetta, Halcyon is set to open in 2018 and will also include 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, a dine-in movie theater, two hotels, 690 residential units and 50 acres of green space.

Other announced tenants include Gu’s Dumplings, Mexican street food joint Tocayo, Kilwin’s Chocolate, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company, Butcher & Brew and Never Enough Tyme.

Source: http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/201...

Award-winning Cherry Street Brewing to open new brewpub at Forsyth's Halcyon project

A big mixed-use project in Forsyth County will include a brewery and beer garden.

Cherry Street Brewing will open a second location at Halcyon, a $370 million mixed-use village rising at Ga. 400 and McFarland Road.

Cherry Street, which has its original location in Cumming, will take 8,000 square feet in the heart of Halcyon’s restaurant village. 

The brewpub will offer 16 Cherry Street beers on tap, such as the coconut porter and a new brew just for Halcyon. It will also serve upscale pub food. 

The beer garden will feature communal tables and a stage for special events.

Cherry Street owner and brewmaster Nick Tanner will operate the new location with his sister, Alisa Tanner. 

“Cherry Street is about so much more than just beer,” Nick said in an announcement. “It’s about bringing people together and being a part of the community.” 

Cherry Street recently picked up several honors at the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship, including being named Grand National Champion for winning three gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals.

“Cherry Street is a perfect fit for Halcyon, not only for its local background, but because of the value it places on community,” said Patrick Leonard, principal of Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners, which is part of the development team. “With its abundant green space and outdoor areas, it will be a perfect gathering space for the community to eat, drink and come together.

Halcyon is now under construction and is expected to open in 2018. 

The 135-acre project is from RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Co. It will include more than 480,000 square feet of office and retail space, two hotels and 690 residential units. 

JLL Retail is handling the retail leasing.

The project has landed other coveted food tenants, including new locations of Gu’s Dumplings and Alpharetta restaurant Butcher & Brew. Read more about the lineup here.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2...

The owner of South Main Kitchen is opening three new restaurants

Restaurateur Louis Soon (South Main KitchenButcher & Brew) is working to expand Alpharetta’s culinary options. He plans to open a second location of Butcher & Brew in August, plus a new concept called Tocayo at Halcyon in south Forsyth County. While Butcher & Brew is a full-service American pub, Tocayo will be a food stall focused on Mexican street food. Soon is also opening a high-end seafood spot called Lapeer, across the street from South Main Kitchen, in the fall. Andy Long (known for his Fry Guy food truck) will be the executive chef of both Tocayo and Lapeer.

The name Tocayo is derived from the Mexican concept of two people with the same name meeting for the first time. “I took it as a familiar meeting place. It has a family feel,” Soon says.

Tocayo will offer five soft-shell tacos: veggie, fish, chicken, beef, and pork. It will also have rice and beans, horchata ice cream, and three Mexican beers on tap. Soon describes the vibe as “Mexican bohemian;” it’ll be decorated with white wood and have a pink neon sign. The eight bar stool seats will be made from the material of Mexican ponchos. “It will be chill but nice, classy and clean, like Tulum, Mexico,” Soon says.

In contrast, Lapeer will be a more upscale option with plated entrees, a poke bar, and seasonal, line-caught fish. The space is 4,000 square feet, including a large patio. “I’m from the Caribbean, my wife is from Montauk, and I love Hawaii, so the restaurant will be a mix,” Soon says.

Source: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/dining-news/owner-south-main-kitchen-opening-three-new-restaurants/

Forsyth County’s Halcyon project unveils Krog-style market concept

Like Alpharetta, Marietta, Snellville, and other places in Atlanta’s suburban reaches, Forsyth County has announced plans for a food-hall concept not unlike trendsetter Krog Street Market.

Thirty miles north of downtown, the first phase of Forsyth’s massive, $370-million Halcyon project is gunning for an opening in about a year, following a groundbreaking in early 2016.

On Tuesday, developers released an initial roster of tenants for a concept they’re calling “Market Hall.” Familiar names abound.

With origins on Buford Highway, Krog veteran Gu’s Dumplings will bring one of Forsyth’s first Szechuan restaurants to the table, joining another outpost of the philanthropic Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co.

Meanwhile, Alpharetta restaurants Butcher & Brew (a “Craft American Shop”) and Never Enough Thyme (“homemade gourmet”) will branch to Halcyon. Other Market Hall offerings will include Mexican joint TOCAYO, Kilwins Chocolates, and three offerings from Chef Marc Taft (burger concept, CO-OP Community Table + Bar, and fast-casual FEED Fried Chicken).

Located off Ga. Highway 400’s Exit 12, Halcyon is a team effort by developers RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Company.

Eventually, plans call for “two superior brand hotels,” about 700 residential units, Forsyth’s first dine-in movie theater (CMX), and 50 acres of greenspace dispersed around a site about the size of Grant Park (the actual park, not the neighborhood).

Buying a single-family Halcyon home will set ya’ back at least $600,000 (entry point), while townhomes start in the high $400,000s.

Forsyth joins communities across the ‘burbs with ambitions of building amenities that draw inspiration from recent Atlanta successes, including the Beltline.

Last year, Snellville leaders announced plans for their own Krog Street Market-inspired concept, hoping to capitalize on a commercial upswing near the Gwinnett County city’s core.

More recently, an Alpharetta food hall project was unveiled by the former vice president of Krog Street Market’s creator, Paces Properties.

And in March, a trio of developers led by Concordia Properties unveiled plans for “Marietta Square Market.” That project, leaders said, will echo adaptive-reuse sensations Krog Street and Ponce City markets near the Cobb County city’s walkable downtown core.

Source: https://atlanta.curbed.com/2017/7/19/15993568/forsyth-county-halcyon-project-krog-style-market-concept

South Forsyth’s Halcyon announces new restaurants

Patrons of south Forsyth’s $370 million mixed-use development will have a number of restaurant and market hall options to choose from once the complex opens in 2018, and a recent announcement by Halcyon’s developer, RocaPoint Partners, revealed a handful of additional tenants coming to the space.

The group released information detailing six new food establishments to occupy the development, which is expected to open in the spring of 2018 off McFarland Parkway/Exit 12 of Ga. 400.

The additions include: Gu’s Dumplings, which was voted “Best dumplings in Atlanta” by the Food Network in 2014; Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream; TOCAYO, a fast-casual taco restaurant inspired by Mexican street food; Butcher & Brew, a “craft American shop” that focuses on “quality ingredients and eclectic craft beers;” Never Enough Thyme, an Alpharetta-based gourmet restaurant; and Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company.

The new additions, of which Butcher & Brew and Never Enough Time will be standalone restaurants, bringing eatery list to nine: three restaurants and six market hall options.

In January, Atlanta Chef Marc Taft – who currently owns and operates Chicken and the Egg in Marietta, which opened in August 2011 – signed three leases to open multiple restaurants at Halcyon.

The three restaurants include CO-OP Community Table and Bar, FEED Fried Chicken + Such — a fried chicken and other Southern food joint — and a market hall burger concept.

CO-OP will be a standalone restaurant.

The goal is to make the restaurants feel as Southern as possible, highlighting Halcyon’s concept for the development, Taft said.

“Being raised on Southern food inspired the vision behind the concepts going into Halcyon,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to create these concepts and to find the perfect place for them to operate. Halcyon is such a unique, exciting development that I think will enrich these restaurants. I expect all three to do very well in Forsyth County.”

In addition to the eateries, a 300-unit “luxury apartment community” will sit adjacent to the restaurant village.

Elan Halcyon will feature “modern floor plans with top-of-market finishes and on-site amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness studio, resort-style pool, aqua lounge, internet cafe and package concierge,” RocaPoint Partners said in May.

The development will also have 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail located below the apartments.

Greystar will develop and manage Elan Halcyon, the second the residential development company has signed on for at the site.

The company is already working on a 160-residence 55-and-older “active adult rental community” at Halcyon, featuring 12,000 square feet of “resort-inspired amenities,” such as a clubhouse, pool and spa, demonstration kitchen, game room, theater room, fitness center and golf simulator room for its residents.

When finished, Halcyon is expected to offer a total of 690 residential units, with more than 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, CMX Theaters – a high-end movie theater – and two hotels.

“We understand the need for adding value through a combination of convenient on-site amenities and thoughtfully designed apartment homes complete with high-quality finishes within a live, work and play environment,” John Roberson, senior director of development for Greystar, said previously. “At Halcyon, residents will be steps away from local restaurants, entertainment and shopping options, as well as direct access to the Big Creek Greenway.”

Source: https://www.forsythnews.com/local/business/south-forsyths-halcyon-announces-new-restaurants/

Gu’s Dumplings, Butcher & Brew, More Restaurants in at Forsyth Mega-Development

Forsyth County is getting a massive mixed-use village that, developers hope, may take a taste of modern urban living to the suburbs, and the project has just announced several restaurants among its tenants. Halcyon, as the development is called, will house three previously announced ventures from chef Marc Taft along with expansions for a few more local dining brands:

  • Gu’s Dumplings, the Sichuan offshoot of the defunct Gu’s Bistro that has locations at Krog Street Market and SunTrust Park.
  • Tacayo, a Tulum, Mexico-inspired taco stand from South Main Kitchen owner Louis Soon.
  • Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream, the national dessert chain that operates an outpost in Atlantic Station.
  • Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company, a local coffee shop that sources and roasts its own beans and has cafes in Roswell, Atlantic Station, Midtown, and Cumming.
  • Feed Fried Chicken + Such, Taft’s fast-casual yardbird restaurant that also boasts a location at the Battery development adjacent to SunTrust Park.
  • A currently unnamed burger venture from Taft. The restaurant will serve a signature beef blend that is ground fresh throughout the day, fresh-cut fries, milkshakes, and beer.
  • Butcher & Brew, Soon’s Alpharetta-based sports bar sister to South Main Kitchen.
  • Never Enough Thyme, an Alpharetta-based restaurant that is re-locating and will serve “high-quality, homemade food” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Co-Op Community Kitchen & Table, a modern-Southern restaurant from Taft.

Gu’s, Tacayo, Kilwins, Land of a Thousand Hills, Feed, and Taft’s burger restaurant will operate as stalls inside Halcyon’s market hall. Butcher & Brew, Never Enough Thyme, and Co-Op will be full-service restaurants with their own dedicated spaces. Developers also plan to install 500,000 square feet of office space, a dine-in movie theater, two hotels, 690 residential units, and a 50-acre green space.

Halcyon is being constructed northeast of Alpharetta off Turner McDonald Parkway. The restaurants are expected to come online sometime in 2018.

Source: https://atlanta.eater.com/2017/7/19/15994066/halcyon-restaurants-forsyth-county-gus-dumplings-butcher-brew-co-op

Forsyth's Halcyon Mixed-Use Announces 'Market Hall,' Unveils Tenants

Gu's Dumplings, Kilwins, and more are planned for the development.

RocaPoint Partners and The Georgetown Company Tuesday unveiled plans to incorporate "Market Hall," a food-hall-style concept, in the developers' forthcoming Halcyon mixed-use project in Forsyth County.

The $370 million development early-2016 broke ground at Ga. 400 and McFarland Road.

In addition to three previously announced concepts from chef Marc Taft, Halcyon Tuesday announced deals have been secured for Gu’s DumplingsTacayo (a taco stand), Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice CreamLand of a Thousand Hills Coffee CompanyButcher & Brew, and Never Enough Thyme (relocating from its Alpharetta home.)

The "Market Hall," sharing similarities to the ones in Krog Street and Ponce City Markets, will house stalls for Gu’s, Tacayo, Kilwins, Land of a Thousand Hills, Feed, and Taft’s burger restaurant.

Halcyon plans also call for 500,000 square feet of office space690 residential units, two hotels, and a dine-in movie theatre.

Source: https://whatnowatlanta.com/forsyth-halcyon-market-hall/

Mexican restaurant, coffee shop among tenants for Forysth County food hall

The Halcyon development in Forsyth County is starting to take shape with some tasty additions to its roster of tenants.

The mixed-use development’s Market Hall food hall will welcome Gu’s Dumplings, which also has stalls at Krog Street Market and SunTrust Park; Tocayo, a Mexican street food spot; Kilwin’s Chocolate; and Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company, which has several locations in metro Atlanta and the Southeast.

New restaurants will include Butcher & Brew and Never Enough Thyme, which both have existing Alpharetta locations and will serve up homemade American fare.

The eateries will join three concepts from Chef Mark Taft that were announced earlier this year: Southern farm-to-table concept CO-OP Community Table + Bar, Feed Fried Chicken + Such (which will also have a location at The Battery at SunTrust Park) and an unnamed burger concept.

Locatedat 5490 McGinnis Village Place on the border of Alpharetta, Halcyon is set to open in 2018 and will also include 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, a dine-in movie theater, two hotels, 690 residential units and 50 acres of green space.

Source: http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/07/19/mexican-restaurant-coffee-shop-among-tenants-for-forysth-county-food-hall/