You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Avalon bucks retail trend with leasing growth

Despite less than encouraging U.S. retail sales numbers, developers behind phase II of Alpharetta’s Avalon project have landed some shopping heavy hitters, including Brooks Brothers, Levi’s and Urban Outfitters.

The 86-acre mixed-use project, set to open next spring, also has leased space to Lucky Brand, The Boardroom Salon for Men, Hop City, Rumi’s Kitchen and Brine Fish House, officials say. Phase I of the project — which includes a Whole Foods store, movie theater and high-end apartments — opened in September 2014.

Avalon’s retail win comes at a time when the retail industry seems at a crossroads as consumer tastes change and online shopping takes a bigger bite out of sales.

Some malls, including several in metro Atlanta, are struggling to keep tenants and have turned vacant space into data centers or college classrooms.

Recent headlines have focused more on store closings and bankruptcy filings than which chains are expanding.

Mega retailers Sports Authority and Aeropostale both declared bankruptcy recently and hinted that they will shutter hundreds of stores, including some metro Atlanta locations.

And big box chains that once dominated the landscape, including Sears and Kmart, are now on the industry’s most endangered list.

“Maintaining and sustaining a retail brand for many decades has proven to be incredibly difficult,” said Greg Charleston, senior managing director of consulting and financial advisory firm Conway MacKenzie.

Mark Toro, a partner at Avalon developer North American Properties, said retailers are attracted to the project’s design as an outdoor, walkable urban community. Consumers want to see restaurants with patios overflowing with diners, pocket parks with entertainment and yoga classes in progress as they walk by, he said.

“Retailers are choosing brick and mortar locations more carefully, and they are willing to pay a premium to lease space in an experiential, hospitality-driven community like Avalon,” he said.

Avalon has leased about 80 percent of phase II retail, he said. The new phase is expected to create more than 4,600 jobs and generate $21 million in annual sales tax revenue.

Phase I of the project is for sale.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

The questions all landlords should ask

The vast majority of rental problems can be eliminated in advance through a good screening process. Many amateur landlords are so desperate for a tenant that they accept the first applicant who walks in the door. That is a rental nightmare waiting to happen. When screening any applicant, remember to be consistent - treat all potential renters the same...
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks

Banks — especially the smaller ones — can probably expect a lighter touch from regulators in the future, but not in areas that would weaken protections against another industry meltdown, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s new president. Earlier this month the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a nearly 150-page report...
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight

A Delta Air Lines plane at 30,000 feet became the scene for a carefully-orchestrated engagement this week. Flights were already part of the couple’s long-distance relationship stretched between Atlanta and Pennsylvania — Deepum Patel works in Atlanta while girlfriend Neha Chakravarti has been in dental school in Pennsylvania. During a Wednesday...
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps

Georgia is seeing a significant decrease in the number of people receiving food stamps as the improving economy lifts many recipients into new jobs and frees them from the fear of going hungry. The number of Georgians getting food stamps has dropped by 300,000 from 1.9 million in April 2013 to 1.6 million. That decrease of 16 percent in the federally...
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend

A record number of people are expected to travel over the 4th of July holiday weekend, according to AAA. A total of 44.2 million Americans are forecast to take trips over the period running from June 30 to July 4. In Georgia, 1.3 million people will travel for the holiday, AAA says. Most of them will be driving. But 3.4 million across the country are...
More Stories