Alpharetta’s walkable, bikeable district goes from suburb to destination
Alpharetta might be known as the Technology City of the South, but when Mary Ann Slavik moved from a subdivision to downtown Alpharetta, she had more personal connections in mind. A 30-year resident of the city, Slavik understood the vision of what was to come in the downtown area and wanted to be a part of it.
“When I saw the plans for Teasley Place, I knew immediately that this was what I had been waiting for,” she says. “I was literally the first to commit to buying here and then two years later, the first to move in. It is a grand space and beautiful living right in the heart of what has become a vibrant and thriving downtown.” Mary Ann worked with Rhonda Shell Real Estate to find the right home. “Rhonda helped me discover that while downsizing may mean the loss of some square footage, it does not make your home any less of a place to live a wonderful life.” Mary Ann says she has grown deep roots here and values that sense of belonging. “I came here when I was 28, had three children and raised them here. When my children were growing up, I delivered Meals on Wheels to many of the older folks in downtown Alpharetta, some of whom lived on the very site that my new home at Teasley Place has been built upon. I consider this hallowed ground.”
Centered around Alpharetta’s new City Hall, the historic downtown area has experienced significant modern-style growth in recent years, attracting visitors and residents like Slavik to its plethora of shopping, dining and cultural experiences. With new residential development, as well as a variety of live-work-play real estate options, downtown Alpharetta offers a walkable lifestyle that also includes parks, green spaces and trail connections.
Take Alpharetta City Center, for example. In partnership with the City of Alpharetta, Morris & Fellows started construction in 2017 on more than 100,000 square feet of restaurants, offices and retail spaces, most of which are now open. This mixed-use development includes apartments and single-family homes too, with the goal of serving as the heart of Alpharetta.
“We have expanded Alpharetta’s downtown historic district by six city blocks, adding historically styled buildings and classic park spaces within a traditional street grid,” says Cheri Morris, president of Morris & Fellows. “The result is a walkable destination that serves as the crossroads of downtown and the nexus of the Alpha Loop.”
A multi-use trail system spearheaded by the City of Alpharetta, the Alpha Loop aims to connect residential areas and business districts to entertainment, recreational experiences and green spaces. Currently, a path linking downtown Alpharetta to Avalon, called the Thompson Street leg, is nearly complete. Additional phases of the trail are under design or in the conceptual planning stages, while the long-term goal is to provide more connections to the east side of Georgia 400 and create links between downtown, Avalon, North Point and the Big Creek Greenway.
In the meantime, downtown residents are already able to walk and bike to a diverse mix of restaurants, boutiques, the Saturday Farmers Market, an art center in the renovated library and a full calendar of special seasonal events like concerts, festivals and Food Truck Alley.
Avalon resident and artist Mary Beth Cornelius explains that she enjoys walking throughout downtown Alpharetta and visiting with shopkeepers and proprietors who serve as excellent ambassadors. The area has only become more vibrant with a mixture of people of all age ranges, she says. “I give great credit to former Mayor David Belle Isle and the City Council who went to such great efforts to ensure that this does not become a cookie cutter shopping mall. The fact that large chain franchises are prohibited in City Center will allow it to remain unique and authentic.”
The growth in entertainment offerings and infrastructure has worked in tandem with the increase in high-end residential options that have proponents like Cornelius and Slavik giving up their large houses. And, with the help of Rhonda Shell Real Estate, they were able to find their forever homes.
What to do in Downtown Alpharetta this Month
Light The Night, Dec. 1, Milton Avenue and Main Street
Magical Winter Village, Dec. 8, Village Green on Main Street
Coalition Food and Beverage
Jinya Ramen Bar
Maple Street Biscuit Company
Never Enough Thyme
SHADE Street Food + Bar
Ave Maria Gifts & Books
Belso Home Studio
La Bella Maison
The Pink Valise Boutique
Vino 100 / Tinder Box