Avenir Plaza Fiesta, rejection of Alpharetta, sale of land near Piedmont Park

NORTHEAST ATLANTIA—Fans of the one-of-a-kind cultural destination Plaza Fiesta were rocked by headlines this week announcing that Asana Partners, owners of Krog Street Market and other hip properties in the city that aren’t exactly associated with affordable goods and services, bought the dynamic market.

Plaza Fiesta, for the uninitiated, is a 344,000 square foot former 1960s mall turned Latin American cultural hub, brimming with religious statues, cowboy clothing, Mexican candy, piñatas, rosaries, quinceañera dresses, an imposing playing field and a universe of authentic dishes.

Located at 4166 Buford Highway, Plaza Fiesta is anchored by a Mercado Fresco grocery store, Ross Dress for Less, Planet Fitness, Ollie’s and Aaron’s, while a standalone CVS and QuikTrip were also included in the sale.

But the million-dollar question remains: what, if anything, will change at the Plaza Fiesta? It’s not entirely clear.

Asked about Asana’s future plans via email this week, Brian Purcell, an Asana partner, replied that “we don’t have any additional details to share at this time” but offered to “contact at future once we do”.

Courtesy of CBRE

This statement from Kevin Hurley, senior vice president of CBRE in Atlanta, who brokered the deal, raised hopes that Plaza Fiesta will not be drastically changed: “We have been big fans and patrons of Plaza Fiesta for many years and we’ve watched it thrive under thoughtful ownership and management,” said Hurley. “We are delighted to have found a new sponsor who will continue to be an excellent steward of such a special property.”

Charlotte-based Asana paid more than $85.6 million for the 32-acre property, more than double what it last traded in 2006, and about $40 million more than the DeKalb County Tax Assessor’s Office, depending on the value of the property. Brokers marketing Plaza Fiesta had previously described it as a “cash flow machine”.

According to CBRE, Plaza Fiesta is over 95% rented and its main market section is home to approximately 250 different tenants.

ALPHARETTE—The potential redevelopment of Alpharetta’s North Point Mall appears to have come to a screeching halt, at least for now.

Alpharetta City Council this week rejected $550 million redevelopment plans by the Texas-based Trademark Property Company to turn the mall into a phased work-and-play destination in the coming years . The trademark was denied rezoning by a 4-2 vote, the latest twist in the concept’s turbulent and now delayed road to birth.

The AJC summed up Monday’s proceedings as follows: “Council members opposed to the project said they did not trust Trademark to carry out its design plans and were concerned that the mall would become a wasteland with only a shopping center closed and an unwanted apartment complex.” Ouch.

How the initial phase of multi-family construction of the North Point Mall was expected to fit into the neighborhood, according to early renderings. Courtesy of Trademark Property Company; designs, Torti Gallas + Partners

A particular bone of contention was the 875 new apartments, according to Trademark, that would be needed if the redevelopment were to be financially viable. Brand officials said city council members had expressed concern that these units were only attracting transient residents and drug dealers, but council member Jason Binder argued this week that those comments had been taken out of context, according to the AJC.

All hope of Trademark’s involvement in a redesign of North Point is not lost. Councilors unanimously approved a measure that would allow the developer to submit revised plans within six months.

VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND—The future becomes brighter (somehow) for a transitional property ideally located, as these pages highlighted a year ago, on the edge of Piedmont Park.

The Saporta Report reports this week that the Atlanta Botanical Garden purchased the approximately 2-acre property on Monroe Drive, which once housed the Cantoni furniture company and other businesses, for $13.5 million. Representatives of the Botanical Garden told the publication that the purchase was less about redeveloping the property now and more about keeping it as an investment for future options. Property records indicate the deal closed in May.

Cantoni’s familiar sign shone beside Monroe Drive for nearly two decades. Mimms Companies

Together, the onsite buildings span over 39,000 square feet. The Atlanta Marquee Greenspace is across the street, and the BeltLine’s Eastside Trailhead is half a block south. They were previously owned by Mimms Enterprises, a Roswell-based commercial real estate company with a portfolio of shopping centers scattered across northern Georgia.

The properties last sold for $7.5 million in 2019, according to city tax records.

Cantoni moved to a new showroom west of Midtown, where Brady Avenue meets Howell Mill Road. Another former tenant, Illuminations Lighting, now operates in Buckhead near the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center.

• Three more tenants announced for Summerhill Station development (Urbanize Atlanta)