Toro told the crowd at the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek that ground will break on the site within the first quarter of next year — good news to residents hoping to see the parking structure on the lot disappear.
The developer, who has been promoting the project as “not a place to go” but “a place to be,” said about 50 percent of Avalon’s retail space has been committed and the first phase of the development should be open in April 2014.
Construction on the second phase of the development is slated to begin at that time, or within the first quarter of 2014.
Toro, who has already applied for land disturbance permits with the city, said his company will “not speculate” with Avalon.
“That parking deck will stay there until we’re ready to go,” he said.
Avalon will be based on nine “core values,” which Toro listed as hospitality, community, family, health, culture, sustainability, a sense of place, connectivity and technology.
With respect to these concepts, the development will include connectivity to the Big Creek Greenway and will be walkable in a way that visitors can “park once and walk everywhere,” according to Toro.
Toro said the development will also have Wi-Fi access throughout the site, green practices, art events and an ice skating rink “the size of Rockefeller Center.”
In addition to retail and restaurants, the development will contain both rental housing units and for-sale properties. Two hotels will also be included.
Toro expressed excitement about the news that Gwinnett Technical College’s north Fulton campus will be located just across the street from Avalon.
“We’re trying to create energy, and nothing creates energy like college kids,” he said.
Asked about adding MARTA access to the development, Toro said, “If you’re going to have a walkable community, you better have transit.”
Toro said he is already “in discussions with MARTA to connect to [the North Springs station].”
When asked by Roswell Mayor Jere Wood why north Fulton was chosen for the project, Toro said, “We see quality in every corner here.”