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The roughly $85 million next phase of Alpharetta City Center broke ground on Thursday, a project Mayor David Belle Isle called one of the biggest moments in the city’s history.

An Atlanta development team of Morris & Fellows, MidCity Real Estate Partners and South City Partners recently completed the purchase of just over 4 acres, as Atlanta Business Chronicle reported earlier this month

The project will include 105,000 square feet of restaurants and retail (Morris & Fellows); three acres of greenspace and gardens; 36,000 square feet of office (MidCity Real Estate Partners); and 168 apartments (South City Partners).

The 26-acre City Center project already includes city hall, a library, a park and town green. Hedgewood Homes is also underway on 42 single-family homes.

A host of new tenants were announced on Thursday.

Technology company Datascan is relocating its headquarters to the project, bringing 150 employees to Alpharetta.

The City Center also will feature 10 to 15 restaurants and 20 to 30 shops, said Belle Isle.

A big focus of the project is its design, meant to buck of traditional shopping centers.

“We are building a downtown district,” said Cheri Morris, president of Morris & Fellows. It will include 28 buildings built in a variety of architectural styles.

Morris added her team went after authentic, local retailers.

“It’s the best of the best, people who care about Atlanta,” she said. “The chain stores can’t believe it when we say ‘no.’ But, we are looking for excellence.”

The architecture team behind the City Center expansion includes Lew Oliver; The Preston Partnership; Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart and Associates; Place Maker Design and B+C Studio.

Here’s the full list of retail and restaurant tenants:

  • Highland Bakery – Popular Atlanta restaurant Highland Bakery will open its 11th location at the project. It will be housed inside a building that recreates the 19th century Milton County Courthouse. Highland Bakery Founder Stacey Eames said, “The look and feel of the City Center is unique, yet very familiar to us … We look forward to being part of the center of all that’s good in Alpharetta.”
  • Spirited Boutique – Spirit Lala Bush will open her fourth location of Spirited Boutique, which offers “Boho Chic” fashion and accessories. It will be 2,000 square feet. Bush said she was drawn to the project because of its similarities with downtown Woodstock, where she also has a boutique. “It’s a different feel,” Bush said. “It’s not a mall. It’s more of an enjoyable experience.”
  • Raw Juice Boutique – Alissa Reynolds and Jaimee Schick will open their second location of Raw Juice Boutique, which offers cold-pressed juices, smoothies and healthy lunch items. Schick said they were drawn to the City Center project because it’s similar in feel to historic Roswell where they launched the concept.
  • Lapeer – Local restaurateur Louis Soon, co-owner of South Main Kitchen and Butcher and Brew, will open his third Alpharetta eatery at the project. It will be an upscale seafood restaurant that draws upon his roots in the Dutch Antilles. Soon said his restaurant would be housed in an old white church, which would set the tone for his relaxed restaurant with a clean design. Of downtown Alpharetta, he said, “It’s home. It’s got a heart beat.”
  • Holmes – The City Center will also preserve the historic Jones House, built in 1915, and convert it to a new restaurant called Holmes from Chef Taylor Neary. He most recently worked for Chef Ford Fry’s restaurants, Marcel in West Midtown and St. Cecilia in Buckhead. “I think what we are seeing is demand for better restaurants in the suburbs,” Neary said in an early March interview. “Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market are amazing spots, but look at downtown Alpharetta and Roswell. There are shops and places to walk around. It’s a similar to intown but there is more of a historic feel.”
  • Vin25 concept – Phillip Cooper, who founded Vin25 in Roswell, will bring a new wine-centric restaurant to the project. It will be about 3,500 square feet and will include a wine and spirits market. The concept is yet to be named. It will have more of a tavern feel than the Roswell location, Cooper said.
  • Perched – Amanda Topper will open her second clothing and gift boutique called Perched. Her other store called Fashion Cupcake is in Woodstock. “We have a very feminine, fun and unique style,” Topper said.
  • Natural Body Spa and Shoppe will open its eighth location at the project. It will feature 10 spa rooms for a variety of wellness treatments. Founder and CEO Cici Coffee said the project reminds her of “early townships” and she couldn’t be more pleased to work with Morris & Fellows. “We always wanted to be here,” Coffee said.
  • Kilwins – Todd and Irina Bridges will open a new location of sweets franchise Kilwins, which serves ice cream, fudge, candy and caramels. It will be the second location in Atlanta. The other is at Atlantic Station. “Downtown Alpharetta is exploding,” Todd said. “It’s kind of a perfect scenario. Kilwins has targeted this area for years.”
  • Branches – Branches is a women’s fashion and accessories store from Jodi Tiberio.
  • Brooklyn’s – Tiberio will also open another women’s boutique called Brooklyn’s. It features sought-after brands in tops, athletic wear, shoes, dresses, pants, accessories and gifts.
  • Hemline – Hemline is a contemporary women’s boutique known for its fashion-forward designer apparel, shoes and accessories.

Amy Wenk covers hospitality, retail and restaurants.