MARIETTA, GA-What would have been a major coup for 15-month-old Madison Retail LLC has turned into a non-event as city council members rejected a proposed $63-million, mixed-use redevelopment on the site of a long-blighted Cobb County corner. John A. Williams, the former founder and chairman of Post Properties Inc., is one of Madison’s principals.

Elected officials in this suburban city, 10 miles northwest of Downtown Atlanta, voted 4 to 2 against the Esplanade, a project that would have brought 86 attached townhomes, 118 loft-style condominiums, 73,000 sf of retail, 24,000 sf of office, a 29,250-sf grocery story and 717 parking spaces to the site of the 65-year-old Johnny Walker Homes complex.

Among the factors that shot down the project was Madison’s inability to find a grocer anchor for the project and Madison’s request to the city for $10 million in tax district funding to build a parking deck, area consultants and brokers who attended the public meeting tell

Madison wanted the parking to support the retail and office components of the project. What bothered Marietta officials, however, was that the garage, funded by public tax dollars, eventually would fall into the ownership of private hands. Elected officials felt the $10 million would be better spent on sidewalks, roads and sewers, observers who attended the meeting tell

City officials spent two years and $3 million considering the project and assembling various parcels from private property owners. Now the city plans to sell the 12-acre site outright to the highest bidder, area brokers in a position to know, tell

Besides Williams, Madison Retail principals are Steve Whisenant and G. K. Johnson. Whisenant is CEO of Tri-Kell Investments and the developer of Riverview Village in suburban Vinings, Wade Green Village in north County and Oglethorpe Plaza in Savannah. Johnson developed the Market Village in Smyrna.

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