Down in midtown Atlanta, my favorite and best dressed businessman, Mark Toro, is scorching hot with the success of Avalon in Alpharetta, the revival and sale of Atlantic Station and now the promise of a newer and better Colony Square, that beloved icon at Peachtree Street and Ansley Park.
My impression of Toro up until recently was that this gentleman was all tweets, nice suits and an ear that is attuned to the times and how to ride the winds of the marketplace. This is a man that is about fostering sales in his real estate developments, whether they be sales in retail stores and restaurants or office and residential, because he knows that these sales are everything to his success. Now, I know something new about Toro and his desire to get the sales he wants. Mr. Toro is not beyond pulling the political pressure card – as is evidenced by his complaining to a group of his peers that Alpharetta is run by a bunch of old, white guys (like himself, he says) and more recently, by publishing a post in LinkedIn wherein he discusses his daze and confusion that Alpharetta City Council might possibly vote against a Chick-fil-A at Avalon. Is he just laying the truth on us like a preacher, or has he evolved in his savvy to get what he wants?
Mr. Toro is quite wrong when he implies that Alpharettans are being denied the pleasures of Mr. Cathy’s family recipe by way of the chicken sandwich. There already exists a Chick-fil-A on North Point Parkway as well as a Chick-fil-A on Windward (technically Milton, but still only about 3 miles from the Avalon). Yes, it is true that the Planning Commission rejected the placement of a Chick-fil-A at Avalon but I was at this meeting and I heard more than one Planning Commissioner state publicly that the presence of a Chick-fil-A at Avalon in general was not so much a problem as the fact that they were proposing a drive-through at a tight corner and a stone’s throw from Avalon’s residential.
In my opinion, Mr. Toro has no one but himself to blame for this gush of attention to detail that the locals are showing on the subject of a Chick-fil-A at Avalon, for Mr. Toro himself has gushed for years now about the luxurious details of Avalon. You have to admit, a drive through fast food restaurant is not a luxury factor. I don’t care if they do call themselves Chick-fil-A.
In Mr. Toro’s vision for the future I wonder if he sees Alpharetta as an urban-burb where fast food lives immediately next to “chef-driven restaurants” for this is exactly what Chick-fil-A would be if it were placed in Avalon. But let’s remember, Alpharetta is, in fact, a suburb. It’s not an urbanburb. In fact, one could make the argument that Avalon is just a 2015 version of what North Point Mall was to Alpharetta back in the early 1990’s.
Anyway. I personally don’t care one way or another. What’s interesting to me is that Mr. Toro is using political pressure via social media to persuade the political powers that be. Yes, it sounds ever so slightly like something I would do. And I’m anxious to see if it works.