Using Political Pressure to Get a Chick-fil-A at Avalon


Restaurant_Chick-Fil-A_in_Sugar_House_SLCDown 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.



7 Replies to “Using Political Pressure to Get a Chick-fil-A at Avalon”

  1. Let’s face it. Avalon is not really for kids. Other than pink berry and the candy store, there is no where to take kids here. We’ve taken ours to a few places in Avalon to eat and the wait staff rolls their eyes at us when we walk in. But in a suburb, you need to appeal to kids or families won’t come. I think Toro desperately needs a Chick-fil-a to bring more families in. I admit I eat chick-fil-a and cringe when my son eats the nuggets here (as chick-fil-a chicken is chalk full of MSG), but when your shopping at the mall and need an extra 30 min, MSG chicken gets you through. The chick-fil-a fight at Avalon is funny.

  2. Another Chick-fil-A is less than 3 miles away from Avalon. Located at 4285 State Bridge Road (adjacent to the Alpharetta Commons shopping area near the intersection of Old Milton Parkway and Kimball Bridge Road), the restaurant is only about 200 feet beyond the city’s limits, just northeast of Alpharetta’s Park Brooke subdivision. We love Chick-fil-A but surely a different, non-fast-food restaurant would be a better fit for Avalon.

    1. Actually the Chick on Old Milton Parkway is inside the city of Alpharetta . Johns Creek starts just past that ( The intersection)

  3. Mr. Toro was quoted in a March 6, 2015 story that appeared on the Shopping Center Buisness site, entitled “Creating The Experience”:

    “Retailers are seeking to give their customer an experience,” says Mark Toro, partner with Atlanta-based North American Properties. “We, as their landlord, are taking it upon ourselves to create the experience at the property level — to bring people to the property and keep them there. This is the flip of what developers did in the 1980s and ’90s, when we created convenient retail environments with quick in-and-out shopping experiences. Today, we are creating public spaces where people are eager to convene, then activate those places with events and promotions.”

    So, is Chick-fil-A something that helps with the unique “customer experience” of Avalon, or is it a “convenient retail environment with quick in-and-out shopping”? Mr. Toro would have us believe it is both…but I just don’t see how ANY fast food restaurant with a double-wide drive thru lane is “experiential”!

  4. I’m not sure how much building space is available at that corner, but a Pei Wei Asian Diner would be a nice addition to the local restaurant scene. The food is fresh, tasty and prepared quickly. They do not use MSG.

  5. Likewise, there is plenty of shopping available one exit away on 400 at Northpoint Mall. Why was Avalon allowed to be built?

    I’m being facetious, but Mark Toro knows that Avalon needs Chick-fil-a more than vice versa.

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