City Councilman and Rotarian Terry Nall introduced Dunwoody Director of Economic Development Michael Starling to the Rotary Club of Dunwoody on Sept. 13.
Starling focused his comments on consumer preferences, the regional development which is moving north on I-400, and the development of the existing environment.
Starling shared statistics showing that, from a consumer standpoint, most Dunwoody residents actually live in a desired situation, which is a prevalence of single-family detached homes with spaces between them, small lawns, walkability and access to public transit and major arteries. These conditions were the preference of 70 preference of those polled. Working with the Convention and Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and Discover Dunwoody, the goals are retention of existing businesses, recruitment of new businesses and re-development of spaces that can be updated.
The compact commercial area in Dunwoody has 10 million square feet of business space, 4.5 million square feet of retail; and an 8th hotel’s being built, bringing the city’s capacity to 1,935 rooms. Starling said surveys show that only 54 percent of seniors plan to downsize.
Countering a recent trend, suburbs are growing again, he said, adding that Dunwoody is perfectly situated for senior active communities. However, the price of land is prohibitive, making financing difficult, he said.
Starling was asked about the number of banks and the dearth of chef-centered restaurants in the Village. He said that banks use a small plot of land and do not require the parking spaces restaurants need. But he hinted that the city is encouraging that future restaurants not be chain owned.