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Halcyon official shares secrets of development surviving pandemic, reveals future tenants to come
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With access to the Big Creek Greenway, Halcyon welcomes guests with two legs and four, allowing dogs to partake in family outings at restaurants, shops and in the shared community space. Photo courtesy Halcyon.

When Halcyon began opening its doors to Forsyth County residents in fall of 2019, Phil Mays said he was filled with excitement about the future of the mixed-use development.

A few months later, Mays said he remembers “very vividly” watching as Gov. Brian Kemp addressed the residents of Georgia about shut-downs and COVID-19 mandates in March 2020.

“We were feeling good and then COVID-19 hit,” Mays said.

Mays, who is the president of RocaPoint Partners, a private real estate investment and development firm behind Halcyon, took some time to reflect over the development’s past, present and future, and most notably, the $725 million fiscal impact Halcyon has had the past three years.

“[Halcyon is] meant to be a place for gathering for the people in the Forsyth County community,” Mays said. “I think we’ve achieved that.”

When the world shut down in spring 2020, Mays said it was important to keep the development’s doors open, creating an outdoor community center for people to gather in a safe way.

Mays said Halcyon was originally designed to “mesh the indoors with the outdoors,” incorporating restaurants with large outdoor seating areas, garage-style doors at the cafeteria and connectivity to the Big Creek Greenway.

As COVID-19 continued to wear on the community, Mays said he started to see people walking along the greenway and “ending up at Halcyon.”

“We had so many bikes on site during COVID-19,” Mays said. “Without even the retailers open.”

Mays said many more bike racks had to be installed during this period to accommodate every guest.

As mandates started to lift and COVID-19 numbers were trending down, stores, restaurants and offices began opening back up across the state.

“When the businesses were able to open back up, a lot of the local community was already there,” Mays said. “A lot of [retailers] were able to pick up right where they left off.”

Because Halcyon was designed to incorporate indoor and outdoor space, Mays said COVID-19 did not deliver “any kind of significant blow to the vibrance of [the development].”

In the past three years, Halcyon has seen over 5 million guests with most being from Forsyth County, Mays said.

Halcyon has also accrued a fiscal impact of $725 million to the county in just three years through taxes, fees, retail sales, public greenspace and Big Creek Greenway improvements.

Mays said the number has “far exceeded” expectations. The development was originally projected to contribute around $150 million to the local economy over the next 10 years.

“It was really eye-opening even to us as we were running those numbers, and something we’re really proud of, too – to deliver this type of positive fiscal impact,” Mays said.

Halcyon currently hosts more than 300 events per year with fan favorites such as International Doodle Dog Day, Halcyon’s Got Talent and Farm Animal Yoga.

The development is also home to a trailhead for the Big Creek Greenway, complete with a paved parking lot and permanent bathrooms.

Mays said he was pleased Halcyon could contribute a nice trailhead to the county paid for with internal funds. Everything done at Halcyon as well as county improvements and economic contributions have been internal and “not masked by tax abatements and so on.”

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While Halcyon has been hosting gatherings, events and more for the last three years, Mays said Phase 3 of construction will finish off the project. Photo courtesy Halcyon.

Looking forward, Mays said “there’s still some commercial to do” on property that fronts McFarland Parkway and Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

Mays called construction across the street Phase 3, which will bring more retail, restaurant and office options with one famous restaurant moving in – one Mays said his middle-schooler is very interested in opening.

In October 2020, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved zoning conditions for a Chick-fil-A at Halcyon, which former District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown said would be “very nice.”

Mays said Phase 3 is expected to begin in 2023 with an anticipated buildout of about 18 months.

“[I’m looking forward to] having the whole development finished and finalized and stabilized,” he said.

On a more personal note, Mays said it has been gratifying to see Forsyth County residents enjoy the development, especially those that shared “[rightful]” concerns during Halcyon’s zoning process over three years ago.

He said seeing those same concerned residents turn into regular patrons of the development has been one of the most rewarding outcomes of Halcyon opening.

In terms of the immediate future, Mays also mentioned a new restaurant has opened at Halcyon which has one of the “more interesting buildouts” he’s ever seen, almost like a “restaurant out of Disney World.”

Eclipse di Luna, a Spanish restaurant famous for its tapas and paellas, opened in mid-November. The restaurant has other locations in Buckhead and Dunwoody.

A luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury will also be opening its first location at Halcyon in mid-December. The store will offer dermatologist-approved skin care, makeup and bath and body products.

Halcyon is located at 6365 Halcyon Way in Alpharetta, just east of Ga. 400 at Exit 12.

For more information about Halcyon and its upcoming events, restaurants and retailers, visit www.visithalcyon.com.
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Halcyon has been a retail, office and restaurant destination for friends and families since the mixed-use development opened its doors in fall of 2019. Photo courtesy Halcyon.