When this author was in high school Georgia State Route 400, now known simply as “400”, was not much more than a several mile long drag strip to nowhere. They installed the first stretch north from Sandy Springs in the 1970s, then halted for what seemed like a decade to contend with planning delays. I don’t recall delay details, as I was then preoccupied at the University of Georgia, and soon thereafter, Chicago. When construction resumed to the north & south, the route severed childhood friends’ neighborhoods and even the road to my high school. All in the name of progress.
Route 400 officially opened as a toll road in 1993, with only a single 50 cent toll booth in both directions. For years it was Georgia’s only toll road, until collection ended in 2013, to the delight of millions of travelers to & from North Georgia. Removal of toll booths anywhere is virtually unheard of, though governments invariably propose them as “temporary” - only to fund initial construction. Temporary my arse - see Chicago. But we will not dwell on tollways here. This is about the vibrant communities emerging northward along 400.
Sandy Springs & Roswell have long been deemed Atlanta suburbs. Not so long ago Alpharetta, Milton, Johns Creek, Cumming & Dawsonville were considered exurbs. My, how times have changed.
Each community offers residential options for first time home buyers, growing families who move up or empty nesters who downsize. Median single family home prices according to realtor.com, northward from Sandy Springs:
Sandy Springs ~ $635,000
Roswell ~ $465,000
Alpharetta ~ $525,000
Milton ~ $552,000
Johns Creek ~ $460,000
Cumming ~ $380,000
Dawsonville ~ $230,000
Boundaries are blurred on what is called the Georgia 400 “High Tech Corridor", which runs roughly from Sandy Springs to Alpharetta. Benefits of commercial growth extend beyond to communities further north. Hardly a ‘pure tech’ Silicon Valley clone, employers such as Mercedes-Benz, Kimberly-Clark, Siemens & UPS anchor a broad, diverse economic base.
Expanding commerce, excellent schools, abundant recreation, shopping & nightlife opportunities attract skilled residents. Local Live / Work cultures take the place of 90+ minute commutes to Atlanta. The result is town centers so bustling with activity that a service once exclusive many miles to south is often the norm ~ valet parking. Gasp!
The 400 Corridor not only connects suburban towns to Atlanta; it brings urban lifestyle options to the towns themselves. Commercial growth & community comprehensive plans approaching the year 2030 suggest a future offering continued promise for residents & visitors in the coming decade and beyond.
Georgia Trend Magazine
Atlanta Business Chronicle
1400 Market Place Blvd
Cumming GA 30041