The Council was in executive session November 15 at our regular session and this week November 21 at a special called council meeting to discuss the Town Center project.
The project has taken much, much longer than we originally anticipated when we purchased the land back in the spring of 2013 and many people have questions about what is taking so long and when are we going to see something happen. As a result, I wanted to give a high level overview that includes a little background on how we got here and where things are headed in the near future.
- We purchased the land from Lennar who was intending to build about 300 apartments on the property.
The land had already been zoned for apartments by the County back in the early 2000s (before there was a city) so there was nothing the City could do to stop the apartments if Lennar decided to build them.
Ultimately the Council felt a Town Center (i.e. mixed use downtown feel) would add much more value to the area than 300 apartments which is why we bought the land.
- Most mixed use projects currently include an apartment component. The apartments are usually built first and help provide the initial cash flow (occupancy rates in the metro area are in excess of 96%) that make the financing of the whole project much easier.
Our insistence that the project would not include apartments (and any retailers or restaurants would have to meet pre approval by the Council) has created a variety of issues both from a financing standpoint (from the developers standpoint) and a leasing standpoint (retailers like having hundreds of apartments on site as it provides somewhat of a captive audience).
However, the Council felt strongly that our housing component would be town homes (about 70) and would not include a rental component.
- The project is quite complex due to multiple partners who will ultimately be landowners – the City (will own the parking deck, the roads, the town green and the botanical gardens area), Fuqua (retail) and the residential developer.
Often when a developer does a project there is just one party, maybe two if the residential is being done separately. The complexity due to three partners (and this doesn’t count a fourth entity that owns that the cell tower on the property) has contributed to the project taking longer
- A key piece of the retail development is the theater that will be on the town green. Many of the potential retailers require an ‘anchor’ tenant that will drive foot traffic and so lining up an anchor tenant has been critical. However, the theater will not be a regular theater like an AMC or Regal. Instead it be not only a theater but will also contain, most likely, an dining/bar component and will be focused more on an adult audience and speical events. There are a limited number of companies that provide this type of product and the companies that do provide this product are extremely careful about where they do placements as the demographics necessary for these places to succeed is extremely limited as well. The combination of a limited number of options and retail leases being contingent on lining up an anchor has provided significant complexity to the project.
In a nutshell, the limitations imposed by the Council to ensure a high quality product and the numerous moving pieces (more than in a usual project) has resulted in multiple delays.
We were hoping for a December close but the Developer (Fuqua) has requested an additional extension through the end of March 2017 to bring together all the remaining loose ends on this project.
After very careful consideration of what has already been invested from both a time and financial perspective by all parties so far in the project and weighing the likelihood of a successful close in the first quarter of 2017, the Council decided to grant the extension contingent on the developer successfully meeting various trigger points over the next month or so. There is no estimated construction schedule at this point based on a Spring 2017 close but I think would most certainly push an ‘opening’ of the Town Center well into the second half of 2018.
After many months of deliberations and significant public input, the Council voted last week to ban the discharge of firearms in the city with the exception of use for protecting ones person and property. This is not a city ‘ban’ on hunting as only the state can regulate hunting.
Bow hunting is allowed (bows are not considered firearms by the state and hence cities are allowed to regulate) if one has a valid state hunting license and the written permission of the land owner. A special thanks to all the residents who came and spoke on this issue over the last two months. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a room full of people with strong opinions on an issue and say what is on your mind.
More street lights on the way in 2017
The Council is considering a plan that would add over 200 new street lights on major roads (all of these are not necessarily going in during 2017). These lights would be added to existing electric poles.
I personally have experienced the benefit of the new lights that were added to Lou Ivy and you can see below the new lights on PC Circle near the Forum (credits go to our new state house rep – Scott Hilton, for this picture)
Street Paving – Part II
Peachtree Corners has roughly 225 miles of roads. 120 miles of those are city streets (basically subdivisions and a few other roads) and then the other 105 miles are county (e.g. PIB) and state (e.g. Holcomb Bridge). The City currently is spending about $1.5M per year on repaving which is getting us a little over 6 miles per year. Now some roads are wider than others but based on current costs and current amounts of square footage being paved each year, we are roughly on a 15 year repaving cycle. That compares to roughly a 25-30 year repaving cycle for city roads before there was a city.
The Peachtree Market shopping center (i.e. Chick Fil A shopping center) continues to undergo a makeover. The area that has been bulldozed is going to eventually contain the relocated LA Fitness (from Holcomb Bridge) and the Buffalo Wild Wings. An Aldi grocery store will be going in as well. I dont have a completion date right now.
The Council received an update on our ongoing website upgrades recently. I would encourage you to go and check it out.
Below is a screen shot of an interactive map where you can see ongoing transportation projects.
The above information is excerpted from City Council Member Alex Wright – Post 3
City Planning Commission
December 13, 2016 7:00 PM CITY HALL
SUP2016-005 King David Adult Day Care Center. Request for a special use permit to allow an adult day care center in an O-I, Office-Institution, zoning district on a portion of a 7.15 acre site located at 6991 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. (Bldg. 600) in Dist. 6, Land Lot 277, Peachtree Corners, GA
Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Simpsonwood UMC
This Saturday, December 3, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Simpsonwood UMC Family Life Center at 4500 Jones Bridge Circle in Peachtree Corners. A pancake breakfast, provided by the United Methodist Men, will be served. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures, bring your camera. There is no charge for breakfast or pictures, but we do ask that you provide a food donation for the Norcross Cooperative Ministry or cash donations will be accepted and forwarded to them. Bring the kids and let them meet Santa in a relaxed atmosphere. See you there!
Pet Pictures with Santa
December 3 from noon to 2:00pm. Bring your friendly pets for visits and photos with Santa. Parents are welcome to join their pets in the picture. Cost: $6/pet; register online here (use code LSP31489) or call 678.277.0860. Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Road in Norcross.
Please beware, all fireworks have been banned due to drought conditions.
Gov. Nathan Deal has signed an executive order banning the use of fireworks in 110 counties, including Gwinnett, due to the extreme drought and risk of wildfires.
To report a violation in The City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, please contact the Gwinnett County Police Department.
The ban will remain in effect while drought conditions persist.
To view the executive order:. https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/…/Fireworks_Ban_Executive_Or…
Promise of Gwinnett Essay Contest (Pinckneyville Middle School)
Congratulations to 8th grader Derek Dubon-Ortega for being named the middle school level winner for the Promise of Gwinnett essay contest for his tribute to the sacrifices of his mom and the impact of his teachers in helping him fulfill the Promise of Gwinnett.
Sabra Dipping Co., LLC is voluntarily recalling certain hummus products made prior to November 8, 2016 due to concerns over Listeria monocytogenes, which was identified at the manufacturing facility but not in tested finished product. The recall includes the products listed below; these were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts and supermarkets, in the U.S. and Canada.
ON OUR BORDERS
First Friday Holiday Concert with the Rainmen, 7 – 9 p.m., Norcross Community Center
Holiday Concert with The Rainmen, a local legendary band of Atlanta musicians. They will perform a mix of holiday songs and 60s and 70s rock covers for an entertaining evening celebrating the season. Reserve your seats early by calling 678-421-2048.
|Saturday, December 3
Fire Station Museum Grand Opening
Norcross Community Center
The grand opening ceremony for the City of Norcross’ new Fire Station No. 1 Museum will be held on Saturday, December 3 at 10:30 a.m. The Fire Station Museum has recently undergone a facelift that gives it a more thorough and unique experience to its visitors. The museum’s centerpiece is a 1942 fire engine converted jeep that was restored by DeLeon Foundation committee members. As the flagship piece, the converted fire engine is expected to continue to draw an interested audience with its new, enhanced setting. The museum’s enhancements include oversized, brightly colored panels highlighting different aspects of fire history in Norcross along with fire-related memorabilia. It is certainly a well-deserved update and something that will be enjoyed by Norcross residents and tourists alike.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS
Stargazing in the Swamp
One of Georgia’s most remote state parks has been designated among the best spots in the world for star gazing. The International Dark Sky Association recently named Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp as a gold-tier “International Dark Sky Park” – the first in Georgia. A December 10 celebration will include a short ceremony followed by an astronomy program. Come join the festivities and save 25% on cottages and 50% on campsites from December 5 until 11. Due to drought, visitors who enjoy boating should call ahead to check water levels and boat tour availability.
OUR NEXT GUEST:
Sanjay Parekh, co-founder of the incubator Prototype Prime