Mall matters: redevelopment plans are on the drawing board in Athens, Duluth

“Wow, this place is empty”

As Athens-Clarke County Commissioners await a proposal from the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission on plans to redevelop the property that is home to the Georgia Square Mall, Gwinnett County moves closer to finalizing plans for Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. Developers earlier this year announced plans for a mixed-use proposal for the property on Atlanta Highway in Athens. After originally planning to have Commission votes in the spring, Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz says final action will likely come in the fall.

From WSB TV…

Gwinnett Place Mall is a step closer to getting torn down and completely revitalized.

County leaders know that people have been hearing promises about the mall for a while now. This time, they say that the county owns much of the property and that leadership is more committed.

“Wow, this place is empty,” is how one shopper described the mall Thursday when speaking with Channel 2′s Matt Johnson. “I’d like to see it booming again like it used to be.”

This week, Gwinnett County leaders took a major step toward breathing life into the dead mall and creating something bigger than ever.

“This is going to be more than a mall. It’s going to be a destination,” said Nicole Hendrickson, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners chairwoman.

The board of commissioners passed a redevelopment plan this week that outlines how the mall’s future also includes housing, a cultural activity center and jobs.

“This time around, we wanted to make sure we are intentional about centering the voices of the community,” Hendrickson said.

New renderings from the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District show what the area could look like in 10-15 years.

But before then, deals have to be made, and a cost has to be ironed out.

“(We need to be) showing not only the cost but, more importantly, the return on that investment to that community as well,” Joe Allen with the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District said.

County leaders said they know the community has been promised big things in the past, but they’re working more with the community to ensure success.

“This was the result of a long time coming and public input and public participation,” Hendrickson said.

It has some people optimistic that these promises will actually be fulfilled. Up to 2,700 homes are proposed to be built there by the time everything is said and done.

By the end of the month, an implementation strategy that is expected to include a cost estimate will be turned into the board.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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