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Fewer homes, more retail in revised plan
Project would be adjacent to county's green space
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Forsyth County News
After sitting on the shelf for nearly a year, plans for a large mixed-use development in south Forsyth recently underwent a few revisions.

The executors for the Arlene Harrison estate had planned to create Harrison Terrace, a mixed-use project with 634,500 square feet of commercial space, 183 single family homes and 141 town homes.

But plans changed after the county bought more than 63 acres of the estate for about $8.5 million in voter-approved green space bond money.

The county’s portion, which was acquired as green space, was the same property developers had planned to use for the residential component.

As a result of the deal, which closed Dec. 31, the residential part of the proposed development has been reduced from 324 homes and town homes to 23 single-family homes.

“The residential was a wonderful component of that master plan district,” said Lee Dailey, estate co-executor. “I had very mixed emotions about selling it.

“But the residents of that area overwhelmingly wanted that property to be used as green space, and that’s why I agreed to sell it.”

Dailey recently submitted an updated plan to the state’s Department of Community Affairs that includes the residential change and about 4,000 square feet less in commercial space.

The original plan was about a $210 million investment. Dailey said the new plan will likely cost between $150 million and $160 million.
Another change to the proposal is the absence of a developer. Dailey said Lauth, a Florida-based company, withdrew as project developer in August 2008.

“I would assume that it was the market conditions on a national scale,” he said. “Lauth is a national developer and market conditions didn’t warrant their apparent activity in this area.”

While the plan still calls for a 2014 completion date, Dailey said the market will dictate the next move.

“There is a delay in ... developing the commercial component,” he said, adding there are no plans to break ground in the next couple years.
As part of the green space purchase, county commissioners approved rezoning more than 77 acres as commercial and about 14 acres as residential with conditions.

Commissioners Jim Harrell and Charles Laughinghouse voted against the measure.

The county’s portion of the property, which borders Hwy. 141 at Brookwood and Caney roads, likely will not be used for active recreation, said Commissioner Brian Tam, who supported the purchase.

Active recreation areas typically include ball fields and similar facilities. Green space property is considered passive recreation, like hiking trails.

“The community down there has been pretty proactive in circulating an electronic survey, and we’ll use those results to help plan whatever amenities we’ll put on the park land,” he added.

The county has not allocated any funds for the park for 2009, but Tam said there could be funding in the 2010 budget.

It’s possible, he added, that residents could work on a volunteer basis with the county’s parks and recreation department to make some improvements.

E-mail Jennifer Sami at