Mixed use has long been a buzz word for development in Forsyth County, and it appears the city of Cumming could soon follow suit.
Tuesday night, the city council approved Cumming's first multiple use zoning for a development between Pilgrim Mill Road and Ga. 400. Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said a lot of thought and planning had gone into the project, which will include an upscale 120-room hotel. The multi-phase project calls for 410,700 square feet of commercial, office and retail space. Its residential component will offer 41 single-family homes, 20 town homes and 120 senior citizen apartments or condominiums.
The project's first phase is expected to begin before the spring and will include 150 apartments. Despite the various components proposed, more than a quarter of the 77-acre property will be open space. Project developer John Norris of Pilgrim Mill Development Company talked to city officials about the project Tuesday. "We did a lot of soul searching ... we spent a lot of time planning this," he said. "We've come up with something that will be an enhancement to the community and will build something that I think the community will be proud of."
The project will be south of Sawnee Creek and west of Lake Lanier. That's just south of the city's massive Pilgrim Mill project, which will include an aquatic center, state Department of Driver Services facility, Georgia National Guard Armory and satellite campus of North Georgia College & State University.
Gravitt hopes the mixed-use addition will enhance the Pilgrim Mill area, though he did address a possible fear, given the current economic trend. "What we don't want now is the sort of thing you see right now ...
[where] you go over to build the first phase and nothing is ever completed," he said, referring to foreclosures and bank-owned projects. "We're looking for a place ... to live, work and recreate."