Officials representing a proposed development on 450 acres in south Forsyth said the timeline for the project has been impacted due to the COVID-19 outbreak but there is still a lot of interest from developers.
Stan Williams, managing director for commercial real estate firm NAI Brannen Goddard, said no developer or buyer has been selected for the site, which is located between Peachtree Parkway, Westminster Lane and Old Atlanta Road, but there has been a lot of interest.
“We've pushed that out, but we've received a lot of strong interest from developers locally, regionally and nationally for this site because it's such a large site located in such a great area of south Forsyth with the schools, the development taking place, hospitals, everything there,” Williams said.
While the outbreak has caused some issues with interested parties getting a look at the land, Williams said talks have been moving forward.
“Thankfully, some of them had already got out to see it and tour the area beforehand, but thanks to technology and everything else, they get a could feel for it sometimes,” he said. “These guys, it's not their first deal. They understand the scope, scale, size of it, but it has precluded them from walking in and driving around the market. Those things have been hindered with COVID.”
The property is part of an 800-acre tract used by an existing quarry. The quarry is being reduced to 350 acres, leaving the rest to be developed.
Williams said while the final plans will depend on the developer, the property will have a mix of uses and include a road between two of south Forsyth's busiest roads.
"The county wants to see a parkway that goes through the site from Hwy. 141 to Old Atlanta Road to try to alleviate traffic for the area and that will be in all the plans,” he said. “You'll probably have more of you mixed-use, Halcyon-esque type of development up near 141, where the retail traffic is, then what takes place on the balance of land; that is still undecided.”
Despite the proximity to Halcyon, Williams said he felt the area was populated enough that both would have their fair share of customers.
In January, Forsyth County Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding between the county, SCARF Forsyth Ga, LLC and Midsouth Paving Inc., to move ahead with the planning process for the development.
Per the document, the proposal is for a “roughly 400-acre development that is intended to be developed with a mix of retail, office, restaurant, entertainment, residential, green space, public safety and educational purposes.” The development would be immediately north of the Forsyth Quarry.
“It shows goodwill on both the county side and the developer to move forward and get this from being more of a very nebulous and abstract [proposal] to put some more detail in it,” Forsyth County District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown said at the time. “This is a step to move us ahead.”
At that meeting, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said a recent proposal to move production of asphalt from an existing plant at the quarry to a new plant located about 0.7 miles away was “one of a series of things that were intended to be done” to bring the mixed-use development.
In December, commissioners voted to remove without prejudice a request for a county-initiated conditional-use permit (CUP) to build a new asphalt plant on Granite Lane, just off Peachtree Parkway.
With the county removing their request, the property owner can now submit an application.
County-initiated decisions are often a quicker process than those submitted by developers, which had been one of several issues for neighbors, who opposed the new plant due to concerns about the future land use of the area, safety and the proximity of the new location to some homes.