Plan revamps OFS plant into village

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Norcross area could get a shot in the arm when it comes to revitalization.

Paperwork filed with Gwinnett County shows developers want to turn the massive OFS plant on Jimmy Carter Boulevard into a mini-village crammed with condos, offices, shops and a large hotel.

OFS would continue making fiber-optic cable on part of the property, but mid-rise buildings and parking decks would pop up around the company's downsized facilities.

All told, the development beside Interstate 85 would have 1,705 lofts and condos, 658,000 square feet of retail space and 150,000 square feet of offices, according to preliminary plans at the county Planning Division.

That amount of retail space would be about half the size of Discover Mills mall at Sugarloaf Parkway, or equal to about three Wal-Mart Supercenters.

The site plan also shows a five-story hotel with 405 rooms and a conference center at the corner of I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard, while restaurant space totaling 72,000 square feet would go in the center of the tract along with two parks.

The Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place, which is the tallest structure in Gwinnett, has 410 rooms on 17 floors.

The four condo buildings would be seven stories, each with its own parking deck.

Gwinnett County commissioners will decide later this month whether the proposal should be granted mixed-use redevelopment status.

The designation would let a Pennsylvania real estate company that is buying the 144 acres blend shops, offices and residences on the site.

If commissioners agree, the developers will return later this summer to get final approval for the project, at which time they would present more concrete plans. A public hearing would be held at that time.

The property buyer, Preferred Real Estate Investments, has a track record of redeveloping industrial spots. The Norcross land, though, would be its first foray into the Southeast.