Suwanee honors makeovers
Awards recognize projects that revitalized city

SUWNANEE - City officials recognized five creative minds this past week for work in making over some of Suwanee's less than eye catching community structures.

Outgoing Mayor Nick Masino presented the very first Swan-ee Awards (which implies locations went from ugly ducklings to swans) at the Friends of Suwanee Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday, recognizing four projects deemed responsible for making the community a more attractive place to live.

Each winner was presented a personalized plaque to commemorate their hard work.

City Councilman Jimmy Burnette and his wife Caron were acknowledged for the revitalization of their 1870s home on Main Street.

Among the renovations was the addition of a new kitchen and roof, stripping and refinishing woodwork and replacing and adding hardwood floors.

The Burnettes began refurbishing the home, which had been in their family for generations, in October 2003 and were able to move in to the renovated home December 2004.

"I think we've got a lot of great things and we want to preserve them," said Jimmy Burnette said of the city. "We started with my house and hope to inspire others to do the same."

Bob Bretschneider of Wizard Sign Studio in Suwanee, was among those awarded.

Widely known as the "Sign Wizard," Bretschneider's handy work can be seen throughout metro Atlanta. The sign veteran is responsible for hand-carved signs at Zoo Atlanta and handmade signs throughout the county, but was recognized Tuesday for creating a dimensional gold leaf sign, which he donated to and adorns historical Pierce's Corner.

"(Suwanee) really has it together here," Bretschneider said. "It's nice to be recognized."

Andrei Mastrogiovanni, building owner, and architect Earl Mitchell were recognized for their design and renovation of the historic Oakley Building located at 677 Main St.

The 2,800-square-foot warehouse, constructed in 1947, was transformed into an eye-catching, functional office space.

"This was a signature project for me," Mastrogiovanni said. "It took collaboration and working together and it's an honor to win."

Sidney Mozayyani completes the list of award winners. The business owner was recognized for his design and renovation of Suwanee Plaza, 3580 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Mozayyani refurbished the shopping center, adding a brick front, larger windows, new doors and lights.

Having driven past the building multiple times, Mozayyani said he often thought the shopping area could use a face-lift. He said he began renovations in 2006.

City spokeswoman Lynne DeWilde said the city plans to make the Suwan-ee Awards an annual program.

"We had several great projects," DeWilde said. "These awards bring attention to folks that have put in a whole lot of effort and it shows what Suwanee can look like and be a more attractive community."