Braselton may see new hotel, retail center

BRASELTON - Braselton residents could enjoy a number of major retail outlets plus a hotel nearby if a requested rezoning is approved.

Officials with Jones Lang LaSalle Americas recently submitted plans detailing a 78-acre complex near the intersection of Ga. Highways 124 and 211 near the northbound ramp of Interstate 85 at exit 126, said Kevin Keller, Braselton's planning director.

Plans show 15 buildings on the site with retail space totaling 625,000 square feet, plus a 120- to 130-room hotel, said John Schupp, spokesman for Jones Lang LaSalle Americas. The unnamed project would have the buildings and centers broken down into smaller groups for a village-type layout, Schupp said.

"We hope to attract a home improvement store, discount department stores, sporting goods and bookstores," Schupp said. "We have had interest. I wish I could say we had tenants in hand, but we have only been working on this project for 60 days."

Groundbreaking could begin in early 2008 with a two-year completion date, Schupp said.

The land, located in Barrow County, is owned by White Property Acquisitions. Of the targeted 78 acres, about 45 are zoned general commercial, with the remaining 32 zoned neighborhood commercial, Keller said. The request is to rezone those 32 acres to general commercial so the project can be developed.

Braselton's 2023 Land Use Plan shows the land as suitable for commercial uses. The adjacent property is zoned for planned mixed-use development. The project would be subject to Braselton's Ga. 211 overlay district standards.

Planning commissioners will hear the proposed rezoning and should make a recommendation to town council members at the planning commission meeting at 7 p.m. June 25. Plans have also been submitted to the state's Regional Development Center to determine the project's impact on the region. That review should be finalized June 29, Keller said.

District 1 Town Councilman Phil Spivey, in whose district the land lies, said busy Braselton could use the hotel.

"We need another hotel in the area. We have a number of visitors come through and they have to go to the Mall of Georgia to stay," Spivey said, numbering Braselton's three existing hotels. "I feel real good about it. It will be economically good for the area."