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Home demolition set to begin in subdivision

LAWRENCEVILLE - This coming week, a local developer will start bringing down the houses in Essex Square.

Residents in the former subdivision left their homes in December, after selling them to the Strategic Realty Group for more than $11 million. After the houses are demolished, plans to build a shopping center on the land will proceed.

Destruction will start Monday, group member Ajay Singadia said, and it will take about two months to level the 26 houses on Essex Drive and Essex Court.

While Singadia said previously some of the houses would be saved and moved, he said Friday that will not be the case.

"We're demolishing everything," he said. "It's essentially more cost effective for us."

The group is still working through contracts to determine how some parts of the homes could be recycled, he said.

The subdivision, next to The Avenue Webb Gin on Ga. Highway 124, will become the home of the Webb Gin Crossing development. Earlier this month, the county abandoned the roads in the development, meaning they are no longer they county's responsibility to maintain. For months, access has been blocked by a gate.

Singadia said he is still negotiating leases with several large retailers. In the past, he said he was in discussions with J.C. Penney and other retailers and restaurants.

While the demolition takes place, Singadia said, he and others will work out platting and engineering on the land.

"It's not like we're going to go in there Monday and level everything," he said. "This time is critical for us for finishing up all our deals."

The entire project should be completed within two years, he said previously.

In January, Singadia requested development permits from the Gwinnett County planning department. Plans for the project include five buildings ranging from 10,000 to 104,000 square feet and 952 parking spaces.

The 34-acre project is the first time an entire subdivision has been sold to make way for commercial growth in the county.