Suwanee DDA sells Pierce's Corner, announces plans for redevelopment

SUWANEE -- The historic Pierce's Corner building at 597 Main Street in Suwanee will soon begin to undergo a sweeping transformation, according to an announcement made at Thursday's Suwanee Business Alliance gathering. Deming LLC, the company who bought the old building, is well known regionally for construction, remodeling and retrofitting buildings, all practices aimed at obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Several city council members, staff members, incoming mayor Jimmy Burnette and local business owners were on hand to hear the announcement.

In November 2010, Suwanee's DDA issued a request for proposals for Pierce's Corner that would inspire growth and vitality in the increasingly popular area.

"We sought a unique proposition that would spur creative ideas and ultimately enhance the economic viability of Old Town and the City as a whole," said Downtown and Business Development Manager Alison Starnes.

Deming's proposal, one of a total of 11 received, is outlined clearly: the company has agreed to a lease-to-purchase price of $258,640, financed through a 3.5 percent interest rate paid in monthly installments of $1,161.41 (beginning in year three of the agreement). Deming has the right to purchase the building within the first 22 years of the agreement.

As part of its three-phase plan, Deming will first remodel the main Pierce's Corner building. Design for renovations is anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2012 and will include techniques designed to achieve LEED certification, such as providing parking for bicycles and fuel-efficient vehicles, collecting rainwater for landscaping and sanitary uses, adding a green roof, using solar panels, and sourcing building materials locally whenever possible. Future phases include potential new construction and residential uses.

Deming plans to have its offices in part of the building's top floor, leasing additional business incubator space on the second floor. Rehabilitation of the bottom floor will be geared to suit a future retail/commercial tenant, possibly a restaurant.

"We are very excited to be working with the City of Suwanee and the DDA on this project," says Michael D. Deming Jr. "We are confident that when completed, Pierce's Corner will stimulate growth in Old Town as well as the rest of Suwanee. Hopefully this will be the first of many projects for our group in this area."

Construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer 2012, depending on tax credits and other financing avenues, and the process is estimated to take about a year.

According to Deming, a Pierce's Corner Facebook page was launched Thursday evening, a convenient tool for those interested in staying apprised of new developments.