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Development of Snellville's town center being lauded

SNELLVILLE -- Snellville's Downtown Development Authority members are looking forward to the development of Snellville's town center.

Earlier this month, the authority became the owner of land tracts on Wisteria Road previously known as the Spohn property.

The City Council had previously OK'd the deal and created a vision for the land, which a developer had once planned as a city gathering place.

"This is a textbook example of mayor and council using a development entity to increase options" said Jimmy Norton, who chairs the authority. "This is not our first land transaction with the city; just our most recent."

Norton talked about the success of a previous deal with the DDA. After three unsuccessful bid proposals and closings, the city turned to the DDA to sell its old police department property in 2005. That land was quickly sold and has been redeveloped into professional office condos.

Norton said the six-person authority has obtained financing and decided on a "two-prong approach" to work with potential developers on the town center. The board recently solicited development concepts with options for redevelopment and integration of the Snellville Oaks and Wisteria Village shopping center.

"We are simply putting pieces in place to accelerate quality growth in Snellville," Cecil Sellers, the authority's treasurer, said in a press release. "I live and work here with my family, so naturally I'm optimistic."