Tour taken to find redevelopment ideas

LAWRENCEVILLE -- More than 75 Gwinnett leaders participated in a redevelopment tour, sponsored by Partnership Gwinnett on Friday.

The tour, which included stops at West Village in Vinings and Market Village and Olde Town in Woodstock, was aimed at allowing elected and appointed officials to learn best practices for attracting and retaining young professionals, a press release said.

"It's intriguing to see how other communities implement mixed-use developments," District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard said. "Tours like this one provide valuable knowledge to those of us who are charged with making land use decisions."

Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District Director Chuck Warbington said the lessons could be applied to his western Gwinnett community.

"As properties outlive their initial purpose, redevelopment enables them to be reused to better serve our community's current needs," he said. "With limited availability of undeveloped land to build the walk-able, urban communities demanded by young professionals, our focus must be to ensure redevelopment is utilized to attract both businesses and talent to Gwinnett."

Partnership Gwinnett is a Chamber of Commerce-lead effort to improve the county's quality of life, with aims of boosting economic development and drawing jobs.

"Gwinnett's peer communities offer the elements that the next generation of young professionals is looking for: a place to live, work, and play within a walk-able community, with a choice of multiple housing options," said Kellie Brownlow, who is director of economic development for the effort. "As demand for these types of communities continues to increase, it is vital for Gwinnett leadership to explore policies and practices that foster redevelopment and help to attract and retain Gwinnett's future workforce."