Sugar Hill OKs access road for potential sports/retail center

SUGAR HILL -- At its monthly meeting Monday night, the Sugar Hill City Council kept focus on the Georgia Department of Transportation's impending widening of Ga. Highway 20 from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to Ga. 400.

The council decided to construct a short access road from Ga. 20 north to 90 acres earmarked for distant public-private enterprise, potentially Global Sport United's marquee sports and retail center between Sugar Hill Golf Course and the Chattahoochee River. The road, roughly a third of a mile long, is scheduled to be completed by August, enabling Gwinnett County to then make a median cut from GDOT's planned four-lane highway.

Specifically, the council voted to contract with Gwinnett County to allow entry to the access road from both directions on Ga. 20, assuring better use of land Sugar Hill has rich hopes for.

Global Sports' literature bills its mixed-use project as a unique combination of athletic facilities with sports medicine offices and retail. Its planned first phase includes a 260,000-square-foot facility combining sports medicine offices and a recreation center. In addition to alleged lease interest from medical and sports training entities, including Georgia Sports Medicine and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Training and Education Center, Global Sports says it has endorsements from U.S. Soccer Federation, Georgia Soccer and the NBA Players Union.

Sugar Hill believes broken median access to such an enterprise from Ga. 20 is essential.

"A median cut on this highway is very important for development of (that) land," City Manager Bob Hail told the council. "We want to keep this property viable for future citizens of Sugar Hill."

Hail estimated Sugar Hill's cost to build the access road would be nearly $500,000, coincidentally the value of road right of way GDOT is purchasing from the city in areas nearby.

In another development related to Ga. 20's widening, the council also readdressed the estimated cost of relocating gas pipe beneath it and Suwanee Dam Road. About a year ago, Sugar Hill had notified Gwinnett and GDOT of the approximate $646,000 needed to relocate gas lines beneath the highway. Recently, however, the city learned other lines required relocation beneath Suwanee Dam at an additional cost near $200,000, absent any unforeseen digging complications.