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WIENER: Future of Gwinnett tied to revival of Gwinnett Place

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On the evening of Aug. 28, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners took a bold step forward and endorsed a future vision for the Greater Gwinnett Place area -- Gwinnett County's central business district and the strategic heart of our community.

For the past year, the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID) has worked in close concert with Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, area stakeholders and concerned citizens to craft proactive strategies that can dramatically transform greater Gwinnett Place, functionally and aesthetically, into a vibrant mixed-use activity center. The resulting recommendations are market-driven and are aimed at re-establishing the area as the thriving nucleus of Gwinnett County.

Launched in partnership with Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Gwinnett Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a roadmap that will create a new type of community in Gwinnett's central business district. Successful implementation of the market-driven recommendations of this plan will require a true public-private partnership.Through the LCI process, stakeholders gained an understanding that doing nothing or maintaining the status quo would lead to failure because it places the area at a disadvantage relative to other competing communities. Gwinnett Place must evolve and remake itself if it is to be competitive again in the marketplace.

To achieve this vision, the concept plan recommends the implementation of new economic development strategies such as opportunity zones and tax allocation districts. Also, the plan calls for the revision of local land-use policies/regulations and new infrastructure investments aimed at changing the current suburban development pattern. Central to this implementation strategy is the creation of what has been called the Great Lawn, a signature gathering place that can provide an outdoor venue for public gatherings, art, entertainment and recreation. This would be a central green space or public park that will span both sides of Pleasant Hill Road, and promote sustainable development while providing a much-needed pedestrian-friendly environment in this urban setting.

Another key element of the plan's implementation strategy are its transportation recommendations that stress the need for more multi-modal transportation facilities, as well as additional roadways and bridges to provide greater connectivity and mobility. Pedestrian elements that improve walkability are also part of this plan, with recommendations for streetscapes and the conversion of auto-orientated streets into complete streets that accommodate all forms of transportation.

The LCI is only the first step in a long journey to transform the area. There are still many details to be worked out. We are just now taking our first steps toward transformation and re-emergence. It will take a high level of cooperation and engagement between all parties, both public and private, to see this vision become a reality. But the stakes are too high for us not to succeed. The very future of the Gwinnett community will be determined along the streets of Pleasant Hill Road and Satellite Boulevard.

To review the LCI plan, please visit www.gwinnettplacecid.com.

Leo Wiener is chair of the Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors and a principal and partner with Glenwood Development Co. LLC, which specializes in acquisition, development and asset management of multi-tenant retail properties.

Comments

Bill30097 2 years ago

This nonsense has never worked. All it does is end up wasting taxpayer dollars.

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Mack711 2 years ago

This may be a waste of time. The last time we were there hardly anyone could speak English. There are a lot of 'unsavory characters' that hang out there. Most quality stores are moving out and going other places. Even resturants around the mall area are leaving, Longhorns, Fudruckers and others. That should tell you something about the area. Most do not feel safe going in there and some can see why. When JCP, Sears, and Macy's leave that will be the nail in the coffin. No thank you, will go the extra distance to the Mall of Georgia. This may be a good place for a Casino

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dentaldawg83 2 years ago

what a load of doublespeak and nonsensical baloney.

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notblind 2 years ago

I DO like the "Future of Gwinnett...." line. rolleyes. Gwinnett's future can be seen in Dekalb, or Cobb. Used to be called White Flight but nowadays I think it could be called Middle Class Flight as lots of upwardly mobile minority families are seeking better living conditions and a better class of neighbor and neighborhood and moving farther out.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years ago

Gwinnett Place Mall is the next contestant on the website "DeadMalls.com".

No amount of wishing or wanting or "vision" can bring the Gwinnett Place area back to its former glory as that area's fate of vapid decline and increasing irrelevance was pretty much sealed the day that the Mall of Georgia opened and cemented the day that Discover Mills opened.

The fact is that the local and regional retail market no longer resembles the market that Gwinnett Place dominated during its heyday in the 1980's and 1990's when Gwinnett Place was the only major shopping mall and virtually the only major shopping area in Gwinnett County and was one of the few options for retail and shopping for miles around.

From the time that Gwinnett Place Mall opened in 1984 until the Mall of Georgia opened in 1999, Gwinnett Place was one of the few major shopping areas in the entire county. Today, the rapidly-deteriorating Gwinnett Place Mall and environs is but one of multiple shopping areas that includes the booming Hwy 124 Corridor through Snellville, The Forum on Peachtree in the Peachtree Corners area, the Hamilton Mills area, the Hwy 120 Corridor near Lawrenceville, Discover Mills Mall and, of course, the Mall of Georgia near Buford.

The only real future that Gwinnett Place likely has is as a mix of some light commercial, light industrial and mainly distribution space given the area's relatively central location next to one of the busiest superhighways on the planet in I-85.

Otherwise, the post-World War II model of enclosed shopping malls surrounded by acres of blacktop parking extremely isolated from the surrounding community is an aging model of retail and commercial development that is likely no longer viable, especially in a community that is in an advanced state of transition from sparcely-populated exurb and outer suburb to an increasingly densely-populated part of the urban core of Metro Atlanta.

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MarkSmith 2 years ago

Gwinnett Mall has massive traffic problems on nearby Pleasant Hill, but no one goes there. Clearly it isn't meeting the needs of the changing demographics of the area.

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notblind 2 years ago

Changing demographics says it all.

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elltchr 2 years ago

I was at Gwinnett Mall alone one night over 5 years ago and had to ask a security guard to walk me to my car. This place has been going down the drain for a long time. There's no reviving it now...it's gone to the gang members/drug dealers who have so blatantly announced their presence!

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