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Mixed-use project surrounding stadium back on track

This artist’s rendering shows possible new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

This artist’s rendering shows possible new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

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This artist’s rendering shows possible new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

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This artist’s rendering shows possible new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

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This artist’s rendering shows possible new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

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This handout shows an aerial view of proposed new development at Coolray Field. (Special Photo)

LAWRENCEVILLE — Years ago, Gwinnett officials put hopes in the baseball movie mantra “If you build it, they will come.”

Now, as the Gwinnett Braves finish their fifth season north of Lawrenceville, the promise of development around Coolray Field is set to come to fruition.

On Wednesday, Brand Morgan, who sold a portion of his family homestead to the county for the stadium endeavor, presented to the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau his plan for the acreage along Ga. Highway 20 meant for a live, work, play mid-rise development known as “The Village at Coolray Field.”

“We’re trying to have a setting where families go before the game and maybe after it,” Morgan said. “I think this will be the next step for family-oriented entertainment.”

The $100 million project is similar to the one Morgan created years ago, but it was never built because the economy sunk into a Recession quickly after the stadium project began. With things looking up, he plans to begin construction of 206 luxury residential units by the end of the year.

With a pool overlooking the outfield, Morgan said residents would be able to walk onto their balconies to watch baseball.

“I’ve got to create a special place,” Morgan said, adding that the residential building would be followed by a high-end hotel and offices, restaurants and shops six months to a year later. “You have a great stadium, but you don’t (yet) have that place to be.”

Last week, Morgan and several GCVB officials visited a stadium in Fort Wayne, Indiana surrounded by the development he had in mind.

“I think the immediate reaction I had was the amount of energy they had there,” said Stan Hall, the director of the Gwinnett Sports Commission. “It was just a flurry of activity. As the Braves stadium stands, that is currently missing.”