PEACHTREE CORNERS -- Gwinnett's newest city may not become a landowner after all.
The Peachtree Corners City Council is now second in line to purchase land across the street from the Forum shopping center, as another developer has stepped in to buy land slated to become apartments.
The new purchaser, officials say, would solve the city's concern about allowing multi-family development in the heart of the newly incorporated city without forcing the government to purchase the land.
In a specially called meeting Wednesday, the mayor and council voted to approve a backup contract for the 20.6 acres on Peachtree Parkway, so that the city could still consider the purchase if a deal between Lennar Corporation and the local developer, who was not named, falls through.
While officials have not divulged the price they intended to pay for the land, they said the new developer has agreed to buy the land for the same price with the intention of creating a mixed-use development on the site instead of the proposed apartments.
In recent weeks, leaders were disappointed to learn of Lennar's plans for apartments, which were allowed under a zoning ruling made during a lawsuit with the county years ago.
"We were surprised and pleased a market alternative presented itself," Mayor Mike Mason said of this week's turn of events, which came a week after the city council voted to move forward on its own purchase."The city's objective was to stop apartment development on a key location that we believed should have commercial or mixed use zoning.The city worked long and hard for an alternative solution, before deciding to buy the property as a last ditch effort.This action by the prospective purchaser certainly meets our original objective and confirms our instinct about this site.As a safeguard, we put in the back up offer so that if this prospective buyer fails to close, we will be in a position to step into their shoes."
Residents may be able to give input on the plans during an April 24 meeting on the city's new comprehensive plan, although Mason said the new developer intends to match the architectural design of the Forum, the outdoor mall across the street.