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Peachtree Corners buys land to avoid apartments

PEACHTREE CORNERS -- Gwinnett's newest city is now a landowner.

Peachtree Corners officials closed a deal this week on the purchase of 20.6 acres of land that had been slated for the development of apartments.

A county process and lawsuit resulted in the apartment zoning, and when development seemed imminent, the city council voted to buy the land, although earlier this year another developer had offered to purchase it instead of the city.

Mayor Mike Mason said the developer's deal fell through, but the city has had multiple offers to sell the land, which was purchased with a short-term bank loan of $11.5 million. Soon, Mason said, the new city Downtown Development Authority will issue a call for proposals, allowing the city to have a say in the development.

"Today's purchase represents a win-win situation for the city," Mason said. "The city has stopped the development of an apartment complex that just doesn't belong in the middle of that commercial area and purchased a property that can only increase in value."

While apartments may still be a part of the future for the Peachtree Parkway land, across the street from the open-air mall The Forum, Mason said leaders are hoping for a more mixed-use project that could serve as a city center and include some greenspace for local residents.

"It's that whole idea of a downtown area, which Peachtree Corners needs, which is a social, economic and cultural nexus," he said.

The mayor said he had hoped to hold public hearings on the issue but the deal required "immediate action."

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Peachtree Corners land buy

Peachtree Corners land buy