Gwinnett County’s massive Rowen knowledge community is still on the drawing board, but it’s already prompting interest from companies that want to be a part of it.
The nearly 2,000-acre research-oriented mixed-use development was announce just over a year ago. The project, which has drawn comparisons to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, is expected to generate 100,000 jobs.
Partnership Gwinnett Vice-President of Economic Development said the project, which will be in eastern Gwinnett between Dacula and the Gwinnett-Barrow county line, is already attracting attention.
“We already have companies that have frankly already been asking and we’re already filling out RFPs, RFIs in regards to submissions with companies to that particular site,” Carnes said.
The development, which will include housing and commercial options to support the research-oriented uses and jobs, is expected to focus on research in the areas of agriculture, the environment and medicine.
Gwinnett County Director of Economic Development Roman Dakare the research done at the site, which will have the benefit of being done at a location about halfway between research universities in Athens and Atlanta, will have a far-reaching impact.
“Multiple scientific disciplines are coming together to create that community that will not only affect Gwinnett County fiscally and economically, but also the research and innovations that come from that site in their respective disciplines,” he said.
Dakare said the first step toward companies beginning to build on the property has already been taken as the county’s Board of Commissioners has OK’d an expansion of sewer lines to the property. It’s something that Dakare describes as being the “first domino” to fall.
Work on the sewer lines is expected to begin next year.
“With that expected to be completed by 2024, we expect developments to begin happening as soon as the sewer services that allow development of our research facilities and commercial buildings happens,” he said.
Carnes concurred that extending the sewage lines to the property — which is mostly land that has never been developed — is crucial to getting the project started. After that, it is expected to take decades to build out with facilities for research as well as housing options for people working at Rowen and commercial options for them to do their shopping at.
“Obviously one of the big things is we’ve got to get sewer there, we need the infrastructure there first and foremost,” Carnes said. “But, these companies understand it and it’s going to become a knowledge community.
“I mean, think of Research Triangle Park, or RTP. Think of a more modern-day RTP.”