A market-driven plan for the future redevelopment of Gwinnett Place
On August 28, 2012, 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 over a 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 reestablishing 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 continually 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 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 auto centric suburban pattern to a more walk able urban development. 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.
The LCI concept master plan also presents two options for the future redevelopment of Gwinnett Place Mall. One option envisions the structure remaining intact, with a complete redesign of the mall façade, the addition of parking decks and other supportive uses, including office buildings and residential developments, similar to improvements made at Perimeter and Cumberland Malls. The second option is a more radical approach, but one that has proven to be successful in other parts of the country. This option calls for the redevelopment of the mall by taking “off the roof” and running a grid of local streets through the mall’s center. Current mall anchor department stores Macy’s, Belk, Mega Mart, JC Penney and Sears would be converted to free-standing structures. This long-term option would create a true walk able urban core for Gwinnett County similar to that of Atlantic Station for downtown Atlanta. 2001 Gwinnett LCI Study – The aim of the 2001 study was to identify ways that the study area could become the “main-street” of Gwinnett County by laying out recommendations for land use, transportation, and design investments and changes along with organizational needs that would facilitate the development of such a center. Click here to review the 2001 LCI study.
Click here to view the Community Design Workshop Meeting Summary and Key Findings.
Click here to view the results of the Gwinnett LCI Mobility Survey
Click here to view the presentation from the January 2012 LCI Open House
Click here to view the draft 2012 proposed LCI transportation projects map
Click here to view March 14, 2012 LCI presentation to the Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors
Final Report (Adopted by the Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors; May 9, 2012 and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners; August 28, 2012):
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Public Involvement Overview
Chapter 3: Conceptional Master Plan
Chapter 4: Implementation Program
Appendix A: 10-Year Action Plan Review
Appendix B: Summaries of Public Involvement Activities
Appendix C: Comparison of Gwinnett Place Mall to Benchmark Sites
LCI Study Baseline Conditions Report
May 9, 2012 LCI Adoption Resolution of Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors
August 28, 2012 Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Resolution Supporting the 10-year Update to the Gwinnett Livable Centers Initiative Study of the Gwinnett Place Activity Center
The concept plan provides an updated graphic depiction of the vision for the study area – including desirable development prototypes, recommended transportation improvements, and urban design recommendations. Click here to view the draft concept plan.
Greater Gwinnett Place Opportunity Zones
In late December 2012, the Department of Community Affairs approved a new Opportunity Zone for the area in and around the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District. Under this State of Georgia job tax credit, new or existing businesses that create two or more jobs can receive a tax credit of up to $3,500 per job. The job tax credits can be used against 100 percent of the business’s income tax liability and state payroll withholding once your income tax liability has been exhausted. Click here to view a map of Gwinnett’s newest Opportunity Zone. For additional information on the Opportunity Zone, visit the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Web site. The Opportunity Zone designation is retroactive to the beginning of 2012. Any businesses that added jobs in the Gwinnett Place Opportunity Zone are eligible to receive the tax credit.
Lifelong Communities Initiative
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) partnered with the internationally recognized town planning and architecture firm Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) to organize the Lifelong Communities initiative. Bringing together design, architecture, planning, aging and health experts to craft six master plans for sites in Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties and the cities of Atlanta, Conyers and Fayetteville. These plans integrated a mix of uses and incomes in walkable environments to meet the needs of the aging population while at the same time attracting people of all ages. The rapid growth in the older adult population demands new and diverse housing options, transportation alternatives and community designs that promote active living. This initiative was designed to prepare the region's cities
and counties to meet the needs of the residents who have lived in and in many cases built their communities. By exploring how to integrate housing designed for older adults into existing neighborhoods, the initiative can help local communities maximize all the opportunities this demographic shift will bring.
Gwinnett Place was one of the project sites selected by the ARC. To learn more about the Gwinnett Place case study, please click here.
Gwinnett Place Tax Allocation District (TAD)
Intiated by the CID, Gwinnett County has created a Tax Allocation District (TAD) for Gwinnett Place. The CID’s Board of Directors recognizes TADs as one of the most powerful economic development tools to help boost revitalization. Area property owners also know that a TAD can help them achieve their redevelopment vision for the future.
Gwinnett Place TAD Goals:
To view information regarding the Tax Allocation District for the Gwinnett Place area:
- Increase transportation accessibility and mobility options and improve traffic flow
- Expand and strengthen the are by building on its current successes, accessibility and central location in Gwinnett
- Increase the viability of live, work and entertainment choices within the Gwinnett Place area
- Provide a major component of the funding for the new bridge for Pleasant Hill Road/I-85 interchange
- Make enhancements such as streetscapes, allow for future structured parking and public spaces to improve the experience of shoppers, residents and visitors
- Provide funds to support site-specific development activities including site preparation, environmental remediation and the construction of structure parking facilities to support redevelopment
Area Redevelopment Strategies
“Gwinnett Place Mall has the opportunity to become a vibrant mixed use regional center or ‘mini city’ and a metro core that serves as an anchor for Gwinnett County. It has the potential to evolve into a significant concentration of office space, higher density housing, a variety of retail formats, all in an aesthetically appealing environment with the support of appropriate and necessary infrastructure, pedestrian and automotive mobility.” -- Gwinnett County Revitalization Taskforce, 2004A comprehensive redevelopment strategy has been created by the CID to chart future land use, pedestrian/traffic circulation options, infrastructure, urban design and steps necessary for stimulating reinvestment in the area.
The CID utilized LCI funds provided by the Atlanta Regional Commission to complete a redevelopment district ordinance with the goal of breaking the economic cycle of disinvestment with flexible incentives. Input from stakeholders and property owners as well as county officials, developers and other business representatives were included in the writing of a redevelopment ordinance for the area. The proposed ordinance, jointly composed and submitted by the Gwinnett Place and Gwinnett Village CIDs, is under evaluation with the staff of Gwinnett County government as part of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) process. To view redevelopment visions crafted by the CID Board, please see links below:
Gwinnett Place Parking Management
Funded by a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Gwinnett Place CID commissioned a parking management study to examine current and future parking issues in the greater Gwinnett Place area. The study examined not only the current situation, but is also forward-thinking addressing challenges that may occur as the area redevelops. The document is a pro-active approach ensuring parking will play a positive role in the redevelopment of the area and not detract from it. By adequately studying the issues now, steps ca be taken to correct current problems and prevent future parking issues form arising. To view the report, please click the links below:
Gwinnett Citizen Survey Results
The Gwinnett Place CID continues to plan, prioritize and execute major decisions aimed at revitalizing the Gwinnett Place area. The focus of a recent survey was to determine how those revitalization efforts are perceived, as well as identifying which solutions are actually being requested by the public. See the survey results and analysis by clicking here:
Gwinnett County Walkable Communities
Sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission and Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett Place CID was the site for a Walkable Communities Workshop focusing on developing strategies that make communities safer and more inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists. As a direct result of the recommendations developed during the Workshop, new sidewalks were installed throughout the area. Click here read the report.
The Gwinnett Place CID was organized in March of 2005, but the County Planning and Development Department and Gwinnett County's Revitalization Task Force played an active role in previous years developing planning studies that have a direct impact on the Gwinnett Place business community.
Gwinnett Place Mall Pilot Study
Gwinnett County's Revitalization Task Force commissioned a Study titled: Gwinnett Place Mall Pilot Study as one of three studies conducted in Gwinnett County for areas identified by the Task Force as needing revitalization. The Study includes very comprehensive short-term and long-term recommendations in the key areas of enhanced mobility, need for updated development policies, capturing job growth, promoting diverse housing, promoting high-quality design and integrating County plans for parks and green space.
The Gwinnett Place Mall Pilot Study is posted on Gwinnett County's Web site in two parts via the following links: Part I and Part II
ARC's Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Gwinnett County Study (2001)
The Atlanta Regional Commission gave Gwinnett County a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant to conduct a study of the central Gwinnett commercial hub in vicinity of I-85 and Hwy 316. This included the Sugarloaf area and the Gwinnett Place community. The aim of the Gwinnett Livable Center Initiative (LCI) project was to identify Gwinnett Place - a new downtown in the suburbs - and assist it to become the "main street" of Gwinnett County. This study looked at many factors that may influence the way the area grows and develops. The primary focus for the Gwinnett Place area is transportation analysis and recommendations. Click this link to an online copy of the study.