Snellville’s long-awaited ‘Grove’ downtown district starting to take shape

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For decades, the idea of a mixed-use downtown district in the heart of Snellville was only a dream in the minds of city leaders. But that has changed in the last year.

Dirt has been turned, concrete has been poured, and steel and wood frames as well as brick walls have begun to rise out of the ground between Oak Road, Wisteria Drive, Clower Street and North Road.

These are tangible signs that the dream has begun to turn into a reality known as The Grove at Towne Center.

“It seems surreal that we have been talking and planning about this for development for years and to see it finally start to come out of the ground has me at a loss for words,” Snellville Mayor Barbara Bender said. “It’s an amazing feeling and we are approaching a moment we have waited decades for.”

Since ground was broken on The Grove at Towne Center last year, a lot has happened at the site. The development is very important for the city because it will give Snellville something it’s never had before: a downtown district.

Snellville is working with CASTO and MidCity Real Estate Partners on the project, which is expected to cost about $85 million.

The 750-space parking deck has topped out and is now in its “punch list phase.” Meanwhile, a 262-unit luxury apartment community which is being built around the parking deck has been rising out of the ground — there are some parts of the apartment community that are already getting exterior finishes.

“I know the ones that they’re already starting to do stone mason work on, they’re hoping to have those available to rent by the end of this year, and I think they hope to have the space fully rented — or at least available to fully rent — by (mid-2023),” Assistant City Manager Matt Pepper said.

At the end of last year, Snellville and Gwinnett County officials broke ground on a new, two-story library that will have a co-working space on its second floor and its steel frame has already been erected. The city is leasing the second floor from the county.

Pepper said Snellville is working with a co-working company that is expected to fill much of the floor. He hesitated to say, on the record, who the company is since he was not sure the company had made an official announcement yet.

“We’re working with that co-working company’s engineer to kind of develop and build that space out,” Pepper said.

The developers of The Grove at Towne Center have expanded their plans for the site — but they aren’t expanding its foot print.

Two mixed-use, two-story buildings that will have ground-level retail have been redesigned to be three stories tall so additional residential units can be added.

“There will be one (building) at the corner of Wisteria and Clower, that’s where we’ll be installing the roundabout,” Pepper said. “And then the other one will be (further up Clower Street heading toward Oak Road).”

City officials said the change will add 26 more residential units to the site. Conceptual renderings show two restaurants and three retail shops on the ground level of one building and three commercial spaces on the ground level of the other building.

Those renderings only show one-side of each building, however, and they are conceptual so it’s not clear yet how far back the actual ground-level businesses on those buildings will ultimately go.

In a statement, MidCity Real Estate partner and founder Kirk Demetrops said, “the scale of the redesigned buildings further strengthens the town city center feel.”

Pepper said there will be people who are attracted to the arrangement of residential on top of retail shops.

“I think there was always interest to include as much housing as we could to support the businesses and the feel of the town center there,” he said. “This was one way to continue to add a residential component to it. It’s kind of a unique feel. Being able to walk on top of a business is kind of a cool concept.”

Those additional residential units will help support the multitude of amenities that the development is slated to have. In addition to the library, there will be a City Market that will feature a food hall, a social bar and event space; and green space with a splash pad, digital kiosks that visitors can play games on, walking trail connections and gathering space for social activities and pavilions.

Construction for a roundabout at the intersection of Wisteria Drive and Clower Street, right in front of the Snellville Police Department headquarters, has also begun.

Eventually, trails will connect The Grove at Towne Center to other parts of Snellville. A second phase of The Grove is also planned for property across Wisteria Drive from the part that is already under construction. Negotiations are still ongoing as to what that will entail.

For now, city officials are saying the signs of construction that is already taking place at The Grove are significant enough on their own.

“When you walk from City Hall to Clower, you kind of think to yourself, ‘Wow, this is going to be a large development,’ ” said Pepper, who joined the city six months ago. “I never saw what was here before, but just talking to people who’ve lived here for a long time, there is some excitement about something like you see in Suwanee and Lawrenceville and Duluth coming here.

“And, the hope is it begets more of this redevelopment in other areas of the city.”


Today’s story comes from our partner, the Gwinnett Daily Post. The Gwinnett Daily Post publishes twice weekly in print and provides daily coverage of community news, events, and sports in Gwinnett County at

This article first appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 29, 2022 by Curt Yeomans.