Snellville building its ‘heart’ with Towne Center project

If Snellville were to be compared to a body, then city officials are working on creating the thing that will give it life.   A heart. Or municipal version of a heart: a downtown.   That is what Snellville officials see as being the driving force behind The Grove at Towne Center project that broke ground earlier this year. The project will see the creation of a downtown district within walking distance of City Hall, with restaurants, retail, event space, green space, a new library and luxury apartments.   “Snellville has never had a heart, a center and that was the vision all along: to build a town center, a downtown (and) base it, as much as possible, in a lot of our history,” City Manager Butch Sanders said.   As far as development in Snellville is concerned, The Grove at Towne Center is the project that city officials are solely focused on right now. The city is working with CASTO and MidCity Real Estate Partners on the $85 million, 18-acre project.   Although construction is just now starting, the Grove at Towne Center project has been in the works in Snellville for about two decades. The first phase is between North and Oak roads, Clower Street and Wisteria Drive, and it is expected to open in late fall 2022.   The project is, in a way, Snellville’s version of what other Gwinnett cities, such as Suwanee, Sugar Hill, Duluth, Lilburn and Lawrenceville, have done to either expand and redevelop existing downtown areas or to build a downtown that did not exist before.   “I think it gives the city the downtown identity that it’s never had,” Mayor Barbara Bender said. “You know, the center of Snellville, the downtown was always the intersection at 78 and 124 and, of course, that’s gone and paved over, so the first thing we get out of it is a downtown identity.   “And, I think economic development-wise, it’s just going to be huge having a high quality project, or a high quality area in southern Gwinnett County.”   The biggest visible sign of what is to come at the site, aside from the large dirt patch that now exists, is the foundations of the more than 250 luxury apartment complex. One of the staircase towers for the complex is rising out of the ground near Oak Road.   Eventually, the development will have the apartments with a parking deck, two free standing restaurants, a two-story market and events center with restaurants and event space, at least two buildings with commercial space and a green space with a small performing stage that can supplement the Snellville Town Green and host smaller events.   The city is also planning to put in a splash pad, as well as digital kiosks that visitors can play games on, at the green space. The green space is in addition to the first phase of a walking trail that be part of The Grove.   The City Council awarded a $606,367 contract to Tri Scapes Inc. this past week to build the second phase of the trail. The second phase which pickup where the first phase will end, at the corner of Oak Road and U.S. Highway, and continue it south to Briscoe Park.   There were also be the new two-story, 44,000-square-foot Elizabeth Williams library branch that the city is working with Gwinnett County to have built at the site. Pre-construction meetings on the library were still taking place this past week.   It will be different from other libraries that Gwinnett has been partnering with cities...

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Snellville, with Partners, Closes on Land Purchase for The Grove at Towne Center

Snellville, in a joint venture with CASTO and MidCity Real Estate Partners has closed on the purchase of the land and its loan with US Bank for Phase I of The Grove at Towne Center. Construction on the project’s $85 million first phase began in March with the multi-use project expected to open in late 2022/early 2023.   “Every item we check off the list brings us one day closer to seeing The Grove at Towne Center open to our community,” said Mayor Barbara Bender. “It’s especially exciting to see physical evidence of this long-awaited project now that construction has begun!”   In addition to 50,000 square feet of shopping, dining, recreation, and business space, The Grove at Towne Center will also offer upscale apartments, a new Gwinnett County Library, a special use mercantile building and common areas including The Grove town green.   “Watching a project come to life never gets old,” said Kirk Demetrops, President of MidCity Real Estate Partners. “Closing on the land sale is an exciting milestone that opens up the door for us to continue creating and adding to this project that means so much to the city and its residents.”   Information and updates on the project: www.snellville.org/the-grove-at-towne-center.   Article as seen in the AJC on June 6,...

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City of Snellville Breaks Ground on The Grove at Towne Center

Snellville, GA — The City of Snellville, along with co-developers CASTO and MidCity, is pleased to announce that Mid Cast Snellville has commenced demolition and broken ground on The Grove at Towne Center. The ceremony initiated The Grove’s $85 million first phase, which is scheduled to begin to deliver in 2022.   The City of Snellville and Mid Cast team have been working for more than three years to plan and design the project. The groundbreaking event commemorated the first visible progress of the highly anticipated town center project. Attendees heard from key leaders of the project, including Mayor Barbara Bender, and witnessed a ceremonial groundbreaking. There was also a surprise presentation of a $500,000 donation from the Snell Family Foundation. A portion of the funds are expected to go toward a public art statue of City founders James Sawyer and Thomas Snell.   “We’re ecstatic to begin visible progress on this long-awaited project,” said Snellville Mayor Barbara Bender. “This is a momentous occasion for the City and its residents.”   The Grove at Towne Center will be a large scale, mixed-use town center property, comprising 18 acres between Oak Road, Wisteria Drive, North Road and Clower Street, in downtown   Snellville. The Grove at Towne Center’s first phase will include over 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and entertainment space, and approximately 262 multi-family luxury apartments.  In addition, the new Elizabeth Williams Library will be constructed and include a 2nd floor business development/accelerator space.   For more information and updates on the Grove at Towne Center project visit www.snellville.org/the-towne-center-snellville.   ABOUT CASTO CASTO, a fully integrated real estate organization since 1926, is a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of multifamily residences, mix-use properties, commercial shopping centers and office buildings. CASTO’s growing portfolio currently includes more than 26 million square feet of commercial property and more than 5,000 residential units located throughout the midwestern and southeastern United States. CASTO is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and serves a variety of clients from five offices in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. To learn more about CASTO, visit www.castoinfo.com.   ABOUT MidCity Real Estate Partners Founded in 2009, Atlanta based, MidCity Real Estate Partners acquires, repositions, and develops office, and mixed-use properties. MidCity is known in the Atlanta market for their work on Alpharetta City Center, which was named a 2018 Development of Excellence for Exceptional Merit for Context-Sensitive Town Center Development, by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Through MidCity Realty Corporation, an affiliate real estate brokerage company, MidCity offers a full range of advisory services. MidCity is the successor company to The Griffin Company, a 35-year-old full service commercial real estate development and construction company headquartered in Atlanta, GA. To learn more about MidCity, visit www.midcitypartners.com.   ABOUT SNELLVILLE Snellville’s convenient Gwinnett County location, approximately 18 miles east of Atlanta and 45 miles west of Athens, has allowed it to prosper as a hub of commerce and retail in Northeast Georgia. Snellville’s roots extend to 19th century London when two friends traveled to America and later started Snellville’s rich history of commerce with stores of their own. Snellville is home to the award-winning Snellville Farmers’ Market, a world class Veterans Memorial and one of the most decorated police departments in the state. Snellville is known for its dedicated volunteers and its celebrated diversity.    ...

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Snellville: City, Developer Agree On City Market Development And Lease Agreement

SNELLVILLE — The city has agreed to partner with developer Mid Cast LLC to design, build and lease the prized City Market building planned for The Grove at Towne Center. “This is another major step in bringing a world-class development to the City of Snellville,” Mayor Barbara Bender said. “The City Market will be a centerpiece of The Grove and will draw visitors from across the region who want to enjoy a unique dining and shopping experience in the heart of Snellville.” The Grove as a whole will be a commerce center reflecting the early days of Snellville’s entrepreneurial roots dating back to the city’s origins and the old Sawyer Store. The two-floor, 24,000-square-foot Market building will include numerous and unique eateries, a coffee shop, a small market, spacious, flexible event space and craft beverage options. Potential plans call for it to be managed by an independent operator brought to the table by Mid Cast and approved by Mayor and Council. The Snellville Downtown Development Authority will own the building. Under the agreement, the city will partner with Mid Cast on the selection of an architect to design the building with the Mayor and Council approving final design and budget numbers. The city’s anticipated bond offering will pay for the construction of the building which is estimated to be in the $6-7 million range. The future or perspective tenant will be responsible for internal design and build out. The City Market will prominently feature outdoor seating, patios, pick-up and drop-off vehicle lanes for ride sharing and take-out order availability. City officials hope to select an architect before the end of the year and expects the building to be opened in summer of 2022. Design concept renderings will be released sometime in early 2021. “This market building is a key to deliver the experience the city wants to offer residents and visitors,” said Economic Development Director Eric Van Otteren. “Rest assured the City Market will be a destination for residents and visitors alike for decades to come.” The Grove at Towne Center will be a large scale, mixed-use town center property, comprising 18 acres between Oak Road, Wisteria Drive, North Road, and Clower Street, in downtown Snellville. The Grove at Towne Center’s first phase will include over 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office, and entertainment space, and approximately 250 multi-family luxury apartments. In addition, the new Elizabeth Williams Library will be constructed and include a 2nd-floor business development/accelerator space. This press release was produced by the City of Snellville. The views expressed here are the author’s...

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A Ripple Effect in Atlanta

A Ripple Effect in Atlanta The Atlanta, Georgia real estate market is booming in both the commercial and residential sectors, and local MidCity Real Estate Partners has its hand in developing the flourishing metro area. The master developer recently completed two projects – 5616 Peachtree Road and Alpharetta City Center – with its newest development, The Grove at Town Center in Snellville, scheduled to break ground in the fall of 2020. 5616 Peachtree Road, an office building northeast of Atlanta, opened in February 2020. The first of 10 new buildings at Alpharetta City Center (the corporate Headquarters of DataScan Holdings) were completed in 2018. MidCity is thrilled for the opportunity to contribute in-demand commercial and residential real estate to the area and has had the foresight to develop in the burgeoning Atlanta suburbs of Chamblee, Alpharetta and Snellville. As its commercial and mixed-use building open, the firm anticipates a response of more growth in the metro area. “These developments really cause a ripple effect,” says Kirk Demetrops, Principal, President and Founder of MidCity. “And, these walkable town centers in suburban locations may be in further demand post-COVID-19 Filling A Void 5616 Peachtree Road is a redeveloped 40,000 square-foot industrial structure previously owned by a perfume manufacturer. MidCity acquired the vacant property and developed it into an urban-style, open-layout office building with ample windows and parking. The site is in a walkable area near public transportation and restaurants with a direct connection to the Rail Trail (pedestrian/bike path) serving Chamblee. Many companies are choosing to move their headquarters to the area to cater to the needs and desires of young professionals. “[These companies] are going to areas not traditionally sought after, but this where their employees, many of them millennials, want to be – [places] that offer loft-style building, public transportation, walkability, a sense of place and other drivers,” says Demetrops. MidCity’s Alpharetta City Center project is an award-winning, mixed-use “town center” development that expands Alpharetta’s downtown area adjacent to City Hall and the county library. The $100 million project consists of 75,000 square feet of retail and dining, 36,000 square feet of Class A office space, 168 luxury apartments and 42 single-family homes. Demetrops says that one of MidCity’s most notable core competencies is its thorough understanding of the development process from inception to completion. Together, Demetrops and his business partner, Executive Vice President Roger White, determine the most valuable use of a given property for all parties involved, then implement the concept into panning, underwriting, zoning, design and budgeting. The firm maintains strong relationships with its architects, contractors and subcontractors, which helps the developer deliver the highest quality products. One of its long-time partners is Atlanta-based Fowler Design Associates, which worked on 5616 Peachtree Road. That being said, to align with the unique vision of a project, MidCity typically assembles a different team for each development. In some instances, such as a city center, the firm selects multiple architects. “We don’t want the building to look the same,” says Demetrops. “We want to have an architect or even several architects make it look like it was a lot of different people who built this town center over time.” In addition to architects, MidCity selects its residential, retail and housing partners based on the distinct needs of a mixed-use project. For the Alpharetta City Center development, the real estate firm partnered with South City Partners, Morris & Fellows and Hedgewood Homes. New Town Center MidCity’s upcoming project, The Grove at Town Center, is an 18-acre multi-use project spearheaded by the City of Snellville, which wanted to build a town...

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Snellville picks MidCity as developer for $85 million Towne Center project

Snellville is partnering with two developers on an $85 million first phase of its new town center, the latest suburban Atlanta city embracing the chance to create a vibrant downtown.   The Grove at Towne Center will be led by a joint venture of Casto, a more than 90-year-old real estate company based in Columbus, Ohio, and MidCity Real Estate Partners, an Atlanta firm that brought walkable, mixed-use development to downtown Alpharetta.   The first phase is set to begin in 2020, depending on the development team’s ability to secure construction financing in coming months. It will include 250 apartments and over 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and entertainment space. Paths for pedestrians and cyclists will also connect to the Snellville Greenway.   The Market Center will anchor the project. Early ideas for the building include a brew pub and upscale event space. The Commons area will also allow the city to create a public gathering space for festivals and other events.   The Grove at Towne Center is a microcosm of widespread downtown revitalization underway across the country, with local examples in Alpharetta, Duluth, Suwanee, Lawrenceville and other cities. As more people return to downtowns, it’s also a reminder of how many regional power retail centers and malls that flourished in the 80s and 90s are under pressure to stay relevant with consumers.   “Historically, in areas of the Northeast, the Midwest and Europe, the town center was everything,” said Kirk Demetrops, president of MidCity. “There was a 20-year trend where land was cheap, and the power centers and the malls were in vogue. There’s still room for those. But, the town center is coming back as a place that brings people together.”   “We’ve been working on this for a year,” Demetrops said. “It’s a really good match for us.”   This article first appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 27th, 2019 by Douglas Sams. To see the original article, click...

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