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Vision Capital Partners in no hurry to develop big land tract

POSTED: April 30, 2008 5:01 a.m.

There’s a new landowner in Gainesville — claiming to be the largest — and they have big plans for nearly 1,000 acres on Old Cornelia Highway.

Vision Capital Partners, a Marietta-based investment company, has plans to build a "town within a town" with about 1,400 single-family lots, 250 townhomes, and 1,300 condominium units and commercial space in the next five years.

Vision Capital purchases discounted land below market value in quickly growing areas. The company is able to pay cash for the property, and incurs no debt with the help of private equity investors, according to the Vision Capital Partners Web site.

One of the company’s partners, Howard Joffe, says the company also wants to incorporate some medical offices on the property, because of its proximity to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Some of the property Vision Capital purchased is within unincorporated Hall County, but Joffe said the plan is to annex into the city limits.

In a recent press release, the company said it had been working with Gainesville officials to make their vision possible for the property.

However, Jessica Dempsey-Tullar with Gainesville’s Planning Department said no planning proposals have been submitted in reference to that tract of property.

Gainesville’s Assistant City Manager Kip Padgett confirmed that he has spoken with one of the company’s partners, Matt Riedemann, but said it was just one conversation back in February.

In their meeting, Padgett said he told Riedemann that the plans for medical offices on Old Cornelia Highway "would be a good fit," but told Riedemann to make sure Vision Capital’s plans for the property fits its current Planned Unit Development zoning conditions, which allows for five acres of commercial space, 643 acres of single-family homes, and 186 acres of condominiums and townhomes.

Dempsey-Tullar noted that the property is within the Gateway
Corridor Overlay zone, which creates additional zoning requirements for the property that is on an entryway into the city.

Padgett said he had not heard from anyone with Vision Capital Partners since that February meeting.

Joffe says his company is in no hurry to develop the 1,097-acre tract that it recently purchased, calling it a "long-term project."

Joffe said the company plans to hold off on development of the
property and the annexation for a few years. Because of the current market conditions, the company wants to "hold out until things stabilize," Joffe said.


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