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Hearing is set for $15 million Flowery Branch development

POSTED: August 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Thursday on a $15 million mixed-use development planned for downtown Flowery Branch.

Buford-based Hortman & Dobbs Developers is proposing a development featuring condominiums, lofts, townhomes, stores and restaurants with outdoor seating, a parking garage and a grocery store on about 3.22 acres in an area around Railroad Avenue, Mitchell Street and Church Street.

"We haven’t received any input regarding that project, nor has anyone come in to review the application," said Flowery Branch Planning Director James Riker.

The hearing will take place at City Hall at 5517 Main St.

Final approval is tentatively set for Sept. 3 at City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, Riker said.

Kellin Dobbs of the development firm said he has received only positive feedback concerning the project.

"All our project can do is bring value to all the surrounding homeowners and landowners. There’s just no way around it," he said. "A direct result will be increased property values.

"... We’ve tried to be sensitive to everything — construction hours that we plan on having, limited obstructions of any roadways. We’re just going to try to build this as sensitively as we can to the surrounding neighbors, and once it’s done, we think it will be just an awesome addition to the downtown area."

Jeff Hills and his wife, Alina, own The Flowery Branch Yacht Club Restaurant at the corner of Church and Main streets, which is next to and across from the proposed development.

He is excited about the development becoming reality.

"We may have the scenario where we can get that evening (foot) traffic, where our diners are happy about having a venue of walking after dinner or just going shopping and coming in for coffee and dessert," Hills said.

Hortman & Dobbs has a contractor, Choate Construction Co., selected for the project.

Choate worked on the Stonebridge Village shopping center in Flowery Branch, Dobbs has said.

If all goes well, the first phase of the project could begin in October.

Dobbs said original plans called for building the entire development in one effort.

"Due to the hardships of the financial market and the uncertainty of the real estate market, it looks like we (would) phase this (project) in now," he said.

The first phase would focus on the commercial side of the project.

Phase two would involve commercial and residential development, as well as the parking deck. The final phase would involve construction of six townhomes.



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