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Contract dispute dooms 880-home active-adult project off Dawsonville Highway
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Zoning meeting notices are posted along Ahaluna Drive in Gainesville in this file photo. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A proposed active-adult community development that would have brought 880 homes to heavily congested Dawsonville Highway and Ahaluna Drive in Gainesville is not happening, The Times learned Thursday.

Developer Oak Hall Companies LLC of Atlanta sought and failed to get an extension on a contract to purchase approximately 235 acres from the property owner, America’s Home Place of Gainesville, sources with knowledge of the contractual impasse told The Times.

Phone messages left by The Times to officials with Oak Hall Companies and America’s Home Place were not returned.

Gainesville Community Development Director Rusty Ligon, whose department oversaw rezoning and annexation proposals for the Oak Hall project, confirmed that the contract “has fallen through.”

“They (Oak Hall Companies) have not purchased the property,” Ligon said. “They had a contract to purchase the property, and it’s our understanding that it’s fallen through and they are not going to be purchasing it.”

The active-adult complex would have included an assisted living center, a commercial component and a 90-unit townhome project. Oak Hall Companies also planned to donate 3 acres for a fire station.

The development would have generated annual net revenues of more than $382,000, and one-time impact fees of almost $1.8 million, according to an economic impact statement presented by the developer to the city.

Nearby residents were hardly thrilled with the proposed project. They complained to city officials that the development would only worsen traffic congestion on Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53. Residents cited studies showing that the project would bring up to an additional 10,000 vehicle trips per day to the densely traveled corridor.

To quell opposition, the developer pledged to contribute $425,000 for Ga. 53 upgrades.

But now none of that is going to happen without a contract, according to an Oak Hall Companies employee who did not want to be identified.

“We had a builder that we were trying to get under contract, and the seller would not give us an extension,” the employee said. “He refused to negotiate.”

The Oak Hall employee said there is no plan B.

“We’re actually waiting to see what happens,” the employee said. “(The owner) may come around. We hope so.”

In the meantime, Ligon said the rezoning approved for the project will remain in place.

“The only way those could be changed would be by bringing (it) back through the council,” Ligon said.

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