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Developer says River Walk project in South Hall is moving along
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The proposed 500-acre Atlanta River Walk project off Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 in South Hall appeared dead after the developer pulled out of the $700 million development. New plans propose changing the name and continuing the project without the man-made river. - photo by Jeff Gill

No dirt has turned since getting rezoning approvals last year, but that doesn’t mean the $700 million Atlanta River Walk in South Hall is dead in the water, according to a Peachtree City firm pushing the project.

“As you can imagine, there are many moving parts with a project of this unique caliber and size,” said Michelle Boyd, vice president of business development at Randolph Williamson, in an email.

“We are doing our due diligence to ensure we get it right. We are approaching final completion of project financing, and we look forward to sharing more updates with the community soon.”

Randolph Williamson is teaming up with ARW Group of Peachtree City to “bring to life one of the most unique developments in the country,” according to a website, theatlantariverwalk.com, touting the project. 

The site features a promotional video.

Still, according to Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala, “no permits have been issued
to the property since the rezoning” by the Hall County Board of Commissioners in August 2016.

“I am not aware of any work being done for now, but things could be happening in the background without my knowledge,” he said.

Gainesville lawyer William Bagwell, who represents the property owner, Crystal Farms, said the contract on the project “expired some time ago.”

“The buyer under the contract did not perform and … (the deal is) just history at this point, I guess.”

Tim Evans, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of economic development, said
Monday “the property is still available.”

He also said the River Walk website “was created by the developer, but does not appear to be current.”

Evans has described the Crystal Farms site between Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 and Winder Highway/Ga. 53, next to Road Atlanta, as “a great site for a commercial and light industrial mixed use development.

“We are always open to work with a quality developer or business that would bring quality jobs and investment to Hall County,” Evans said. “... We stand ready to assist a quality development.”

When pitched last year, officials said the River Walk project — off Ga. 211 at Union Church Road — called for some 265 single-family homes, 215 townhomes, 600 multifamily units, 242,000 square feet of retail space and 424,000 square feet of office space.

ARW Group’s plans also call for a 200-room hotel, 20,000-square-foot convention center,
50,000-square-foot grocery store and 60,000-square-foot theater.

But its main feature would be construction of “a man-made feature similar to a river and surrounding it with world-class mixed-use development,” ARW Group principal Jorge Duran has said.

The project got a chorus of “good lucks” from the commission at last year’s approval.

“I think you will change the face of South Hall if you’re able to pull this off,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said. “We’ll be your biggest fans.”

“This is going to be an exciting project that’s going to be very transformative … and is going to be very good for your community,” said Otis Aleman, an engineer representing ARW.

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