Growth, especially new housing, soared in South Hall in 2020 and isn’t expected to slow in 2021.
Apartment developments are especially springing up, with the 324-unit Crest at Flowery Branch opening off Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch and more units on the way in an apartment-retail building on Main Street in the downtown area.
Grading is underway for a 342-unit apartment complex off Hog Mountain Road across from Cash Road and next to Flowery Branch High School. And a 312-unit complex is rising from the ground off Martin Road across from Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science.
Subdivisions also are being built featuring single-family homes and townhomes throughout Flowery Branch and along McEver Road into Oakwood.
Even older subdivisions, such as Sterling on the Lake, a 1,000-acre development permitted for up to 2,000 homes, are taking part in the growth.
Construction started last year on an 86-acre, 214-lot, active adult section off Capitola Farm Road near Scarlet Way.
“We knew growth was coming and would be here about this time,” Flowery Branch Mike Miller said in a recent interview, “but it’s almost like it’s way more than we thought.”
Flowery Branch agendas are packed full with developments, with meetings usually lasting hours as council members discuss housing designs and subdivision layouts in great detail.
More development is on the horizon, as just in recent weeks, the council discussed a project involving 140 townhomes and 199 single-family detached homes off Mulberry Street and a proposal for 73 townhomes and 26,400 square feet of retail space off McEver Road at Gainesville Street/G.C. Crow Road.
Retail is part of several housing projects in the area, although tenants haven’t been named.
Next to the apartments off Martin Road are 15 acres approved by Oakwood for commercial uses, including a drive-in restaurant, banks, medical offices and a car wash. Maps show nearly 40,000 square feet of retail space spread out among six buildings.
The apartments and the retail are making up what is the first major development off Exit 14 in South Hall since the interchange fully opened Jan. 30
The project has drawn both opposition and support.
“We are excited about the presence of more people close to us,” Brian Evans, Oakwood Baptist Church’s senior pastor, has said. “What we’re about is reaching people.”
Gary McClung, who is part of a group of Martin Road residents who have been vocal particularly about local traffic issues, has said, “They should put commercial enterprises on the other side of 985 where the industries are, not belly up to two residential areas.”
Exit 14 also will be the home of an 80-acre industrial development, where grading is taking place between Martin Road and the Atlanta Falcons complex off Falcon Parkway. The company hasn’t been named, but high-end power tool maker Makita U.S.A. announced earlier this year that it was building on an 80-acre site in Flowery Branch.
Also recently opening was the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center at the Falcons complex.
The $15 million, 29,000-square-foot musculoskeletal and sports medicine clinic at 4400 Falcon Parkway, across from C.W. Davis Middle School, is connected to and overlooks the Falcons’ indoor and outdoor practice fields. It will provide Falcons players with immediate access to medical treatment and procedures, such as MRIs.
But the center also will be open to the public, with a newly paved parking lot just off the otherwise gated complex.
Also, part of the clinic is the Emory Sports Performance and Research Center, which will “explore the science of injury prevention and recovery, particularly in high school and younger athletes,” according to Emory and the Falcons.
“To have this facility here in Flowery Branch is going to be so convenient for us as players, but I think it’s great for North Georgia as well,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said in a video played during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center on Feb. 25. “This area has grown so much in the 13 years I’ve been here. People having access to this site is going to be special.”
Also enjoying the moment was Flowery Branch’s mayor.
“Our citizens … have a facility that makes this city a place to live, work and play,” he said.