There’s plenty unfinished, from the floors inside to the sidewalks outside, but Flowery Branch is otherwise ready to fill its new retail building on Main Street with tenants.
“We do have a letter of intent for one space,” Interim City Manager Vickie Short said during a tour of the building on Monday, Oct. 4.
A restaurant has expressed interest, but she couldn’t give further details yet as the lease hasn’t been finalized. Short gave this one clue: “I think it’s really cool. I’m excited.”
The new building, which sits between the Flowery Branch Depot off Railroad Avenue and Church Street, has four street-level suites totaling about 6,000 square feet. Apartments leased by The Crest at Flowery Branch complex on Phil Niekro Boulevard make up the second floor.
Oakhurst Realty Partners is marketing the property, saying in its literature, “Be part of a growing, dynamic city in Hall County with Lake Lanier nearby. This is an ideal site for neighborhood restaurants, bars and retailers that offer unique products and services.”
“Our focus is to create more opportunities for experiences in downtown Flowery Branch,” said Todd Semrau of Oakhurst. “We’re looking for businesses and operators that bring energy and activity to downtown.”
Efforts are “going great” so far, he said.
“We have some prospects — one restaurant group that looks really great,” Semrau said. “We’re talking to a number of (other) potential candidates as well.”
The city will give tenants the ability to make improvements inside the tenant spaces.
“It will be as a shell (structures) and they will do whatever they need to,” Short said.
The building on city-owned property replaced what was an eclectic mix of aging structures, including a city hall with no public restrooms, the city police department and a bakery. City offices, including police, are now in the new City Hall off nearby West Pine Street.
The new retail building ties into several public projects downtown.
Flowery Branch also is looking to open a new farmer’s market behind the depot, add parking spaces in the area and create a “woonerf,” or a Dutch-style, pedestrian-friendly area on Church Street Street between Main and Pine streets. Also in the plans are a couple of new parks on Church Street.
A Christmas celebration showcasing downtown’s new look is set for Dec. 17, said Renee Carden, the city’s downtown events coordinator.
“There’ll be live music and a tree lighting in front of the (historic) caboose (off Railroad Avenue),” she said. “Prayerfully, things will be completed at the market pavilion.The plan is to have (it open) and have all the vendors under the pavilion.
“We are ready to get the city back alive.”