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This Blue Ridge redevelopment just got millions in tax incentives. Luxury townhomes, retail coming soon
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The old Blue Ridge shopping center off Shallowford Road in Gainesville is home today of several churches, an event center and a few other small businesses. Luxury townhomes and a retail center could be built as part of a redevelopment. - photo by Scott Rogers

Update, June 21: Gainesville City Council unanimously approved $9.8 million tax allocation district funds for a redevelopment of the Blue Ridge Shopping Center that would add 161 luxury townhomes and 70 single-family rental cottages.

A planned 161 luxury townhomes and a “village-style” retail center could be opened in 2023 as part of a redevelopment of the old Blue Ridge Shopping Center on Shallowford Road.

The second phase of the shopping center makeover consisting of 70 single-family homes could be ready in 2024.

“We’re super excited about this deal. It’s a wonderful sort of transitional part of town,” said Wes Taubel, co-founder and partner of TWO Capital Partners, an Atlanta firm developing the project.

“What we think the future could be is fantastic.We just need a little help to get there.”

Taubel was speaking at a meeting this week with Gainesville officials, as his company has applied for $9.8 million in tax allocation district funds to be paid out over 15 years for the $85 million project, AVA Gainesville, at 610 Shallowford Road.

The TAD program allows developers and property owners to use property tax payments they pay each year toward improvements at the property that fit eligibility requirements and may have some public use such as infrastructure, streetscaping or public amenities.

Once approved, developers can use increments from the fund for site improvements. In TWO Capital’s case, funds would be spent toward site preparation, infrastructure, streetscape and transportation, amenities and landscaping.

Essentially, the developer pays their full property tax bill each year and receives a reimbursement annually for TAD eligible expenses.

The TAD advisory committee unanimously approved the request.

Also, if TWO Capital “secures additional underperforming non-residential property” along Shallowford Road, Pearl Nix Parkway or Browns Bridge Road, the developer would be eligible for an additional reimbursement of up to $2 million in TAD increments.

The townhomes would vary in size from 1,400 to 1,900 square feet, and the single-family homes, 1,650 to 2,100 square feet.

Rental rates haven’t been disclosed, but city planning documents have said “all proposed residential units will be market rate.” The development would be aimed at renters typically making between $60,000 and $120,000 and who prefer a “walkable” community, Taubel said.

Also, AVA Gainesville would have an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse, including a fitness center, yoga room, leasing office, and office/coworking space.

And a 14,000-square-foot retail area could offer “healthy, fast-casual restaurants, a coffee shop, and an upscale small grocery store that will front Shallowford Road,” according to TAD documents.

The 25-acre site spans from Shallowford Road near Arby’s restaurant to Skelton Road behind Target. The shopping center once housed a Kroger grocery store and a movie theater, and the site also once served as home of Hall County fairgrounds.