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How Flowery Branch proposes to revamp its downtown
Apartments, redeveloped city buildings part of plan
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The Flowery Branch Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee met Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, to consider public funding toward several housing projects, including one involving apartments and retail on Main Street downtown. - photo by Jeff Gill

More housing and mixed-used development, including 15 upper-floor apartments in a new building on Main Street, are being considered in Flowery Branch.

Atlanta-based The Residential Group is looking to build 335 apartments on property off Phil Niekro Boulevard off Thurmon Tanner Parkway and near Interstate 985.

Also, the company is proposing redeveloping the former City Hall and police station buildings on Main Street between Railroad Avenue and Church Street. The new building would feature 15 apartments and 7,700 square feet of ground-level retail.

The projects were presented Thursday, Aug. 30, at a meeting of the Tax Allocation District, or TAD, Advisory Committee.

Under Georgia law, cities are allowed to designate certain “blighted” areas as TADs, using property tax increments resulting from new growth on public projects to help attract growth and increase the increments.

By law, the money can be used for public utilities improvements, such as stormwater systems.

The downtown area is part of a TAD in the South Hall city.

The TAD committee ended up voting to recommend spending $6.6 million in TAD money for public projects related to the Main Street project.

That amount includes $2.2 million for parks, nearly $1 million for parking, $1.5 million toward the retail part of the mixed-use building and $1.1 million for a multi-use trail system that would run from Thurmon Tanner Parkway through downtown to Lake Lanier.

The trails project is estimated to cost $5.6 million, with the city seeking nearly $4.5 million from the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

The TAD committee also recommended spending $750,000 toward improvements related to a developer’s city-approved plans to build a 325-home subdivision between McEver Road and Gainesville Street.

The developer, Flowery Branch Partners, was seeking $2.55 million for improvements, including traffic signals, sewer and road fixes, and multi-use trails. City officials said they would explore the city’s water and sewer fund as a possible funding option other than TAD.

The committee also recommended spending $150,000 toward help with amenities planned as part of Winterset Holdings’ “The Villages at East Main,” a residential development featuring 63 townhomes and 31 single-family homes between East Main Street and Phil Niekro Boulevard.

Construction is underway on the development.

All three recommendations will go to the Flowery Branch City Council for final action.

City Manager Bill Andrew indicated that the three projects and TAD requests are in early phases, and that public hearings would lie ahead if they advance.

“We haven’t made any decisions, no property has been sold,” he said. “No letters of intent or memorandums of intent have been signed at this point — it’s been all discussion.”

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