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Ask the Times: Riverbrook Village development back on track after detour
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Can you please shed some light on what is going on with the “Riverbrook” development on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville? It’s been sitting there for years, and up until about a year ago, it was an air-soft playground.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners is set to hear a zoning application on Jan. 24 for the property at the corner of Thompson Bridge and Price roads.

Riverbrook Village Development Partners LLC is seeking to rezone 83 acres there to a mixed use of commercial and residential development, with plans to build a large apartment complex. The county’s planning commission has already OK’d the plans, but with several conditions: a 200-apartment-unit limit, an amenities package starting with the first phase of development and a ban on income-assisted tenants.

Developer Robert Robinson said the property was acquired in 2006 and the land was cleared about that time.

The property was rezoned then to planned commercial development and planned residential development, with the commercial portion to be no more than 299,000 square feet of retail space and the residential part to be 45 town homes of no less than 2,000 square feet, according to Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala.

But the economy put a halt to those plans.

“Everything was going great and then the economy just fell out,” Robinson said. They did bring in the CVS, though, that now sits on the corner.

Now, as the development moves forward, the apartment plans fit better with the economy, Robinson said.

“Everybody’s asking for more rooftops,” he said.

As for the air-soft playground, it was in business for about a year before leaving because it wasn’t making enough money, Robinson said. A 36-month temporary change was approved to allow the business to operate on the commercial portion of the property.

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