Downtown Flowery Branch was a scene of rubble, dirt and dust Thursday, Aug. 1, as demolition started to make way for a new block of housing and retail on Main Street.
Using heavy equipment, a city public works crew ripped first into the old brick police department that stood at the corner of Main and Church streets, as people looked on snapping pictures and taking video.
“It was home for a long time,” Police Chief David Spillers said. “It’s bittersweet. We’ll miss the old, but we’ll appreciate the new.”
Also being torn down on the block between Railroad Avenue and Church Street will be the old city hall and other city-owned structures that at one time housed a craft beer store, theater group and bakery.
The historic depot at the corner of Railroad and Main will be spared, but a railroad mural painted on a building wall facing the depot will go with the rest of the structure.
“It’s good and bad,” said Johnny Thomas, the city’s public works director and equipment operator, of the efforts. “I’m kind of anxious to see what’s coming back, but I kind of hate to see the old leave.”
Thomas has lived in the South Hall city for decades, and is familiar with its landmarks. The police department, for instance, was originally a post office before becoming a laundromat.
Atlanta developer The Residential Group is planning a two-story building featuring 15 second-story apartments and 7,700 square feet of ground-floor retail.
Principal Kurt Alexander said Thursday construction could start in September and would take about a year to build. No tenants have been lined up yet.