After years of court battles, a stagnant economy and other delays, more than $1 million in site improvements — including runoff protection fencing and road preparation — are beginning for the Riverbrook Village mixed-use development on Thompson Bridge Road at Ga. 136/Price Road.
Bulldozers will dot the landscape next week while grading and additional infrastructure, including entrances on Price and Thompson Bridge roads, will be constructed for the residential component of the development over the next several months.
The project, which will entail retail shopping, restaurants and a gated apartment community on an 83-acre property, was approved in January 2013 by the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Scott Gibbs said this week he cast the lone vote against the development because he believes apartment complexes need to be located in town, near public transit and public safety services.
After the board gave its OK, neighboring property owners filed suit.
Those residents argued that the density of the apartment complex was too great, and that crime and traffic would increase while property values dropped.
The suit was later dismissed.
Local developer McKibbon-Robison said the time is now right to build as the economy continues to show signs of sustained recovery, including increased job growth and rising home prices.
“We knew the lawsuit was going to fail, but out of an abundance of caution we delayed the development,” principal Steve McKibbon said in a statement to The Times. “Property values have increased over the last two years and we are now in a much better position to fully develop the parcel.”
McKibbon said he is hopeful an anchor tenant will be signed soon for the commercial side of the development, although no firm commitments have been made at this point.
“We have received a lot more commercial interest about Riverbrook in the past several months,” McKibbon said, “which seems to indicate that our local economy is definitely heading in the right direction.”