Local residents soon may have new dining options to choose from on Dawsonville Highway as part of a new development coming to the area.
"We have two restaurants under contract already for the Beechwood Crossing Shopping Center," said Tim Knight, co-owner of Trivest Real Estate, an Atlanta-based company that is acting as the development consultants for the property owner.
"We anticipate being able to announce the first one in about 45 days. Both restaurants will be new to the Gainesville-Hall County market."
The shopping center will be located at the intersection of Beechwood Boulevard and Dawsonville Highway, just north of the highway's intersection with McEver Road.
The 10-acre site is the former home of the Lakeshore Heights nursing home and is owned by Bill Dupree. When Dupree approached the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board about rezoning the property in February, some neighbors in the community behind the site opposed the development having access to Beechwood Boulevard, fearing traffic would interfere with their ability to access Dawsonville Highway.
Referencing multiple local commercial developments that have access to neighborhood roads, the planning board agreed to allow the shopping center to have access to Beechwood.
Initial plans for the site called for restaurants, professional offices and a 15,000-square-foot supermarket. Current plans are a little less concrete.
"After the two restaurants are done, there will be around 7 acres remaining," Knight said. "That space could be used as one big box store, two restaurants, an office building with restaurants - there really are a lot of possibilities."
Crews are now working to ready the site for construction. That work should be complete by the end of the year, Knight said.
Although plans for the entire site aren't set in stone, there is at least one thing that is certain - more jobs are on the way.
"Each of the two restaurants that we have under contract will be hiring 160 employees each," Knight said.
"That's 320 jobs that weren't previously available in Gainesville-Hall County. We hope to bring in even more jobs as we develop (the rest of the property)."
Once complete, the shopping center will join the stock of new retail outlets in the immediate area, including Children's Place, Ulta and Michael's craft store, which all recently opened.
"We are encouraged by the retail development in the Dawsonville Highway area of Gainesville," said Dick Valentine, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Retail Initiative chairman.
"These new restaurants and stores provide new jobs and will likely draw sales from East Forsyth consumers as well as keeping sales tax dollars in Hall County for education and infrastructure projects."