Loganville looks at potential development options for downtown

Maybe condos, maybe apartments, some retail stores, possibly a YMCA, maybe a boutique hotel and most likely a rooftop restaurant – these are all ideas being tossed around as possible new development on Main Street in Loganville.

At a meeting before the Loganville City Council work session this week, William T. Tunnell of TSW Design presented a few options for the city to consider for property purchased last year across the road from the Loganville First United Methodist Church and the Rock Gym and Ag Building Convention Center.

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Area for future development in downtown Loganville. Photo credit Sharon Swanepoel

“We are building off the LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) originally done in 2010 when some big picture provisions were put forward,” Tunnell said. “This is a re-emphasis on the idea of trying to revitalize Main Street and make it the center of commerce and retail as well as make it a walkability community with additional restaurants and high end shopping in a walkable setting.”

Tunnell noted, however, that all of these options required people, so the best option would likely mean some form of mixed use that included some retail, some residential and possibly some recreational. All of those options, however, would require some form of parking – most likely multi-level parking. Tunnell had some conceptual designs, one that included a stand alone rooftop restaurant overlooking the town green and two other four-story apartment blocks.

“You would have to build enough apartments to attract a developer to make this feasible,” Tunnell said, adding that two four-story buildings could give 180 units with retail on the ground level on one end and three layers of parking at the back of the building giving about 170 parking spaces behind. There also would be retail on the ground floor of the building adjacent to the rooftop restaurant.

Another option would be all townhouses for the residential which would be owner occupied and would be easier to market to a developer as they could be built incrementally. In the meantime, a developer could still make a town center kind of development with maybe just 47 town home units. it would likely yield about half the amount of retail as the previous one, but could still have the rooftop restaurant.

One of the other options floated was the idea of possibly a multi-level YMCA with an indoor swimming pool and possibly some retail. This too would require some parking structure. Tunnell also suggested maybe a small boutique hotel in conjunction with maybe condos or even the YMCA. All these options would bring people downtown to service any retail, restaurants or recreational activities being recruited.

Downtown Suwanee - photo by david douglas
Downtown Suwanee – photo contributed by David Douglas

Tunnell emphasized that these ideas were just a starting point to give the council options to consider. The rooftop restaurant, however, was a standard in all the options he presented. He shared photos of a couple of developments that included a rooftop restaurant, such as McCray’s on the Square in downtown Lawrenceville. He also had photos from other town center mixed-use development, including one from the downtown Suwanee town center.

Macray's rooftop restaurant in downtown Lawrenceville, Ga. Contributed photo
Macray’s rooftop restaurant in downtown Lawrenceville, Ga. Contributed photo

Former mayor and council member Mike Jones asked about regulations regarding alcohol that may impact a restaurant being directly across the road from a church. Tunnell said that could be addressed by having the entrance to the restaurant at the back of the building with access directly from the parking behind.

A story on Loganville’s plans for downtown, and some of the development that is already coming in – such as Southern Boutique the moved downtown this summer – appeared in the Fall/Winter issue of Walton Living Magazine. Click or tap on this link to read more about the city’s long term plans.

The old elementary school building on Lawrenceville Highway is already being renovated for use as the new city hall. This will vacate the current city hall and open up that building for some other use as well. Loganville Assistant City Manager Danny Roberts said the hope is to have the city administrative staff move into the new city hall as soon as possible, possibly even by this spring. He said at this time it is not clear what will become of the current city hall. Some ideas tossed around have been to move the library from across the other side of Highway 78, but that comes with some design problems and probably couldn’t be done for a couple of years, he said.

City Manager Bill Jones said plans are currently being made to sell off the furniture left in the old school building over a 30-day period. This will be advertised to give the public an opportunity to purchase these items. Any remaining at the end of that period would be auctioned off so plans can be finalized for the city’s administrative staff to begin the move into the new city hall. The council also approved the expenditure of $13,016 for a new phone system that would be able to serve all the city departments from one location.

About Sharon Swanepoel 2641 Articles
Sharon Swanepoel is the Publisher and Editor of Your Local News, which includes Loganville Local News, Monroe Local News and Walton Living Magazine.
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