Redevelopment: Fuqua project appropriate for busy intersection
February 20, 2014 04:00 AM | 3383 views | 4 4 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of the busiest corners in Cobb County has also been one of its most noticeably underutilized for years.

Fortunately, that’s about to change.

Atlanta-based Fuqua Development announced last week that it had the 52 acres at the intersection of Barrett and Cobb parkways under contract and planned to build a 450,000-square-foot retail/townhome development on the site.

Anchoring the shopping center will be an upscale Whole Foods Market, which would be its ninth in the metro area. The chain also owns and operates the metro area’s three Harry’s Farmer’s Market, including the one just off Roswell Road in Marietta.

“We’re always looking for new locations around the Atlanta metro area,” said Whole Foods spokesman Jeremiah Ryan. “We’re excited that we’ve found a great location for the Kennesaw community, and we look forward to providing more people with good, healthy food options.”

The store would employ between 170 and 220 people and open by 2016.

The property is in unincorporated Cobb but was approved Monday for annexation by the city of Kennesaw, and at a “higher” zoning that will allow the shopping center. It is occupied at present by the sprawling Castle Lake Mobile Home Park, which generates comparatively little to the county tax digest. Most of the mobile home park would be demolished to make way for the development, and it’s likely the remaining 34 acres of trailers will eventually be annexed and redeveloped as well. The Kennesaw Planning Commission voted to require Fuqua to come up with a relocation plan, and Fuqua plans to start relocation assistance this spring on a family-by-family basis, according to its attorney, Garvis Sams Jr. of Marietta.

Kennesaw leaders say they promised no tax inducements to get Fuqua to request annexation, but the promise of higher, denser zoning seems to have been enticement enough to do the trick. It’s a saga that has played out all over Cobb in recent decades, as developers sought and obtained zoning from Cobb’s municipalities that they could not get from the county commission. No tax inducement should be necessary for such a highly desirable property, one situated at the intersection of two of the busiest roads in north Cobb and barely a mile east of two busy interstates.

We’re glad to see that underutilized property finally slated for redevelopment, especially one that promises to enhance it so greatly.
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Kennesaw 201
February 24, 2014
Wealthy Vancouver Canada property investors Joseph and Marcos Ergas, owners of Castle Lake Homes Corp (aka 'The Ergas Group'), are probably watching the clock run out on the 30 day window for a possible Kennesaw annexation appeal on the pending sale of 53 of their 87 acre Castle Lake MHP to controversial Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua and hisFuqua Development Holdings, LLC.

The entire property is valued at $3,250,000 but generates only $39,000 yearly for Cobb County in property taxes.

If the sale is finalized to Fuqua and developed as a mid-sized retail development considerably more taxes will be generated and additional jobs will come to the area.

With an initially estimated 600-700 impacted residents of the Castle Lake MHP you might wonder if there is any recourse for them in the recent 5-0 Council vote for annexation of the unincorporated Cobb County acreage.

There are avenues via both the Superior Court and a direct appeal to the City, if done in the 30 day window of opportunity. The end date for such a challenge would be Wed. March 19th. There is no change in the status of the 53 acres until then and as yet no indication of an appeal.

The major issue at present is the displacement of those on the affected acerage and those remaining 34 MHP acres which will shortly follow to other developers with an eventual removal of over 1,000 retirees, low income and Hispanic residents, all probable Kennesaw residents/citizens, although such residency/citizenship would be of short duration for most.

An occasionally mentioned 'relocation package' has yet to have any details firmed up and this has caused considerable unrest and anxiety in the Castle Lake community.

While the City and the attorney for Fuqua have both indicated that some plan would be put into effect for those to be displaced it remains to be seen what will be done.

At minimum it should include hiring a professional real estate firm to assist the displaced finding places in other MHP's or area rental housing, refunding in full all security deposits and providing reasonable 'key money' for those who leave to defray their relocation costs.

For additional Castle Lake info see also:

February 20, 2014
"which generates comparatively little to the county tax digest." Yes, because that would be the only aspect to consider. Let's not forget that living, breathing human beings call that area home.

Is this an anonymously written article?
Dave Z.
February 20, 2014
Fuqua Development needs to head on up to Highway 92 and Bells Ferry Road in the Acworth / Woodstock area of Cherokee County - plenty of trailer / mobile home parks to bulldoze for the sake of redevelopment (or even reforestation, it doesn't matter, just bulldoze them).

ol vern
February 20, 2014
traffic joys to come soon!!
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