BY nikki wiley
town center - A development held hostage by the Great Recession is back on track following a land swap deal between the developer and Cobb County.
The almost 50-acre, mixed-use Town Village project was approved by the Cobb Board of Commissioners in 2008. The site is near the intersection of Hidden Forest Court and Big Shanty Road close to Kennesaw State University and will feature retail and commercial space in addition to more than 1,000 townhomes and other multifamily units.
Commissioners approved a development agreement with Woody Snell of TV Holdings LLC that included a land swap deal and reimbursement of money spent on a Big Shanty Road improvement project from special purpose local option sales tax funds.
"Originally he was supposed to provide us with parcels that would be used for the Noonday Creek trail," said Rob Hosack, director of the Cobb County Community Development Agency. "Well, what had happened is he got caught up in the negative effects of the Great Recession and wasn't able to secure financing."
The county had money from grants to be spent, so officials purchased land that Snell had previously agreed to donate.
Land traded includes 2.21 acres of right-of-way owned by the developer near Big Shanty Road for 6.15 acres of unused county land, Hosack said. The developer has also paid $165,985 to the county, reimbursing expenses for improvements to Big Shanty Road paid for with SPLOST and another $153,002 to reimburse the amount spent acquiring property for the Noonday Creek trail, which will ultimately connect to the development.
Hosack says the final product will be a "very walkable," pedestrian-friendly community but there is no set timeline for completion. Construction has not yet begun but crews have demolished houses and other buildings that once stood on the property.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents the east Cobb district the village is in, said the stall in the project was felt in the community because residents who used to live near Hidden Forest Court had contracts for their homes to be purchased by the developer that couldn't be fulfilled at the time.
"With the downturn in the economy and the lack of funding and things going on since then, it was kind of put on hold and really had an impact on that neighborhood, Hidden Forest.
She's excited to see things progressing.
"I think it's definitely a positive move," Birrell said. "I'm really happy to see it finally moving forward from five or six years ago at a standstill." ]]>