The Cherokee Street corridor between McCollum Parkway and downtown Kennesaw is undergoing a major facelift due to the $280 million Eastpark Village mixed-use development.
The area was identified for redevelopment in 2008 and work began more than three years ago. This week, Chad Howie of Sanctuary Companies, the master developer, provided an update on the project to the City Council.
The development will sit on about 55 acres of land and will include 850 residential units with a mixture of apartments, townhomes and senior living. About 300,000 square feet will be put to commercial use, including retail, self-storage, office space and restaurants.
According to Howie, several real estate brokers, two private detectives and city staff worked to identify the sellers and the developer ultimately acquired 68 properties. He said the company worked with homeowners, tenants and business owners on relocation, and the properties were rezoned T4O and T4L in December 2017.
Earlier this year, the council approved the creation of an entertainment district in downtown Kennesaw, allowing patrons to purchase and walk around with alcoholic beverages. Once the first business to obtain a liquor license is operational, Eastpark Village will also have an entertainment district extending from McCollum Parkway to Poplar Drive, between Cherokee Street and Grant Drive.
“I am very excited about the progress being made,” said Darryl Simmons, Kennesaw’s zoning administrator. “This development serves as a positive example of partnerships between local government and the development community.”
There are also plans to widen Cherokee Street to five lanes, as well as incorporate multi-use trails and make the downtown area accessible to pedestrians.
Howie showed the council photos of the recently completed demolition of much of the area, including Ashton Commons Business Park and residential areas along Smith, Maple, Pine and Rock Springs drives. Big Shanty Smokehouse, a popular barbecue restaurant, is relocating two houses up to the corner of Smith Drive and Cherokee Street since the street widening will negatively affect their current parking situation.
The city applied to the Department of Community Affairs to designate the retail district as an opportunity zone, a tax credit program through the state. Any new businesses creating jobs that meet specified criteria in the zone are eligible for income tax credits per job for a prescribed period of time, according to Robert Fox, economic development director for Kennesaw. DCA denied the application, but the city intends to try and make a case for reconsideration.
In other business:
♦ Changes to the Prichard Park residential project at 2974 Moon Station Road were submitted for approval. The project is located in the Central Business District and requires approval from the Kennesaw Downtown Development Authority and the Historic Preservation Commission, in addition to the mayor and council.
A previous concept was approved in 2016 with 86 residential units comprising townhomes and condos. The new proposal decreases the density with 75 units mixing single-family detached homes and a stacked condo design.
The HPC attached the following stipulations: building height may not exceed 45 feet, no structure may exceed the height of an adjacent structure by more than one floor, landscape plans must be submitted for approval, and a plaque must be installed to commemorate the historic Pritchard home site.
♦ Break-ins to unlocked cars continue to be a source of frustration for law enforcement. Though June’s larceny stats took a small dip from 50 in May down to 46, there have been 186 incidents this year, up 25 from last year.
According to Police Chief Bill Westenberger, the department has reached out to HOAs, sent out newsletters and campaigned for awareness on social media.
“If you were to look at our numbers in comparison to other areas, you’d probably see our number is actually low from a ratio perspective, but we aren’t completely insulated,” he said.