Mayor Johnson: Managing city’s building boom

Mayor Johnson: Managing city’s building boom

Fayetteville in 2017 “inundated” with construction proposals

The evolution of Fayetteville continued in 2017 with the first residences at the upscale Pinewood Forrest coming out of the ground and with a number of development proposals around the city. Mayor Ed Johnson (photo above) said 2018 is likely to bring even more change, including the adoption of the Fayetteville Downtown Master Plan.

Johnson said Fayetteville in 2017 was inundated with a flurry of development ideas and proposals. The most significant of those was the movement at Pinewood Forrest on Veterans Parkway where two dozen homes were under constructions at year’s end and more residential and commercial development on the way at the site across the road from Pinewood Atlanta Studios. Johnson said city staff continue to work with Dan Cathy and the development team at Pinewood Forrest.

“Pinewood Forrest was a fit with the future land use plan and didn’t take away from downtown,” Johnson said.

In terms of downtown, Johnson said the Heartis senior living community on Ga. Highway 54 West is under construction and a second community, also on Hwy. 54 West near downtown, is currently clearing ground.

“The data shows that Fayetteville has an ongoing demand for senior housing developments, and we need to supply that need,” said Johnson.

Also in the area of Hwy. 54 West, development projects are continuing, with Broadway Diner looking to relocate near Grady Avenue.

“We’re working with them to make it a good fit,” Johnson noted.

Commenting on the downtown area, Johnson said there is the potential for establishing a hotel in the immediate area. That is significant because the Holiday Inn on the town square is likely closing in the next year or two, he said.

Johnson said the biggest disappointment in 2017 was the announcement that German grocer Lidl would not be coming to the city. That, in turn, resulted in the J&R Clothing move to Hwy. 54 West being put on indefinite hold.

“Some people think that the Planning and Zoning Commission drug it out. The truth is that Lidl decided to reorganize things in their North American division,” said Johnson, explaining that the reorganization eliminated Fayetteville from consideration.

Johnson commented on a very large project, the plans for which continued in 2017, and will likely see movement in 2018. The Fayetteville Downtown Master Plan is expected to be adopted no later than mid-year, Johnson said. The downtown plan area encompasses properties between Stonewall Avenue and Lanier Avenue immediately west of downtown, and the large area along Stonewall west of downtown, where the school system office is currently located, then moving to the south along Grady Avenue toward Hwy. 54 West.

The plan, based on the preferences of more than 500 participating citizens, calls for higher density retail, office and residential offerings in the immediate downtown area.

The idea, said Johnson, is to “make downtown a destination.”

Johnson said another focus for 2018 is to continue working with the Jordan family pertaining to the site of the former Jordan Salvage east of downtown, and to continue looking at other uses for the older commercial properties along Ga. Highway 85 north of downtown.

Still another project for 2018, and in conjunction with the Ga. Department of Transportation, will have a pedestrian bridge constructed over Hwy. 54 West near Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

And in the same area, Johnson said he hoped Georgia Military College on Veterans Parkway will undertake a plan to grow its enrollment.