In Forsyth County, the vision for a sprawling new town center that could be described as “mountaineer-chic” is becoming clearer.  

Percolating for more than four years, the mixed-use project now called Coal Mountain Town Center would rise just west of Ga. Highway 400, in the northern reaches of Forsyth near Lake Lanier.

The name pays homage to the area’s unincorporated Coal Mountain community with roots in the 1830s—but never any coal. It’s being designed by architecture firm Nelson Worldwide.

Arqui300; designs, Nelson Worldwide

Arqui300; designs, Nelson Worldwide

In late October, global design firm Arqui300 released a 3D-visualization video for Coal Mountain Town Center that lends a fly-through preview of what may come.

According to that company, the project would meld retail, offices, and other uses, while benefiting from proximity to Ga. Highway 400, a nearby Walmart, and North Georgia Premium Outlets mall, a Simon property that annually attracts about 6 million shoppers.

Cindy Jones Mills, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners chairperson, District 4, relayed in a September newsletter the town center project had entered its “last phase of draft mode” and should be coming before commissioners this fall.

Renderings indicate it would consume dozens of acres around a busy county intersection where traffic lanes were recently added, where Browns Bridge Road (Ga. Highway 369 east) meets Dahlonega Highway (Ga. Highway 9 north).

An overview of plans reads like a less dense version of Halcyon down the road. 

Arqui300; designs, Nelson Worldwide

Arqui300; designs, Nelson Worldwide

Meanwhile, a few miles south of the Coal Mountain proposal, county seat Cumming is much further along in building its own mixed-use city center, which is being marketed as an improved downtown built from scratch.

Photos: 5 years later, wandering Halcyon, metro Atlanta's latest utopian mini-city (Urbanize Atlanta)