After a decade of trying, it looks like Snellville is finally getting its own city center.
The Gwinnett County city, located 18 miles east of Atlanta along U.S. Highway 78 toward Athens, has been kicking the tires on plans for a mixed-use downtown hub like Suwanee’s since city councilors adopted a masterplan back in 2011.
At one point, city leaders envisioned whipping up Snellville’s version of Krog Street Market for a concept with "market" in the name.
What’s moving forward now in the city of 20,000—where the former slogan “Everybody's Somebody in Snellville” was famous but deeply polarizing among Gwinnettians—is much larger than that.
In a public-private partnership with national commercial real estate company CASTO and Atlanta-based MidCity Real Estate Partners, Snellville has begun demolition work for what's to be called The Grove at Towne Center, or The Grove for short.
An open-air groundbreaking ceremony for the $85-million first phase is planned Thursday.
By sometime next year, that initial phase is expected to deliver a node that wouldn’t be out of place in Summerhill today: 262 apartments described as “luxury” grade, plus more than 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office, and entertainment spaces.
A library with business accelerator space on the second floor is also underway.
Eventually, the two-phase Grove will consume 18 acres between Oak Road, Wisteria Drive, North Road, and Clower Street in downtown Snellville, officials predict. Behind-the-scenes design phases have taken the better part of three years.
“We’re ecstatic to begin visible progress on this long-awaited project,” Snellville Mayor Barbara Bender said in an announcement today. “This is a momentous occasion."
• How a $35M arts center is modernizing Lawrenceville's historic square (Urbanize Atlanta)
• In growing downtown Duluth, more than 250 luxury rentals on tap (Urbanize Atlanta)