Guest blog post by Ben Yorker – Director of Development for Northwood Raven’s Charlotte office and GPCID board member
Gwinnett Place is a unique area that has been at the epicenter of Gwinnett’s growth over the last three decades and has the potential to again grow and prosper ever more in the coming decades. It is for this reason that I joined the Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors in 2018. I was introduced to the CID when my company, Northwood Ravin, a leading full service development, construction and property management firm, began looking at property to purchase in Gwinnett’s central business district at Gwinnett Place. The CID staff immediately began to connect us with the key stakeholders and leaders in Gwinnett. In June 2018, we purchased the Gwinnett Place Mall’s former Sears building and property. After the deal closed, I knew I wanted to grow my involvement with Gwinnett Place CID because it’s an organization that works every day to transform the area, improve transportation infrastructure and promote redevelopment.
My team chose Gwinnett Place as a redevelopment location based on its diverse demographics and strategic location in the heart of one of the most dynamic counties in the nation. At Gwinnett Place, we found a community that is evolving and seeking a new identity. We saw an area that has the opportunity to become a flourishing center for an internationally diverse, sustainable, green, livable urban community. Although our project is still in the works with concepts under review, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the upcoming development meets the community’s needs. One key idea we are pursuing is the creation of a central greenspace on the property that gives people a place to gather and host diverse festivals or markets. Interestingly, this is a key element found in many of the CID’s concepts for the property. Overall, we hope the development will influence other retailers and property owners in the area to assimilate with our project and revitalize Gwinnett Place.
I also encourage other developers to take a chance on Gwinnett Place. Based on our research, I know the district is a great location with enormous potential. The affordable real estate has a lot more to offer than it may appear today. Additionally, Gwinnett Place is very accessible with easy access to major interstates. The CID, Gwinnett County and the State of Georgia continue to invest in its infrastructure with improved roads and the future of a more robust transit options is just on the horizon. It is time for other developers to join with us and reimagine the area for Gwinnett County that will add an additional 500,000 new residents by 2040. And Gwinnett Place will play a key role in that continued growth.
The CID board is striving for change in the area, and we will continue to showcase its enormous potential to developers. In concert with Gwinnett County’s political and business leaders, I believe, if we put our minds together and work in true partnership, then we can recreate Gwinnett Place and keep it the hub for economic and employment activity in Gwinnett County for many more years to come.