Johns Creek Man Bringing Live, Work, Play Development to Peachtree Corners
The new owner of the 20.6 undeveloped acres across from The Forum plans to develop the property into residential, retail, office space along with a hotel, amphitheater and green space.
At long last, residents in next-door Peachtree Corners may be getting what many have longed for - a community gathering place they can call their own.
The undeveloped acreage across from The Forum has a new owner whose vision goes well beyond the plans of its previous owner.
Grandview Township, LLC, headed by Bob Cheeley, with Piedmont Bank, has purchased the tract of land from Lennar, a Miami, Fla.-based company that had just recently bought the 20.6 acres for $7.6 million with the intentions of building 250 garden apartments.
Cheeley, a Johns Creek resident, and his investment group, have a much different idea for this last undeveloped piece of Peachtree Corners real estate.
Imagine a place that could become the center of activity for the new city with wide sidewalks, benches, green space for holding art festivals and surrounded by upscale condominiums, boutique retail shops, restaurants, a hotel and office space. Oh, and throw in a 1,000 seat amphitheater as icing on the cake.
"I always thought the property should be mixed use," said Cheeley who just recently purchased five acres adjacent to the Piedmont Bank and had it rezoned to be developed into office, retail and restaurant space.
"This can be the new town center, said Cheeley who said he's "already received incredible interest from developers around the Southeast who want to be involved."
Part of Cheeley's team includes Lamar Wakefield, principal of of Wakefield Beasley & Associates, the architectural company that designed the Forum.
"The plan includes a grand entrance with a water feature, 20 foot wide sidewalks, outdoor seating and a grand event lawn about the size of a football field." said Wakefield. "And we're adding a 1,000 seat amphitheater similar to the one in Suwanee."
Just a few weeks ago the City of Peachtree Corners had decided to purchase the property as a last ditch effort to avoid the development of 250 more apartments. Then Cheeley contacted the mayor (Mike Mason) with an idea.
"I called the mayor and asked if he would be willing to let me step in," said Cheeley. The mayor gave his concent.
Cheeley contacted Lennar's president "and told him I was interested in buying the property and that I could close by April 15. I think I caught him off guard. He said, 'yes, I guess so.'" The deal was sealed with a handshake and the contract was signed the next day.
Cheeley said the name for the new development will be Grandview at Peachtree Corners and anticipates it will be close to a year before ground is broken on the new development.
"This type of development has not been done anywhere in Gwinnett," he said.
The plans include 100,000 square feet of high-end retail 50,000 square feet of office, a full service hotel with luxury residences above and around the town square.
Cheeley said the planned residential units will appeal to people who are at the age and stage in their lives where they no longer want the hassles of owning a home with all of the landscape maintenance and upkeep and where they can walk to restaurants and upscale shopping, as well as walk to their office.
There are also plans to build a pedestrian walkway to connect with The Forum across the street.
The end result of Grandview at Peachtree Corners is to create a sense of community, said Cheeley. "We want this to be a place where people can walk, sit, gather, enjoy time together. This is what I want to see here on this property."
Editor's note: Bob Cheeley has deep roots in the community, he's the great-great-grandson of Robert David Medlock who settled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in the mid 1800s. The Medlock family once operated a ferry across the river and farmed the land. Cheeley, a member of the board of directors of The Piedmont Bank, grew up in Buford and today lives in Johns Creek with his wife Lisa.