Dozens of Conyers, Rockdale County, school system and community representatives were on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony for Salem Gate Market, a long-awaited project that will be developed on the site of the former Salem Gate shopping center, which is bordered by Iris Drive and Old Salem Road. In addition to the symbolic groundbreaking, development of the project began in a more tangible way with the demolition of one of the buildings on the 21-acre site.
The Tri-Land Properties Inc. project will feature a 55,000-square-foot Hobby Lobby, 20,000-square-foot Northern Tool and Supply, a 103-room hotel, and an Allure Nail and Spa. According to Tri-Land, conversations with several other target retail and restaurant names are underway, including tenants in the family fashion, sporting goods and value retail segments.
Tri-Land President Richard Dube, Conyers Mayor Vince Evans, Rockdale Commission Chairman Oz Nesbitt Sr. and Rockdale Board of Education Chair Katrina Young all spoke about the opportunities that will come with redevelopment of the dilapidated shopping center.
The project is part of a public-private partnership in which the city created a Tax Allocation District for the property. Under the TAD, the city, county and school system have agreed to abate ad valorem taxes for the property, keeping them at the current level for the next 20 years. As the property is redeveloped, any future tax revenues generated by the increased property value would be allocated to repay Tri-Land for infrastructure costs.
Dube said Tri-Land purchased the property in the mid-2000s, but the project got delayed by the recession. He said plans are now completed for the project infrastructure, and work on the first phase of development is set to begin in August, with completion expected in the summer of 2020.
Dube expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to the city and county for helping the developer “get through some two years of negotiations to get to a public-private partnership that produced a financial incentive for us to be able to move forward with this project and finally get it started.”
He thanked Nesbitt, Young and Evans for their leadership in agreeing to the economic development partnership using tax dollars.
“That’s never an easy thing to do,” said Dube. “Some people don’t understand how it works, how it benefits the communities over the long term. So it takes leadership and insight and foresight to get that done.”
Dube said the project is also a milestone for the city as the first redevelopment project in the Gateway Village District zoning, which is designed to promote and facilitate mixed-use redevelopment.
Mayor Evans called the project an “eyesore that will become a point of pride for the community,” and thanked the county and school board for their vision in “collaborating on the tax allocation district to make this a long-term winning project for us all.”
Chairman Nesbitt complimented the teamwork exhibited between the city and the county and by their respective teams.
“This is certainly a day of awakening, a day of reckoning, a day of realization, a day we have been waiting for in our community for quite a long time,” said Nesbitt.
Young said the school system is looking forward to the benefits of the new development, for both students and employees, through more opportunities for work-based learning and enhanced quality of life.
Most of all, she said, the school system anticipates increased sales tax revenues that will be generated by the shopping center.
“Rockdale County Public Schools is excited about the rebirth of this area, and we look forward to seeing it progress over the next months and years,” Young said.
You can find this article in the Rockdale Citizens website here: https://www.rockdalenewtoncitizen.com/features/groundbreaking-signals-new-chapter-for-salem-gate-area-in-conyers/article_ad40b7c6-66c4-11e9-8647-579dea6e9e83.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share
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