The renderings are merely conceptual — hypothetical, theoretical, pseudo-suggestions for what could be built in place of existing, aging shopping centers.
But they represent a very real conversation that’s being held about the future of the area surrounding Gwinnett Place Mall.
“Our vision is we want that internationally diverse, walkable, dense, green, mixed-use type of environment,” Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District director Joe Allen said.
During a Tuesday morning briefing before Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners, Allen and colleagues presented the findings of a recent study about the economic impact of the Gwinnett Place area. They also shared the conceptual renderings (which they commissioned) that showed what two existing shopping centers in the area — Mall Corners and Santa Fe Mall — could look like if redeveloped.
Allen said the CID worked with the current property owners to develop the renderings, which indeed have a dense, mixed-use feel, and that they’re already using the images to try and recruit developers.
“We can then take [them] and say, “OK, if you're interested in Gwinnett Place, here's some properties that may want to joint venture with you, maybe sell to you, whatever it might be,’” Allen said.
“It's time to kind of come in, scrape some things off and do something different,” he added.
Santa Fe and Mall Corners, both across Pleasant Hill Road from Gwinnett Place Mall, aren’t the only shopping center the CID has its eyes on. Allen said developer Insignia LLC still has plans to redevelop the Gwinnett Prado shopping center, a mostly vacant 32-acre property to the northwest of the mall.
Allen and other local officials have also made their displeasure with the owner of the actual mall, Moonbeam Capital Investments, known publicly in recent months. Little has changed since Moonbeam took over the long-floundering and largely vacant mall in 2013.
In January, Moonbeam floated plans for a grand makeover that included demolishing one department store to build apartments and converting two other wings into office space. The company said it would submit redevelopment plans to the county in March. That never happened.
Asked Tuesday about the latest plans for the mall, Allen was terse.
“We don’t know,” he said.
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