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Lack of development at Gwinnett ballpark draws criticism

Gwinnett BravesEconomic development around Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League), has failed to materialize, and the latest proposal has locals up in arms.

One of the rationales for Gwinnett County to fund the $64-million ballpark was the potential of attracting additional development. And, indeed, there was a proposed development on the table calling for 351,000 square feet of commercial space and 610 upscale residential units.

But that development proposal is now off the books. Instead, developers are proposing just 186,000 square feet of commercial space and 886 lower-end apartments, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Not having commercial development and its associated tax base is impacting county revenues: a car-rental tax has failed to cover debt service on the ballpark, forcing county commissioners to dip into hotel-tax revenues. And downscaling the proposed city-center development is apparently making things worse. From the AJC:

“It was going to be a mixed-use, live-work-play compliment to the stadium,” said Paula Hastings, a former planning commissioner who organized a neighborhood meeting last week. “This is basically becoming `apartment city.’ That’s just not the standard they proposed to the community.”


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