Lawrenceville has big plans for land near Central Gwinnett High School

Lawrenceville acquired eight parcels of land near Central Gwinnett High School, some of which will be used for a major redevelopment project. (Courtesy City of Lawrenceville)

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Lawrenceville acquired eight parcels of land near Central Gwinnett High School, some of which will be used for a major redevelopment project. (Courtesy City of Lawrenceville)

Lawrenceville hopes to bring new homes near Central Gwinnett High School, though details of the major redevelopment are still to be determined.

City Council agreed Monday to spend nearly $17.6 million to acquire eight parcels located between West Crogan Street and Gwinnett Drive. Apartments and a few small stores currently sit on the approximately 7 acres to the east of the school, attended by more than 2,000 students.

Several of the properties, in conjunction with ones previously purchased by the city, will be used for a residential project known as the “Central Block,” said City Manager Chuck Warbington. The city transferred the properties that will make up the project to its Downtown Development Authority.

The city expects a developer to pitch plans for an owner-occupied residential development for the Central Block location before the end of the year, Warbington said. It will recoup the dollars spent on the acquisition once the developer purchases the properties, he said.

Officials embarked on tentative plans to change the character of the area about seven years ago, Warbington said, with a goal in mind to lower the density of the area and reduce crime. The city bought the Villa Lodge and Suites hotel on West Crogan Street and demolished it in 2020.

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The properties that will make up the Central Block residential development. Lawrenceville City Council transferred these land parcels to the city's Downtown Development Authority during a Monday meeting. (Courtesy City of Lawrenceville)

The properties that will make up the Central Block residential development. Lawrenceville City Council transferred these land parcels to the city's Downtown Development Authority during a Monday meeting. (Courtesy City of Lawrenceville)

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The properties that will make up the Central Block residential development. Lawrenceville City Council transferred these land parcels to the city's Downtown Development Authority during a Monday meeting. (Courtesy City of Lawrenceville)

Also on Monday, City Council adopted a five-year update to the city’s downtown master plan. The update focuses on land use, economic development, and mobility, connectivity and transportation improvements.

The plan will help the city prepare for future growth, targeting areas around the College Corridor, Paper Mill Road, Grayson Highway and Central Gwinnett High School as potential spots for downtown expansion and redevelopment.

The update includes four goals: foster a connected and safe multimodal environment, preserve Lawrenceville’s character, create a downtown for all ages, and expand retail, office and housing options.

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