Snellville grabs final piece of property for new town center

Snellville residents are one step closer to having a downtown area.

The Gwinnett city with slightly more than 20,000 residents has officially acquired the former U.S. Post Office building on Oak Road, which will be demolished to make way for 250 multi-family luxury apartments and a 749-space parking deck later this year.

The property was the final piece needed to start construction on The Grove at Towne Center, a $100 million multi-use development that will sit on 18 acres between Oak Road, Wisteria Drive, North Road and Clower Street. The city started planning the de facto downtown area decades ago, said spokesman Brian Arrington.

A new post office opened on Wisteria Drive late last year. The costs associated with property acquisition and post office move totaled $2.25 million, about $98,000 under budget.

“In the months to come, residents will see a lot of activity in The Grove which will result in a transformation of our downtown and give them a world-class, mixed-use development they can enjoy and be proud of,” said Mayor Barbara Bender.

The city expects to begin demolition of some small buildings in the next few months, Arrington said. He foresees the project wrapping up by summer of 2022, with the city first building the parking deck and apartments, which will be the largest in the city.

The Grove at Towne Center will feature a two-story, 24,000-square-foot city market at its heart complete with a coffee shop, eateries and craft beverages. The town center will also include a greenway and new location for Snellville’s branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library with a business development and accelerator space on its second floor.

Snellville formed in 1923 at the intersection of Highways 124 and 78 without a central downtown found in other cities, Arrington said. The more than 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and entertainment space projected for the area will “provide a great place for people to meet, mingle and live,” he said.

Snellville isn’t the first Gwinnett city to establish a new downtown. Suwanee built its town center in 2003; Peachtree Corners started planning for a town center a year after it incorporated in 2012, completing it in 2019.