Henry to get $300 million upscale retail and residential project

A Huntsville, Alabama developer plans to build a $300 million retail and residential development complex in the heart of Henry County that is expected to fill a void of upscale amenities in the county and much of the southside.

The Jodeco Atlanta South project will include retail, a food hall, homes, hotels, an amphitheatre, a wetland preserve and outdoor fitness and recreation space. The development will be in the center of activity along the well-traveled I-75 corridor, which is undergoing a $221 million transformation to relieve the traffic-choked thoroughfare that is a main corridor to Florida.

The $221 million I-75 South Metro Express Lanes will be 12 miles of two new barrier-separated, reversible lanes within the I-75 median from McDonough Road to Stockbridge Highway. The lanes are set to open in the winter of 2017.

By then, some of Jodeco Atlanta South’s first tenants will have opened their doors.

The development will be situated on 160 acres on the southwest quadrant of I-75 and Jodeco Road off exit 222. It will have more than 500,000 square feet of local, regional and national retailers including an organic grocer. The 12,000 square-foot food hall known as Mt. Olive Market will feature local and regional chefs.

Plans also call for two upscale hotels and about 600 residences, some of which will be built over retail shops in the heart of the project. A 30-acre park will integrate a natural wetland preserve with multi-purpose lawns and an outdoor amphitheatre. Bike paths, a boardwalk bridge and other trails will encircle the wetlands and serve as a link throughout the community.

RCP Companies, a real estate firm that is building similar projects in Alabama and Tennessee, is building the Henry project. The development is among a number of projects announced on the southside in recent years. Henry landed a major coup when The Home Depot built and opened its supply-chain facility in Locust Grove in 2014. Just last week, another Alabama developer announced plans to build a $45 million senior care complex near Eagle's Landing Baptist Church in McDonough.

“We feel this is an emerging market. Our research found there’s a gap in some markets like Henry where a lot of attention’s been in north Atlanta,” Max Grelier, chief development officer at RCP Companies told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday.

“Henry has been more of a conventional market and some amenity-rich projects hadn’t made it to the southside. There’s a lot of retail but not a lot of amenities. Henry County has a strong demographic to support the offering of experience we’re doing in this project,” he said.

Grelier noted that research shows that within a five mile radius of the Jodeco Atlanta South project, annual retail spending is estimated to be $755 million which is about 46 percent of household spending in that area.

Henry with an estimated 212,000 people in 2013 is the eighth largest county in Georgia. The Atlanta Regional Commission has projected that by 2040 Henry will have the highest percent change in population among metro Atlanta counties, adding 239,000 residents and 64,000 new jobs since 2000.

Urban Design Association, an urban planning firm in Pittsburgh is the master architect for the development. Construction on Jodeco Atlanta South is set to begin later this year with the first tenants opening in 2017.

“Our intention is to craft a new, vibrant community that brings the energy of a high-density, urban design - as well as the options that a larger city might provide - to South Atlanta,” Grelier added.