This file picture shows Coolray Field (right) and surrounding area along Buford Drive in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. In 2008, developer Brand Morgan announced plans for 351,000 square feet of retail space, 617,000 square feet of offices, 610 residential units and 300 hotel rooms to be built adjacent to the stadium on Buford Drive. Thus far, 658 apartments have been built.
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

You’ll be able to rent an apartment next to Coolray Field by next year

Construction has started on a 206-unit apartment complex next to Coolray Field in Gwinnett County.

The apartment complex, which will be 45 feet from the stadium’s outfield fence, is the first part of a Brand Properties mixed-use project called the Village at Coolray Field. The first units are expected to be available for rent by March 2015.

In 2008, developer Brand Morgan announced plans for 351,000 square feet of retail space, 617,000 square feet of offices, 610 residential units and 300 hotel rooms to be built adjacent to the stadium on Buford Drive.

Thus far, 658 apartments have been built. The restaurants, offices, shops and hotel rooms will come “as soon as the market is ready for it,” Brand Properties President Michael Hoath told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week.

When the Atlanta Braves moved their Triple-A affiliate to Lawrenceville in 2009, Gwinnett officials said Coolray Field would be the centerpiece of a residential and entertainment district.

But five years after it opened, Coolray Field still isn’t generating enough revenue to pay for itself, as county officials said it would. Amid a national recession, plans for development at the stadium for the most part have not materialized. And attendance at Gwinnett Braves games is among the worst in the International League.

With an average draw last year of 4,762 fans, Gwinnett ranked 13th out of 14 teams.

Hoath said he isn’t concerned about attendance levels or that competition from the planned Braves stadium in Cobb County will hamper the Gwinnett project.

“The Triple-A product that the Braves put out … has its own unique feel and atmosphere that we feel is a tremendous asset,” he said.

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