It's no secret that Gwinnett County — and the 'burbs in general — have begun turning to Atlanta's intown neighborhoods for inspiration. "Mixed use," "walkability" and (cringe) "millenial" have become regular parts of the OTP development vernacular.
Now one Gwinnett city is drawing inspiration from popular Atlanta food/drink/gathering spots like Krog Street Market — and dreaming of its very own "city market" complex.
"We're trying to create, and establish, what Snellville will be for the next generation coming along," Eric Van Otteren, that city's economic development director, said Friday.
Everything is still in the very early stages, but Snellville officials hope to build such a market — complete with "retail market space, restaurants, bistros, outside dining and pedestrian space" — on an eight-acre property the city already owns on Wisteria Drive. There's also the possibility of relocating the city's existing Gwinnett County Public Library branch to the second floor of the complex.
The project was discussed during a crowded Wednesday night town hall meeting (which also discussed the pending creation of a "continuous flow intersection" at the busy intersection of Ga. 124 and U.S. 78). The market was "very well accepted as a concept," Van Otteren said.
A preliminary site plan was in the city's recent newsletter:
Development (and particularly restaurant development) is already booming in Snellville and the larger U.S. 78 corridor. New Zaxby's, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Cook Out, Cracker Barrel, Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q and Culver's locations have either already arrived or are under construction.
All of that, though, falls safely under the more traditional suburban motif.
The future of the more innovative city market project will depend on a lot of things, van Otteren said. Those include Gwinnett's upcoming vote on whether or not to extend a 1 percent sales tax for road and construction projects, discussions with the county and the library board and, of course, continued conversations with the Snellville community.
That said, it could all happen relatively quickly.
"It's kind of the dream of some of the elected officials that we would turn dirt sometime in ," Van Otteren said. "... We've got a lot to do, but we want to get it done."