Senior living facility next to Coolray Field gets final go-ahead

Gwinnett County will refinance its debt on Coolray Field, saving up to $6.1 million. MATT KEMPNER / AJC

Gwinnett County will refinance its debt on Coolray Field, saving up to $6.1 million. MATT KEMPNER / AJC

An expansive senior living facility proposed next door to Coolray Field got the final go-ahead from Gwinnett County’s Board of Commissioners this week.

Like much of the property surrounding Coolray — the home of the Atlanta Braves' Triple-A affiliate — the 19-acre site had been in limbo since at least 2008, when dreams of major, economy-driving developments were first floated.

“I know it’s been a long, hard process to get here,” Chairman Charlotte Nash said after the board voted Tuesday night to approve the necessary rezoning proposals. “Congratulations.”

The Mansions Senior Living project will be tucked onto the property near the Lawrenceville intersection of Buford Drive and Old Peachtree Road, between the baseball stadium and the existing Publix shopping center. If all goes as planned, the land owned by the family of Garland Roberts since the 1940s will eventually hold an impressive mix of detached homes, townhomes, a four-story independent living facility and a two-story assisted living facility.

The idea is that folks 55 and older will have the chance to transition between different stages of life while staying in the same complex, developers have said. (Read the full rezoning application here.)

Tuesday’s approval by the Board of Commissioners marks an end to a long, drawn-out saga involving the property.

In 2008,  developer Brand Morgan announced plans to build a sprawling project — one with hotel rooms, homes, retail space and offices — to surround Coolray Field, buying 54 of the 73 acres required.

Hundreds of apartments have finally gone up in recent years, but Morgan never purchased the final 19 acres. That left Roberts in a tight spot, and he spent years trying to find someone else to buy the land and present a vision suitable to the county government.

No one spoke in opposition of the project during Tuesday’s meeting.

“I know that neighborhood over there pretty well, and they’re pretty active,” Commissioner Jace Brooks said to the attorney representing the proposed development. “If no one’s here [to present opposition], that says a lot about the work y’all have done.”

The Mansions at Gwinnett.

Credit: Gwinnett County Planning Commission documents

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Credit: Gwinnett County Planning Commission documents