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Gwinnett opens talks with developer on former Olympic Tennis venue

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The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on December 1 authorized negotiations with Fuqua Acquisitions II, LLC to develop a signature project on the site of the former Olympic Tennis Center in the County’s southern corridor off U.S. 78 along the border with DeKalb County.

After serving as the site of tennis competition in the 1996 Olympics, the center fell into disuse. Gwinnett County, seeing an opportunity to revitalize an area at one of the major gateways into Gwinnett, acquired the 26-acre site in 2016. To acquire the property, the County did a land swap with the tennis venue’s owners, Stone Mountain Memorial Association Board of Directors, exchanging a 35-acre tract bordering the existing golf course at Stone Mountain Park for the venue. The County demolished the tennis structures in 2018 in anticipation of redeveloping the property.

Fuqua Acquisitions envisions building multi-family units, a large grocery store, some outparcel structures and some Main Street-style stores and shops. County officials hope the project will be completed by the end of 2022. Details of the project will be firmed up during negotiations. Fuqua has developed such notable projects as Peachtree Corners Town Center and the retail portion of The Battery at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, and is currently developing The Exchange @ Gwinnett near the Mall of Georgia.

This is the first project in which the County acquired property to sell to a developer with attached conditions to stimulate growth in an area. The County first sent out Requests for Information to several firms to gauge the level of interest in the project. Of the six who responded, the County narrowed the list of firms and issued a Request for Proposals to three, but ultimately only two followed up with a more-specific proposal.

Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said that the project is part of an ongoing plan to cement Gwinnett’s reputation as an economic powerhouse in Georgia.

“This project will make a statement that Gwinnett is a strong supporter of economic development and a dynamic place to do business,” Nash said. “By controlling what goes on the property, the County can ensure the project meets the high standards expected by our residents and the business community and that it adds services needed by the community.”

Nash said she hoped the Olympic Tennis project would provide needed services to workers at the nearby Amazon project, which started independently, and that the two would serve as a catalyst to redevelop the area. Amazon recently completed construction for a 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility approximately a half-mile away that employs about 1,000 people.

The Olympic tennis site falls within the Evermore Community Improvement District. Evermore CID Executive Director Jim Brooks said the location near Stone Mountain Park and access to major roads will make it an attractive location for future tenants.

“The proposed use of the 1996 Olympic Tennis Center will be a tremendous addition to the growing interest in developing the CID,” Brooks said. “This development, along with the Amazon Fulfillment Center, will create the catalyst for upscale development within the district and spur future interest.”

Source: Press release from Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

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Peachtree Corners Deploys Cawamo’s Industry-First AI Camera Tech For COVID-19 Safety and Security

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Camawo sample of camera function capabilities from press release.

Peachtree Corners – the nation’s first smart city environment powered by real-world infrastructure and next-generation connectivity – announced the addition of revolutionary artificial intelligence-powered camera technology from Cawamo at City Hall – aimed at increasing public safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The international firm’s proprietary technology enables existing cameras to determine if someone is not wearing a mask or a group of people are not observing social
distancing guidelines, immediately alerting city personnel.

“As further reflection of our smart city leadership, our work with Cawamo to customize a COVID-19 monitoring system for City Hall shows how technology is helping to solve modern problems, while also prioritizing privacy,” said Brandon Branham, chief technology officer and assistant city manager of Peachtree Corners. “Our highest priority, and the aim of a smart city concept overall, is the safety and security of our residents and we firmly believe this technology will help us maintain important public safety protocols as we work to slow the spread of the virus. Allowing us to instantly convert existing cameras into smart cameras also shows promise for wider deployment across the city, in addition to within workplaces in the near future.”

Feature rich platform – combining artificial intelligence, cloud and edge computing

  • Accuracy: Combined onsite edge and cloud AI technologies work together to generate high-quality,accurate alerts with virtually zero false alerts
  • Universal: System can be installed on any existing camera or DVR/NVR
  • Privacy: Object detection done without facial recognition – no personal identifiable information used in COVID-19 monitoring
  • Cost-Savings for City Government: Cawamo offering municipalities free COVID-19 monitoring service with purchase of onsite equipment

“As the first cloud-edge video analytics company to develop mask and social distancing detection technology that connects with any existing security camera, we are thrilled to be helping the City of Peachtree Corners keep its citizens safe using the already-installed security cameras around the city,” said David Yakov, CEO of Cawamo. “Peachtree Corners is a premier smart city known around the globe for its dedication to the development of emerging smart city technologies, so it was a no-brainer for it to be the first city in the United States to deploy the technology. We are honored to be providing mask and social distancing monitoring for the city and hope we can expand our footprint and help other municipalities, businesses and organizations with the same level of protection.”

For more information or to schedule a briefing with city leadership, contact Judy Putnam, Communications Director at jputnam@peachtreecornersga.gov or 770-609-8821.

Source: City of Peachtree Corners and Curiosity Lab of Peachtree Corners Press Release

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Recognition for Advancement in Homeland Security Technologies, for Peachtree Corners company and others

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Liberty Defense Logo from their site.

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation is announcing awards for two collaborative projects totaling $1.5 million to develop advanced homeland security technologies in the areas of threat detection and 3D mapping. The BIRD Homeland Security (HLS) program is a joint initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security (MOPS).

“The BIRD HLS program gives us the opportunity to bring some of the best U.S. and Israeli technology companies together to address our broad homeland security needs,” said DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N. Bryan. “These strategic partnerships will develop innovative solutions that will enhance safety and security around the globe.”

The 2020 HLS awardees include:

  • Liberty Defense Technologies (Peachtree Corners, Georgia) and Levitection (Haifa, Israel) will develop a detection solution based on electromagnetic imaging and artificial intelligence to detect threats and concealed items in wide-open areas.
  • Hivemapper (Burlingame, California) and Ception Technologies (Jerusalem, Israel) will develop a fused air and ground 3D mapping system.

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said, “BIRD HLS attracts innovative American and Israeli companies and encourages synergistic partnerships to develop solutions that will fulfill critical homeland security needs in both countries. We look forward to continuing our work with DHS and the Israel Ministry of Public Security and to the next cycle in 2021.”

Since 2016, DHS S&T has partnered with the MOPS on the BIRD HLS program to seek solutions to advancing first responder technologies. This year’s call for proposals included six additional areas for U.S. and Israeli collaboration:

  • Cyber crime
  • Critical infrastructure and public facilities
  • Safe and secure cities
  • Border protection
  • Unmanned aerial systems
  • Advanced technologies for first responders

The BIRD Foundation is a unique U.S.-Israeli partnership that accelerates cooperation between U.S. and Israeli companies, academia and other research institutions in a wide range of technology sectors to foster strategic partnerships between companies in both countries for the purpose of joint product development.

DHS S&T focuses on providing the tools, technologies, and knowledge products the nation’s Homeland Security Enterprise needs today and tomorrow. 

Source: News Wise

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January 2021- Message from Mayor Mike Mason

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mayor mike mason

Looking Ahead to a New Year

2020 was tough. Who thought we would face a pandemic that virtually turned our lives upside
down? On one thing we all agree: we’re happy to say good riddance to 2020! The new year
brings us hope with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine. We eagerly await news from the
Georgia Department of Health on when and where the vaccines will be available and will pass
along that information as soon as we can.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, the City accomplished quite a bit in 2020. We continued our efforts to keep you safe with the addition of 25 video cameras with license plate readers (installation to be completed in the first quarter of this year). For pedestrian safety, a bridge that carries walkers, joggers, and cyclists over Peachtree Parkway (S.R. 141) opened last fall. The bridge is part of the Corners Connector trail system that, when complete, will connect residents to shops, restaurants, and businesses around an 11.5-mile multi-use trail. In August we opened a new section of the trail that skirts Technology Lake in Tech Park. The scenic path winds along the lake’s shore and will eventually encircle the entire lake.

On the business front, the city processed over 370 new business license applications in 2020. Additionally, CarMax announced an expansion last spring adding 200 additional positions at its location on Peachtree Parkway, and Soliant Health, a health care recruiting company, relocated to Tech Park bringing an additional 400 new jobs to our city.

In the fall, we were able to provide CARES Act funding to a number of small businesses that struggled to keep their doors open since the coronavirus struck. The city dispersed $2.66 million in small business assistance grants to 118 local businesses.

Additionally, at its December meeting, the council appointed board members to the city’s new
Redevelopment Authority, that will provide renewed focus on reinvigorating the Holcomb
Bridge corridor and other areas of the city. The Authority can plan, administer, and implement
redevelopment and community improvement projects, as well as aid in identifying and obtaining public funding for industrial, commercial, or residential improvements or expansion projects. The Authority brings new tools which, we hope, will bring developers interested in investing in this highly visible and important gateway of our city.

The Authority board is made up entirely of Peachtree Corners residents who have broad backgrounds such as attorneys, real estate professionals, educators, and engineers. The members come from all geographic areas of the city and include men and women of different races. Councilmember Phil Sadd and Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick will serve as ex-officio non-voting members.

Some of you have asked why much of the city’s initial redevelopment efforts began with the
Tech Park and Town Center area instead of the Holcomb Bridge corridor. With respect to Tech Park, it is important to understand its role as the economic driver for our city which supports the quality of life and high home property values we all appreciate. When the city was founded in 2012, however, some of its anchor businesses had relocated to newer technology parks in the surrounding metro area and the office vacancy rate was skyrocketing. By focusing our efforts on re-invigorating Tech Park, it re-established our city as the technology hub that Paul Duke envisioned some 40 years ago.

The development of Town Center is a similar story of necessity reprioritizing your best intentions. The city had only been established for about 10 months, when news that the 21-acre property across from The Forum was destined to be a 263-garden style apartment development. I can tell you, buying this land had not even been on our radar when the news came out that this undeveloped property in a prime location had been sold to an apartment developer. If we had not acted swiftly and purchased this tract, none of us would be strolling along the Town Center sidewalks to take in the shops, restaurants, and outdoor concerts we’ve all come to enjoy.

When we became a city just a little over eight years ago, our first thought was to focus on reinvigorating the Holcomb Bridge corridor. However, the situations we faced required us to redirect our efforts. Now with Tech Park and the Town Center well underway, we are now eager to take full advantage of the tools that our new Redevelopment Authority has at its disposal to identify residential, recreational, business, commercial and industrial areas that may benefit from reimagined uses which will enhance the quality of life for each of us who call Peachtree Corners home.

Happy New Year, wishing you a safe and healthy 2021
Mike Mason, Mayor

Source: City of Peachtree Corners

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