The mayors of Peachtree Corners, Norcross and Berkeley Lake shared their thoughts on improving the communities with American Rescue Plan money
A trio of Southwest Gwinnett County mayors talked about several aspects and impacts of the COVID crisis during a recent panel discussion, including how they were looking at spending money allocated to their cities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
They also focused on challenges and changes emerging from the pandemic.
Mayors Mike Mason of Peachtree Corners, Craig Newton of Norcross and Lois Salter of Berkeley Lake fielded questions during a First Friday breakfast event hosted by the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber.
Plans for the cities
Mason outlined how his city created a mechanism to support small businesses with grants after Gwinnett cities received federal money under the earlier CARES act. Each qualified applicant received an allocation. He noted that in addition to the grants, air filtration and other protective equipment were also tacked on at city hall.
“With the ARPA money, we’ll do more of the same,” he said. Mason also said that plans are in the works to use some of the money to beef up broadband service in what are considered underserved areas of the city. He said some may doubt that a problem exists, but that it does.
“We learned during the pandemic that kids couldn’t get schooling from home, because if someone was in the living room watching TV, there wasn’t enough broadcast left for the kid in his room. If we can fix that, we’re probably going to try to do that.”
In contrast, Berkeley Lake Mayor Salter said that after spending considerable CARES money on sanitizing efforts and an air filtration system for city hall, they planned to go a different route under ARPA, using the federal funds mainly for stormwater infrastructure work. She said that with the city having no stormwater fee and with a preponderance of trees and hills, stormwater costs have been significant.
Norcross Mayor Newton was less definitive than his counterparts, outlining that the city has created a 12-member advisory group to make recommendations to the mayor and council on how to allocate funds. “So, we took the easy route. We turned it over to the citizens to help us decide how to spend some of this money,” he said.
Post-pandemic issues to consider
Addressing a related issue, Newton told the chamber audience that “we are not quite out of the woods yet on COVID,” contending that while declining case numbers and reopening businesses show that the vaccine is working, Georgia, as a state with a low vaccination rate, could be vulnerable to surges.
All three mayors agreed that the pandemic has been a long-term game-changer.
Several trends are important to consider in that regard, said Mason. He called for a show of hands and got a considerable response when he asked, “How many people are still working from home instead of going back to the office? That’s a trend.”
Also, residents continue to order more goods online, in his view, and he spoke about challenges in the hospitality sector, noting that Peachtree Corners has more hotel rooms than any other city in the county.
Mason said that with such mechanisms as Amazon readily available, people are reluctant to get into their cars unless a business is close by. To that end, he floated the idea of putting such residences as townhomes and apartments in closer proximity to commercial areas.
Newton noted that while businesses are optimistic about the long run, labor shortages and supply chain issues remain challenges in the foreground. Salter took a tack similar to Mason’s, saying that “it’s online everything” with resulting changes in the retail landscape and with jumping on a plane at Hartsfield to go out of town is giving way to a plethora of Zoom meetings.
Attracting and keeping residents a concern
The topics of affordable housing and of serving new residents while working to hang onto existing ones also came in for discussion. “As people begin to retire, you have to be ready to replace those retirees with a new generation,” said Newton. He added that recruiting qualified people leads to an expanded and better qualified workforce, which he said attracts more business and which, nowadays, is a more important factor than location.
In one tactic, he said the city of Norcross has positioned itself to attract more younger residents by hiring an events coordinator to focus on new entertainment and event programming. He also said that the city has joined forces with a state-sponsored program called the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing. The group has come up with some potential affordable housing solutions for Norcross to be discussed in the near future, according to the mayor.
Mason took Newton’s talk of replacing those leaving the work force with a new generation one step further, arguing for retaining retirees and their disposable income. “Do we really want to lose them to, say, Florida?” he asked. “No, you want to keep them in your city. And they want to stay. If you don’t keep retiring citizens in your city, you’re done for.”
The Peachtree Corners mayor touted adaptive reuse of existing buildings as the best solution for providing more affordable housing overall, and said news of such a project may be on the horizon. Tearing down and replacing aging apartment complexes on the city’s south side has been talked about, but Mason indicated the numbers may not work for developers.
Pointing out that her city is essentially built out, Salter said they have attracted a number of new residents nonetheless, with people tearing down existing bungalows and putting up larger residences. She said city efforts have centered around such events as July 4th programming and in providing a children’s park and other kids’ activities to bring residents together.
Leaders discuss cities’ goals
She struck a similar tone when the mayors were queried about their goals. “My goal is to preserve the cohesiveness that I think has come under somewhat of a challenge this past year with what we’ve seen in our larger political culture,” said Salter. “People are seeming more cranky with each other, for lack of a better word. It’s made me sad and concerned.”
She added that “it’s such a small town and we know each other well so I think the mayor has a little more ability to point people in a direction.”
Mason put weight on continuing “sense of place” producing efforts in the young city. He also pushed improving amenities such as walking trails, which not only can improve residents’ health but add value to homes as well, he said. He added the city also needs to continue working on both economic development and redevelopment of aging structures and that a number of alternative redevelopment strategies are being weighed.
“It’s not a simple question,” was Newton’s initial reply.
He said he’s focused on increasing economic vitality and quality of life by protecting the city’s downtown and expanded city center, which would include redevelopment and expansion to the east across Buford Highway. He said two other goals involve increasing public safety through improved technology and maintaining the sustainability of parks, historic structures and natural resources.
In considering all those initiatives, indicated his counterpart in Peachtree Corners, it’s important to remember that their impacts can easily stretch across city borders. “Craig and I say it to each other all the time,” said Mike Mason. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
V2X Mobility, Path to Fitness and Getting Back to Work, with Alex Wright
In this episode of Peachtree Corners Life, Rico talks with Councilmember Alex Wright about new programs coming from Curiosity Lab, economic advancements in the city, plus the October V2X Conference, the expansion of the Path to Fitness trail, and additional improvements to Town Center.
City Website: Alex Wright
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:12] – Coming back to work after COVID
[00:06:38] – Government Work Post COVID
[00:10:20] – V2X Conference
[00:13:22] – Autonomous Vehicle Usage
[00:21:14] – Fitness Trail Updates
[00:26:55] – Creating Anchors
[00:41:48] – Closing
“I think that (companies) realize they’re not going to be going back to what it was with everyone there five days a week, no exceptions. But I also think that, with some exceptions, that being remote, like all the time… maybe that’s not the best model either, because I think you do need the human contact on some level too…So I think there’ll be some kind of mix. Each company will figure out what works for them.”Alex Wright
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life. Glad that you’re able to join us. We have a special guest today. But before we get to Alex, I’m gonna just want to say thank you to our listeners for being out there. This is brought to you by Peachtree Corners Magazine and we are moving on to a full schedule where we should be posting every week a new podcast. Of different interviews with different people of different parts of the city. But today we have the city council member with us. We have Alex Wright of district three. Who’s been a city council member since 2012, actually. So let’s bring Alex on, let’s bring him right in here. Hey, Alex. How are you?
Alex: [00:01:10] I’m good. Good afternoon.
Rico: [00:01:12] Yeah. Good to have you here. So we’re recording this on a Wednesday afternoon. This is going to be simulcast live on Facebook and YouTube in a few days. So I’m glad that you’re going to be with us and we’re going to be talking over the next half hour about things going on in the city, things that are near and dear to your heart, and being able to be able to talk about experiences you’ve had and some new things going on in the city. So I’m glad to have you with us. So the first thing you know, I have to ask you because it’s been a long time since I’ve had you on and we’ve gone through COVID. I know you worked for a major corporation, a consumer corporation out there. You know, how has it been being able to transition now? Being that people are coming back to work to a degree. There’s some hybrid stuff going on. There’s still some remote stuff going on. Quite a bit of that, actually. And if I listened to the recruiters. It sounds like no one wants to go back to work and no one wants to, I should go back into the office to work. They all want to be remote. And so how are you finding it out there? Corporate and government wise working?
Alex: [00:02:18] I think our company, like probably most companies are kind of feeling their way about where they want to end up. I think that they realize they’re not going to be going back to what it was with everyone there five days a week, no exceptions. But I also think that with some exceptions that being remote, like all the time. And there’s exceptions to that that maybe that’s not the best model either, because I think you do need the human contact on some level to, you know, especially for if you’re bringing on new employees. You know, how do you integrate them into the culture of your company? How do you bond with them, which you can do it remotely. It’s just, I don’t think as effective. So I think we’re no different than pretty much any organization. Just trying to figure that out. There was an article recently, in the wall street journal about two of the big investment banks there. That were going back, you know, just like we were before. And the article was talking about how some of their competitors are looking at that as an opportunity to steal some of their workers away.
Rico: [00:03:24] Right.
Alex: [00:03:24] And I do think that I’ve recently hired someone a few months ago and probably like in their late twenties, early thirties, like one I interviewed was about that age. And that was a consistent question I got was what is going to be your new normal. And I do think that that will become something people will look at. When they’re, you know, they got the salary, they got the location and all the different things. That’ll be something that they’ll compare with. And I think if you’re a company that says we’re going be old school, you will probably have to pay some type of premium to get people to do that because it is a, I mean, my office is over in the Braves stadium when I used to have to commute over the top end every day. And that was a quality of life issue. And not having to do that, you get two hours of your day back that you can, maybe you’re not working those full two hours, but you’re definitely working some of that. So the company to a certain extent is getting more production and there’s plenty of evidence that shows that that’s the case. So I think there’ll be some kind of mix. Each company will figure out what works for them.
Rico: [00:04:33] That’s interesting. I was listening to that wall street journal podcast, actually, that article. And they were talking about, I think it was Chase and Morgan Stanley where they said, no, we want people in because even though they learn all this stuff in college, they really are reeducated when they get into that environment of trade investment and all that stuff, investment banking. I guess, because they want to teach them trade secrets you really can’t learn over Zoom. Because you don’t want people to recording those things, maybe, I don’t know. But it’s kind of interesting how they frame it. Like you said, that you have to, some jobs need to be done, I guess, to degree in person. But most jobs I think people are finding out just as easily doing it remotely and actually better. You know, you save two hours of transit. You’re probably more enthusiastic about your job then you would be a few traveled an hour to get and then leaving late or something.
Alex: [00:05:28] Yeah. When I did have to start going back a little bit in April, you know, I sit there. Because when I would go back, there was no one at the office. It was just a handful of people there. And I thought to myself, you know, spent this time getting ready in the morning, driving, you know, and then I’ll sit there in my office by myself to a certain extent. I’m thinking this really doesn’t make any sense. It kind of brought home like the insanity of, you know, of doing that every day. But like I said, I do think that you need some, you know, some level of, I mean, just think about what we’re like in my job, you know, we go and visit different sites with people at factories and whatnot a few times a year. And one of the main reasons you’re doing it is just to kind of establish that, you know, that human bond with people. So I do think you need that. But like this whole collaboration idea where you’ve had offices, okay, we’re going to have this open concept and everyone’s going to sit together, do one of those offices. And then you find out that the studies say, well, actually people are less collaborative because they’re sitting there at these long desks with earbuds in and because everyone’s getting on each other’s nerves. So I do think there’s a balance there.
Rico: [00:06:38] Yeah, that makes sense. I agree with you. And obviously to come in during COVID that was never. It’s not even a good idea anymore, right? Being everyone out in the open like that. So yeah. And certain jobs like a judge Tracie Cason on my last podcast talked about how, as a judge, they did do video, a lot of video. But she said, really, you want to be able to see that person and interact with them in an in-person fashion because otherwise the other way around, it’s just too cold. And I’m sure the judgment day will be different by doing it that way. But so working with government though, because know, you have the private side and now you have the government side. How has that been, being able to do city council meeting work sessions? How has that worked out?
Alex: [00:07:30] Yeah, I would say in that case, so last night we had a work session and it was the first time we were back in the, I can’t remember the name of the room, but it’s you know, we’re real close together. Prior to that we had been either remote or in this big open space and you know sitting 20 feet apart. And I would say, because think about like with the council, there’s seven people. And especially at work sessions, it’s kind of a free flowing conversation. And I did find when we were remote or even when it was spread out, it’s much more, the conversation would just not go as well. It’s not like people were arguing, but it just didn’t have that natural flow to it because either you couldn’t see the person or maybe someone’s screen wasn’t working and, you know, sometimes it’s just that, you know, just the facial expressions. So I would say when you’ve got a situation where you’ve got to, think about even in a zoom call, normally you’ve got somebody leading the meeting and everyone’s just kind of listening. It’s not a, seven people talking potentially talking at the same time. So I think that for that particular scenario, it helps to be in person and close together. And that was the kind of feedback we were hearing last night that, you know, the mayor made several comments about how happy he was that we were all back together in that more intimate environment. And I would agree with that.
Rico: [00:08:54] Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, I’ve been on zoom calls where there’s 12 or 10. 10 to 12 people, and it’s impossible to really get a sense of a room if you will, when you’re all in different rooms. And you can’t even read the room, if you will, of what’s going on and how to interact with people. Yeah. It’s, that’s a tough thing to be able to do that. I don’t know how the Congress has done that when they’ve done those zoom meetings for like CSPAN meetings and stuff. It’s just, yeah, that’s a tough thing. So are you all glad that you’re back? I guess, are you all you know, I mean everyone’s either vaccinated or masked or whatever? I mean, actually I don’t, I don’t think the city buildings need to, I don’t think you guys need to have masks. That was removed.
Alex: [00:09:42] I believe that the policy is, if you have not been vaccinated that you’re encouraged to wear a mask, but it’s not mandatory. And that’s what I’ve seen. Or like in my regular job, same kind of thing. Like if you, same rules. It’s like, if you haven’t been vaccinated, you know, we’re encouraged to wear a mask, but otherwise you know, it’s kind of back to normal. And that’s what I think everyone on the council has been vaccinated. Maybe one person hasn’t, I can’t remember, we don’t really talk about it. But last night there was nobody, nobody on the council was wearing a mask. There was a few people in the audience but very much kind of back to normal.
Rico: [00:10:20] Cool. So let’s jump into some of the other things going on in the city. I know, you know, obviously Curiosity Lab has been gaining some more momentum now. I think there’s things going on there. So give us a little bit of background, what’s been happening the last few months.
Alex: [00:10:35] So just to kind of give a little context because I was prepping for this call, you know, cause we got kind of a regular job and that kind of thing. And it was almost like, you know, when we created this thing a few years ago, and then the staff took the idea and breathed life into it and started doing a lot of really amazing things with it. It’s like an analogy might be, you’ve got this kid who lives at your house and then the kid leaves and goes off to college and then goes into their career. You kind of know what’s going on, but you don’t know, you don’t know all the particulars of all the details until they come home and visit you and say, Hey, this is what I’ve been doing. That’s almost like what’s going on. Where, so I’m just going to tell you some of the things I do know, and I suspect there’s a lot more out there that I’m just not tuned into. But a couple of big things and that you’re probably familiar with some of these. You know, there’s a conference coming up in October V2X, which is a really big deal. It’s going to be in three sites across the planet. Silicon valley, I can’t remember the exact city, Frankfurt Germany, and then Peachtree Corners. And it’s going to be, you know, headquartered out of Curiosity Lab, but obviously the two major hotels will be involved. And we’re going to be bringing in some autonomous vehicles actually before the conference. Because that’s kind of what the whole thing is about is you know, integrating vehicles, other types of technology where you’re able to move around autonomously. So obviously having those vehicles there will be a need. But I think as a minimum, the minimum goal, but they’re expecting at a minimum 500 out of town guests, maybe up to a thousand. And that will be the 19th to the 21st of October. So they just told us a few weeks ago about this, but it’s a pretty big deal to get picked. If you think about, you know, who the other two locations are, you know, to be in the same sentence with those two. I don’t know I mean, I’ve been to Frankfurt, Germany. I don’t know how big of a tech center it is in Europe, but it’s obviously a major city in Europe for no doubt, definitely from a financial standpoint. So that’s a really big deal. That’s the first time we’ve had a conference. Because if you think about Curiosity Lab, we launched it September, 2019. And then four or five months later, bam, you know, the world stops. So the momentum we had going, you know, we had the Olli out there. Had to pull that because who’s gonna ride it?
Rico: [00:13:13] Right. And that was after I think the Smart City Expo also in September, I think, or June of that year.
Alex: [00:13:22] Yeah. So that’s the big thing on the horizon in three months. And I’ve made a couple of notes here. And one of the things that I think is going to be interesting about this conference is that, and some of this is kind of inside baseball, but, you know, normally you go to these things and you’ll have an initial big meeting and then they’ll have the breakout sessions. And then the breakout session ends and everyone just kind of trickles away. So we’re going to turn that model on its head, where they’re going to start out the day in these breakout sessions. And then they’re going to end the day at the Town Green, like with a big kind of get together. Which I think will be very conducive for, not lobbying, but just networking. And that’s a great venue for that. Because part of this is an economic development play, I mean Curiosity Lab was. And so to take it to, what I would argue is probably one of our two biggest achievements since we’ve become a city. You know, Curiosity Lab, and then the Town Center. You know, taking that, all those people are from out of town. They were just going to drop you off here, you know, 500, 1000 people. I thought that was a pretty good idea to switch, which set up. So you’ve already got them there and they’re just gonna hopefully stay and spend some money.
Rico: [00:14:39] Yeah. I mean that, that’s the whole idea of having conferences and conventions, right? Drawing economic, drawing money to the towns that are doing it. Yeah it makes a lot of sense.
Alex: [00:14:49] So yeah, last night at the work session. So we were talking a little bit about this, but they’re going to have two companies that are going to be coming in. And I think this is going to happen before the conference. Three different autonomous vehicles, similar to Olli, but two different companies that are going to be coming and testing. And then I think even during the conference, there’s going to be more than just three vehicles because you know what I had said all along was for people to be willing to get on one of these things and travel, it’s gotta be a viable option to getting in your car. Which means it’s gotta come by more often, every 10 minutes. Otherwise people would say, well, what’s the point? So I do think they’re going to try to have, I’ve heard as many as 8 to 10 running on the track. You know, so think about you get out of a breakout session at Curiosity Lab, Hey, let’s go to Andrew B or let’s go back to our hotel. And everything’s kind of right there, or Kettle Rock, which is on the other end. So that was some of the announcement last night. And another interesting announcement, and this is the part I’m really excited about was so we’re in the process or the staff’s in the process of negotiating an IGA. An Intergovernmental Agreement with the state DOT. Which would allow the autonomous vehicles to travel up to the Town Center from Curiosity Lab. Because the reason we’re able to do what we’re able to do now is the city controls that road. So we didn’t have to negotiate with anyone about rights to do that. But as soon as…
Rico: [00:16:28] Technology Parkway road?
Alex: [00:16:31] Yes, Technology that’s right. But you know, the minute you drive off the Technology Parkway, say out to Spalding, or 141, you’ve got to get permission. So what they’re talking about doing is using that very wide sidewalk along the 141 as a conduit to get down to the town center. Which, what a lot of people don’t know is the origins of the whole project. When we were initially this whole thing came up, it was really about a mobility initiative of, this was before the virus of course, we can’t control people driving through Peachtree Corners, but we can potentially make it easier to get around Peachtree Corners. And so that was kind of the initial idea is, you know, how do we, you know, do that? And I’m glad that they went the direction they did. Because one of the things I’d have been worried about is this thing would have turned into like the shuttle down in Atlanta where no one rides it and it’s like, okay, you’re wasting your money. So this turned out to be a much, you know, the staff made a much better decision to go this route. But you know, the goal, well one of the goals remains, you know, how do we make it easier to get around Peachtree Corners? How do we take people out of their cars if they want to of course and give them this other option to get around?
Rico: [00:17:53] So are you saying the DOT. So what Peachtree Parkway I think most people know it’s a state highway, state parkway. So it’s the state handles all that, the DOT. So you’re, the city is looking to get permission, not to drive on Peachtree Parkway but to have a mobility vehicle riding along that wide asphalt path. That’s like almost a wide sidewalk that goes along 141.
Alex: [00:18:18] That’s correct. So that’s still falls within the states right of way. So they ultimately control that as well. But I think, I’m just speculating here, but if I’m the DOT I’m thinking, okay, this was a good way to kind of test this concept out without getting an action on the road where something bad could happen.
Rico: [00:18:38] So does that, now I’m trying to figure out, trying to remember about, if that goes straight. I know that that goes past Wesleyan and continues on past where Lidl is? The shopping center over there.
Alex: [00:18:50] You’re talking about the really wide sidewalk? I mean, it goes up you know, cause they just, they just finished connecting it and after they built the bridge. That was the, initially there was no sidewalk there. Well that now finished that out and then it’s just as wide. So you could, I mean, you, if this became more permanent, obviously you’d need to do something other than just have the sidewalk. I don’t know what that looks like. But just the fact that the DOT is willing to talk to us now. Like it’s that’s a really big deal.
Rico: [00:19:19] Wow. Okay. That would be, I mean, that would certainly extend the use of vehicles like that outside that, that area, that 1.4 mile track.
Alex: [00:19:30] Yeah. I mean, because ultimately, if you’re just, you know, you’re just going about your day to day, you know life people say, well, you spent all this money on Curiosity Lab, what’s it doing for me? Or you know, I don’t see anything going on there. I mean, the reality is there’s a lot of testing going on that, none of us see. But I think it is important that we have vehicles out there. Because ultimately what people are interested in is, well, how am I benefiting from this? My, you know, my day-to-day existence. That’s just human nature. So when you, when you can put something out there where people are like, well, I might actually be able to use this and improve my day somehow. They get more supportive of it.
Rico: [00:20:11] Now I can see us getting to the point where we have 5g throughout the city. And having that throughout the city because we’re small enough that I think the city can do it as an infrastructure plan, right? To be able to build 5g technology. So then that’s what autonomous vehicles need right? The 5g to be able to speak to everything. To be able to do that means that these vehicles don’t have to be, then they could just be right on the road with the rest of us eventually. You know, maybe that’s 10 years from now, but I can see that happening. Yeah, that’s cool. I can’t wait for that.
Alex: [00:20:45] Like I said, that was news that we just got last night. And like I said, I’m particularly excited because that is part of the, like I said the origin story of the whole project. So to see that that’s still, we’re still pursuing that. Because I think ultimately the public would probably be more interested in that than all the kind of cool research that’s coming out because they’re like, well, that’s not, that’s not doing anything for me there. At least that’s tangible.
Rico: [00:21:14] Right. No, and I get that. Although, you know, part of that builds on, everything builds on itself. So, but I do get that. And I do, you know, as someone that lives here in the city and is active in the city also, I can’t wait for that part to be a daily part of people’s lives. You know where, you know, maybe there is a, where we have our own transportation system within the city that people can just loop through to get to different areas of the city. To get to different retail parts, hotel, to retail, to restaurants. That’d be cool, right? Yeah. So now, if we’re talking about town center and getting there, there’s all sorts of things going on. Let’s touch upon that a little bit about town center. You know, there’s quite a few things coming there. Peachtree Corners Festival is going to be there this summer for the first time. Do you want to share, is there, you know, I know you’ve been active in the fitness trail. I think that we call it right. Getting that built out and I was there just the other day and I noticed a few, I think, one new. I don’t know, there’s a couple of new things. I hadn’t been there in a while. So then I saw that it expanded a little bit. It looked like. So maybe you want to tell us a little bit about that.
Alex: [00:22:22] Yeah. So I think the official name they came up with is a Path to Fitness, which is kind of a neat, you know, play on words. But for the people who are, I’m always kind of interested when. People email me or I’ll bump into them. Like, I didn’t even know it was there. You know, there was the Town Green, cause it’s kind of in the woods and you don’t necessarily notice it. But you know, for the listeners who aren’t that familiar, coming into the Town Green, you know, there’s a series of woods there. There’s actually a path through the woods that they had cut for the first few concerts for people to get from another parking lot. And then we you know, put some obstacles on there. It’s kinda like an obstacle course, really. So there’s 10 different obstacles on there. There’s monkey bars, wall climb, rope climb, all kind of stuff. And one of the things that I found interesting is a lot of times when I’m over there, you know, just kind of out for a walk, that when I say young people, I’m not talking just teenagers. But you’ll have like kids 8, 10. It’s like, they want to go play where the big people are. Like, it’s kind of got a cool factor to it if you will. So to your question about what’s coming next. So a couple of things. One, you know, there is a playground on the Green, not a full playground, but there’s a couple of things you can do. They’ve got the hill with a slide and they’ve got a couple of climbing devices. And what we’ve seen is that those are often just over swarming with kids, which is great. That’s what we want. But they need some more things to do. And so we’re actually going to build another playground kind of catty-corner to that. So if you’re facing the Cinebistro where the stage is, and you look to the left. We’re going to take some of that area in the woods and put some new things in there that’s still TBD. And actually the city manager and I are actually meeting Friday morning with a, I guess, a consultant for lack of better word, to help. I mean we kind of have an idea of what we want, but this person kind of helps you envision it. But what we’re hoping is that will start after the concerts in this fall and that maybe we’ll have it done by year end. So that will be an additional playground area. In addition to that, on the actual, on the Path to Fitness, we’re going to be adding four new obstacles that hopefully will be in by September. So that’s going to be…
Rico: [00:24:52] So the fit, so the other part, the kids part though, I understood, that maybe it’s slightly older kids? Like middle school age. So it won’t be like small scale stuff it’ll be a little bit more challenging for like middle-schoolers.
Alex: [00:25:08] Yeah. So you’re not going to have like a two or three-year-old on it. But you know, I sit there and I was just telling you by the kind of the fitness trail, which is really designed for adults and how like little kids are going to get on it. So I suspect that you’ll have kids from, you know, six up. You know, but we want it to be kind of challenging enough where. You know, maybe some of the kids that are out on the fitness trail will also use that. Cause it really almost gets too crowded sometimes, there’s so many people. Which is a good, you know, that’s a good problem to have. So that’s why we wanted to put even more amenities in there. You know, cause you’ve always got, I mean, I have four kids. I don’t know how many times my wife tells me, you know, get off the computer, you know, go do something. So when you see all those kids out there, that’s a great thing, they’re running around exercising. We want to encourage that and add more things. So hopefully all that will be done later this year.
Rico: [00:25:58] Cool. And the four things that, because I interrupted you, sorry. The four things that you were saying to the Path of Fitness trail, what are the four other items you’re adding there?
Alex: [00:26:07] So one of them will be like think about like rings, you know, like you’re up in the air, like grabbing rings, you’re going from ring the ring. So there’ll be one of those. Two other kind of like what climbing, imagine like a wall that’s an inverse wall where you’re climbing like up like this. So a couple of different devices like that. So a lot of them…
Rico: [00:26:32] Like almost rock climbing type of thing?
Alex: [00:26:34] Yeah, a little bit like that. But like I said, it is more of an obstacle course type stuff. And I’ve been amazed like how much kids. Like, you’ll see kids climb on this rope, you know, it’s a 20 foot high rope and I never could climb a rope when I was, you know, 8 or 10. So that’s been, some people with some skills out there for sure.
Rico: [00:26:55] That’s true. Almost scary to see them do that. Cool. So there’s a lot of, that’s great that the city is looking to do that, to utilize that space. When I was out there just the other day. I think it was a few days ago, actually, I was walking out there early morning. And I’m seeing more of the town, the townhouses being built that surrounds there. I’m almost feeling like everything looks a little smaller. Almost felt like the veterans Memorial looked a little smaller than I remembered it from a year ago let’s say. And I guess part of that is because you’ve got the town houses closer in now.
Alex: [00:27:27] Yeah, no, I know what you’re talking about. Once they got right up on top of it’s the same kind of vibe. But you know, one of the things like from the beginning, what we wanted to create was kind of an intimate feeling, if you will. Like we went up to Suwanee to talk to them, to, you know, kind of lessons learned. And, you know, they’ve got a beautiful facility up there. But one of the things that’s a kind of a downside for them is they’ve got two major roads that borders their Town Green, and it’s pretty extensive. I think there’s is like seven acres, the green.
Rico: [00:28:07] It’s fairly big. It’s bigger than ours. Yeah.
Alex: [00:28:09] And ours is about two acres. And what we wanted, one of the things we wanted to do is be able to you know parents can come. They’ve got their little kids and not that a two or three-year-old old, can’t still run off. But you know, if you’re able to sit there and sit in one of those green rocking chairs and your kid’s just out there in the green, running around. It’s a lot easier to keep an eye on them, not worried about them getting run over because there’s literally, you’ve got to really work to get near a car.
Rico: [00:28:40] That’s for sure. Yeah. No, they would really have to get right off and a parent would not be paying attention at all for them to get lost then.
Alex: [00:28:48] Yeah. And speaking of the townhouses, that was one of the things that when we went to Suwannee, it was kind of, they had an interesting concept. They called it the beach concept and what they meant by that was, they said, build the beach first. And what they meant was build the town green first, that’s the beach. And then the people who want to live at the beach. You know, certain people like living at the beach, some people don’t. They will then kind of know what they’re getting in for like, okay, we’re going to buy one of these townhomes it’s on the green. There’s going to be noise. And we want that. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping because you know, if you spend $700,000 and you get right there on the green. I’m hoping that those, whoever those people are don’t call us to say, Hey, there’s a lot of noise.
Rico: [00:29:35] You know, I asked someone about that that was looking to downsize. And I said, and they were about the same price range, I guess they were downsizing too if you will, from a big house to like a townhouse. And I said, why don’t you look at one of those that’s on the green? Because if you’re out on your porch, you can be sipping on a bourbon and watching the concert playing across the way.
Alex: [00:29:57] That’ right.
Rico: [00:29:58] And they were like, nah, that’d be too much noise. Now, of course, they’re looking to retire. They were like heading into their sixties and stuff. So everyone has a different feel about it, right? I wouldn’t mind that because, I mean, obviously the concert’s over by 10, 10:30, 11. Usually, I mean, that’s, it just depends on the individual, I guess.
Alex: [00:30:21] Yeah. I mean, it’s you know, yeah. They’re normally over by 10. Well, there’s 10 of them a year. Yeah, it just depends on the person, you know. It’s like, I wouldn’t want to be necessarily right on the green, but if you think about living in those townhomes, you can walk to restaurants, you can walk to a grocery store, you can walk over the bridge to a dentist office, to a doctor’s office. I don’t go to movies much, but if you wanted to go to a movie. I mean, literally just about anything you want, you could could walk to. So it’s, and you’re seeing this across the country. You’re seeing it across Gwinnett county where people wanna live in these kind of denser downtowns, if you will, that walkability. That’s really what we were trying to create.
Rico: [00:31:06] Yeah. It’s interesting how people can be lazy in a way. Because you know, the parking let’s say at the forum, the parking in the middle near the retail, everyone wants to go there. But parking away from it, that’s the last place you want to park because then you’ve got to walk, right? So like you’re saying I mean, if you live on the green, if you’re living in one of those townhouses, you can walk to anything within minutes. It’ll be interesting to see when that if Roberts, Charlie Roberts ends up putting up, I don’t think a hotel will go up because at this point, I mean, that’s one of those things that may not happen, right? But 160 apartment complex, seven stories overlooking town center. I don’t know if most people know it would be behind the Chase Bank. That open air that’s been knocked right out. But that could be interesting, 160 families you know, going out onto the town green getting to the movies, eating and stuff. Those are apartments, you know. I mean, it could be interesting. A lot more density, like you said. So are you also, you know, with all this trail stuff, and I know one of the things you were thinking about it was maybe, you know, with Peachtree Corners Festival coming in September to the town green and outside the roads actually. Because I think part of the Peachtree Corner Circle road is going to be taken up by the festival if I understand correctly. So more events are going to be happening at town center and in this area. Bigger events like this. One of the things you were talking about you know, at one point before we started this was possibly a competition, maybe something similar to a decathlon or some sort of fitness competition that maybe could happen at town green, maybe backing up using that path of fitness. I mean, so there’s all sorts of things that the city can still draw upon, right? Events and such.
Alex: [00:32:53] Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I kind of view, this is just a term I came up with, but, you know, creating anchors. What I mean by those, things that people want to live near. I mean, often you have natural anchors. People want to live near water, you know, whether it be a river or lake. You know, so in the case of Peachtree Corners, that would be our anchors as the Chattahoochee river. Like I live right near Berkeley lake. That’s an anchor Wesleyan, my kids don’t go there, but I know there’s people who move here to be close to that school. Tech Park, you know, that’s an anchor. So anytime, and I would argue that Curiosity Lab is an anchor where we’ve had companies relocate just to be near it. And so the town center is a new anchor. I would argue that the green itself is more important than the town center. In that if you go to the town center, on a Sunday or a Saturday afternoon, there’s literally hundreds of people. They’re just hanging out loitering, relaxing. You go across the street to the forum. There’s no, you know, there’s nowhere to do that. I mean, people want to have that. And it was interesting when we were initially going through this with a developer, they had no interest in green space. Because, you know, they couldn’t quantify, they couldn’t monetize it. So they didn’t want to do it. And that’s one of the reasons why the city ended up owning a bunch of it, because that was the only way to make the numbers work. Where, you know, we weren’t worried about making money per se, off of the green. And I think what maybe the developers are starting to see is people will pay, you know, people are paying $700,000 to live on that green because they want to be near the action. And, you know, hopefully what we’ll see maybe across the street at the forum is that they’ll kind of pick up on that and say, we need something that will, you know, an activation area that people want to hang out. I mean, the forum’s a neat place. There’s just nowhere to hang out. Except looking at a parking lot.
Rico: [00:34:54] Yeah, no, I totally agree. I think I had this conversation with Brian Johnson at one point where I, where my feeling is the way things are going, for example, there’s about 13 retail shops that are closed there. I counted that last weekend. And I think Pooch and Paws actually is closed now. So that’s, that was up there too. So that may make it 14 now that are closed retail locations in that shopping center that are closed. I can see some part of that property, whether it’s the office building that’s on the Northern side of that property, or maybe the Southern side where you know, a seven story apartment, condo complex, maybe an equity owned property would make sense versus an apartment complex. I can see them maybe tunneling out a little bit of the center part where the cars are and making a green space. This way, people can like a pocket park almost within that. You might lose some parking spaces, but you know what really? I mean, like you said, there’s no way to go there if you just wanted to hang out.
Alex: [00:35:56] And it’s pretty rare that there’s no parking there. You know, one of the things that we talked amongst ourselves at one point you know, cause we’ve talked about doing some type of art center. And you know, the Cinebistro location has come up before, you know, actually during the original plan, you know, we tried to get a kind of like right of first refusal to buy the property if it went under or maybe just had them lease it or whatever. And that never went anywhere because even before COVID, you know, the movie industry was already struggling. So we were worried about what becomes of that space, if it doesn’t work out. But anyway that you know, that hasn’t, there’s been some discussions there, but it was the numbers just don’t make any sense. But if you think about from an activation standpoint, look over at the forum. What if God forbid, you know, Belk’s closed or Barnes and Noble closed. Well, maybe you go into one of those spaces where, you know, maybe it’s a long-term lease or what. But you know, you might be able to change that particular building into some type of performing arts center. And then that becomes an anchor that becomes an activation point. So I’m not saying I want that to happen, but you know, there’s different options down the road for things to happen.
Rico: [00:37:20] Yeah. And I don’t disagree with you. You know, Belk’s has closed some national stores. Nationally they’ve closed stores. They haven’t closed this one, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Barnes and Noble, a brick and mortar bookstore versus their online store or Amazon. I am still surprised, I forget how many square feet that is, but I’m still surprised that that is opened when other businesses with smaller footprints have closed their doors. So I wouldn’t be surprised if that, God forbid that happens.
Alex: [00:37:52] Yeah. Well I think, one of the things that helps Barnes and Noble is like I said, it’s got kind of a hangout vibe to it. You know, go in there and drink coffee and that kind of thing. And you know, people are, you know, they people like to hang out with their friends and just you know, talk. And there’s nowhere else in the forum that you can do that. I mean, if you go to a restaurant, you feel kind of bad taking a table up just for hours, right? You’re hurting the wait staff. There you can do that, no one’s, you’re not hurting anybody.
Rico: [00:38:20] no coffee place there. Ever since, I think it was Caribou that was years ago closed. There’s really no coffee shop, but it’s said to say. Not even a Starbucks and they have to go up through, down the road to get to that.
Alex: [00:38:32] That’s right. That’s right.
Rico: [00:38:34] So, there’s still a lot of growth potential for different things, even when there’s a negative, right? So maybe if Belk’s goes out or maybe if Barnes and Noble, or if the developer decides that they want to adjust a few things and redevelop it a little differently, those are all good things now.
Alex: [00:38:53] Yeah. I think the biggest challenge there is with the forum is that it’s owned by a REIT. And you know, you’re, there’s a management company that, you know, you can interact with, but you know, they’re just the face. So, because there’s been various conversations with them about some kind of creative ideas and just to have not been that. Yeah, they haven’t gone anywhere. So, you know, it’s like that Jerry McGuire movie he was like, help me help you. Right?
Rico: [00:39:26] They say, no. Yeah, because they’re a REIT and 13 stores or 14 stores closed. It’s just a write off to them. So they don’t care. They don’t live here locally. They don’t really care. And hopefully, you know, and the, you know, the other side of that with apartments being very little occupancy. I’m surprised even corner center sold. I think that was sold for $45 million or $40 million that apartment complex. A lot of money, right? You were saying land is expensive. I mean, I just saw something listed the land under Lazydog, I believe, with the lease of Lazydog is selling. I think it’s the offering is four and a half million dollars for that property. Because that’s an our parcel. If I remember correctly. It’s a four and a half million for that piece of land, with Lazydogs on it. And it’s extended lease, I guess someone thinks it’s valuable enough to put it out. I mean, it’s expensive.
Alex: [00:40:18] Yeah. I mean, we’ve had people approach, you know, the city about, you know, the I guess five and a half acres of woods you know, that border the town green. We’ve had people approach us about, you know, buying that and putting stuff there. And I think, I mean nothing’s forever, but I think the consensus is that, you know, even though that’s money that’s, I mean, you could sell it and take the money and do something with it. But I think the view of the community is, you know, they like having the woods there and I think it would kind of hurt the vibe, if you will, that we’ve got there with that intimate part I’m talking about. If you took the woods away and then put a bunch of new buildings. So it just going to say, you know, that there’s not a lot of raw land around. And so that’s, there’s people definitely interested in that, but I’m pretty confident for the foreseeable future it’ll stay woods.
Rico: [00:41:15] Cool. Well, that’s good. I mean if anything, I was thinking, you know, arts center would be a great, that could be a great place for that, but yeah, I can’t see more apartments there.
Alex: [00:41:27] No. Well, I mean, we think about it. We’d bought that land specifically because we didn’t want, not just the land with the town center, but the land with the woods, it was the same thing. Apartments were going to go there. So didn’t really make sense to buy land to stop apartments and then put apartments.
Rico: [00:41:40] Right. Yeah, no, I totally agree. I’m with you there.
Alex: [00:41:43] Yeah. I mean, there’s definitely places to put apartments, but I don’t think that’s the place for them.
Rico: [00:41:48] Well, and there’s only, you know, how much density can you pile into a place? You know? I mean, kids have to go to school, they have to be infrastructured. I mean, there’s all sorts of things that, you know, people have to live. Other things that come with density, right? So, we’ve been talking with Alex Wright, city council member district three. And for those that don’t quite know what district three borders, can you tell us? So then people know.
Alex: [00:42:17] Yeah. I’m very visual person, so and I know everyone else isn’t, but you know. If it kinda, if you were looking at a map, to just give you some kind of natural boundary. So, you know, the city running north or running south to north, like post one is the south, post two is in the middle, and then post three is kind of the northern part. So boundaries would be Berkeley Lake you know the city of Berkeley Lake. That’s kind of our northern boundary. Runs all the way along the river down to about a little bit past Jones bridge park. Almost down to like where Simpson wood park is, if you know where like Peachtree Corners, like the North Manor neighborhood, that’s kind of the Southern part of post three. And then all along west Jones bridge up to about where the YMCA is. And then you’d take a left on Peachtree Corners circle all the way up until it dead ends to Medlocke and then a right on Medlocke and then all the way out to Norcross. So that’s post three.
Rico: [00:43:14] That’s fairly big too, so.
Alex: [00:43:16] Yeah. It’s probably about 15,000 people. You know, each post is about 15,000. And you know, for us, that’s like you know, who live around here, that doesn’t seem like a lot of people. But one of the things that’s interesting when you go to these you know, government, they have like a GMA convention every year in Savannah, where you get to interact with people from across the state. You realize that, okay, you know, Peachtree Corners is kind of the outlier, as far as, you know, cities across the state where, you know, you’re talking to the you’re in a class and the guy next to you as a mayor from a town with 2000 people in the whole city, right? And it kind of makes you realize, you know, it’s pretty big, I won’t say it’s top 10 or maybe it’s like in the top 15 biggest cities in the state, maybe. So it’s really relatively big.
Rico: [00:44:02] I think we have what? 44,000 odd people, I think in the second? I think I forget 80% of those that work in the city don’t live in the city. I mean, there’s all sorts of statistics like that that people would be surprised probably on. Cool. So if people want to get in touch with you, Website, I guess they go to the city website and they can find your email address there?
Alex: [00:44:24] Yeah. They can. And I haven’t been real good about this lately, but I do still send out a newsletter every so often. And you know, if you want to get on that distro, you know, you can email me at the city and I can add you. But we’ve probably got about, gosh, six or 700 people on that list. And then, you know, the people forwarded on and it’s just like a way for me to share news. That’s, you know, like the people work for the city, they don’t have the luxury of kind of putting their own little opinion here and there, you know? It’s just straight news. And sometimes people do like to hear, you know, kind of like our conversation here. Like, you know, it’s a little more colorful, I guess, because you can get a little more behind the scenes what’s going on and people’s opinions.
Rico: [00:45:11] Yeah. And I’ve gotten your newsletters and I’m happy to get them because I do like the opinions that you share in there. So it gives me a little bit more rather than just state the facts, ma’am. It’s a little bit more editorializing, which is good. So, thank you, Alex. I appreciate you being on the show with us again. This is Alex Wright city council member of Peachtree Corners. If you need to reach out to him, check the city’s website. And if you have comments, put them in the comments below if this was on Facebook or YouTube, and I’ll try to get answers for you. Thank you again, Alex. Appreciate you being with us.
Alex: [00:45:42] Yeah. Thanks for the invite. You have a good afternoon.
Rico: [00:45:45] You too.
Intersection Improvement Virtual Open House for S.R. 140 at Spalding Dr.
You are invited to a Transportation Project Virtual Public Information Open House. The Gwinnett County Department of Transportation along with the Georgia Department of Transportation, City of Sandy Springs, and the City of Peachtree Corners will hold a Virtual Public Information House for the S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road at Spalding Drive.
Gwinnett County and Georgia DOT are seeking feedback about the improvement of the intersection of S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road at Spalding Drive in Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
Comment Period ends August 7
This project is proposed to improve traffic flow, relieve congestion, and reduce delays at the intersection of S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road and Spalding Drive.
S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road serves as a major commercial corridor and the queuing associated with left turning vehicles is causing traffic delays in the area, with projected increase in traffic volume expected to increase the period of delay over time.
The proposed project would consist of removing the dedicated left-turn lanes along Spalding Drive at the intersection of S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road and would reroute those left turn movements to existing signalized intersections with S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road along River Exchange Drive and Wetherburn Way.
This would require the modification of the following adjacent intersections in order to accommodate the rerouting of traffic:
- Wetherburn Way and Holcomb Bridge Road,
- Wetherburn Way and Spalding Drive,
- River Exchange Drive and S.R. 140/Holcomb Bridge Road.
The modifications are generally limited to minor widening, milling and inlaying, concrete median installation, and signal adjustment. Existing right-of-way (ROW) varies between 60-140 feet. Proposed ROW will vary between 60-140 feet.
Use this link to provide your feedback.
Concerts, V2X Live Conference, City Charter Amendment, Hotel Conversions, and more
Rico Figliolini and Peachtree Corners City Manager Brian Johnson are back with another episode of Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager. They’ve got a ton of exciting news and information on the city of Peachtree Corners. Topics on this episode include: New Concert info, local economy updates, and information on the V2X Conference coming to the city in October.
“We’re seeing indications that things are opening up… So you know, we’re optimistic as some of these things fill in, that our local economy will continue to get even stronger than it was. I mean, we’ve really overall been blessed. Our local economy has stayed pretty strong. And there are certainly some things that have closed that have been disappointing to see. But overall, there’s a lot of communities that are a lot worse off than we are.”Brian Johnson
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:38] – “On the Border” Concert Info
[00:05:54] – Local Businesses Opening Up
[00:08:32] – Hotel Conversion Ordinance
[00:17:41] – Charter Amendment
[00:31:47] – V2X Live Coming to Peachtree Corners
[00:41:18] – Closing
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. And today with Brian Johnson, the City Manager, we are doing Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager. Before we get to Brian, I just want to tell you what the show’s about ahead. We’re going to be discussing a little bit about what’s gone on during the last week or two. Certainly the charter amendment, the city charter amendment that happened this past city council meeting. I also want to discuss a little bit the new conference that’s going to be held in October. Did you know that vehicles are the most connected devices in the world now? Almost overtaking phones. So we’re going to have the V2X Live conference here in October. Which is about cars and vehicles and the connections they make to everything. So we’ll be discussing a bit about that. And we’ll also be discussing a little bit about recent development about the hotel development to possible apartments. The ordinance changes that happen and about a company that’s looking to target maybe two purchases in the city and possibly taking advantage of that ordinance. Whether or not that happens is a different story, but we’ll be discussing a bit about that. And just to let you know, also this weekend, On the Border, the Eagles tribute band, is going to be playing Saturday at seven o’clock. If you haven’t gotten your tickets, go to the city website, if it’s still available. We are at, I think the most capacity since COVID started where the limit is 4,000 at this point. So no circles, 4,000 in that oval area. Maybe a little outside of it. We’ll get more from Brian on that. Check it out. They might be only a handful of seats left, so you really have to get to it if it’s even available at this point. But look out for other concerts later in the summer as well as they come up. So let’s bring Brian on. Hey, Brian. Thank you for joining us.
Brian: [00:02:17] Thanks for having me Rico.
Rico: [00:02:18] Appreciate it. It’s always good to be able to talk about the things that’s going on in the city and be able to get facts out there and to discuss some of this stuff. Because I always have a thousand questions. Sometimes people tell me I have a million questions, but you know, you have to ask those questions to get the answer is sometimes, right?
Brian: [00:02:37] Sure.
Rico: [00:02:38] So just so then for those that may want to attend the, On the Border. So that limit to the concerts now in the Town Green has been lifted to 4,000, right? And I think we talked about at one point it was 6,000 was the most that it might’ve held pre COVID.
Brian: [00:02:54] That’s about right. So, you know I guess year and a half, two years ago we had a Queen cover band that there was no limitations, it was first come first serve. And it certainly spilled out into some of the areas outside of what we consider the developed part of the Town Green into the wood line and, you know, things like that. But we, our cameras counted about 6,000 people. So we, you know, that was, that probably is little bit more than we’d like. The reason that there’s a limit on this is, is not for that reason. It’s for COVID. Council had to make a decision about a month out before the event. Because we’ve gotta be able, there’s some logistics involved in securing the area and how many police officers we need and everything. And so they decided on this event to increase it from, I believe it was 2,500, the concert before this I think. And they increased it to 4,000. And so other than needing to reserve space to get inside the ropes, if you will, once you’re in there, there are no, the city’s not regulating your behavior. We’re assuming everybody is going to act in a responsible way as it relates to. If you’re not vaccinated, then you know, take whatever precautions you need. If you are then you know, operate, what makes you, however you feel comfortable. But counsel will hear in about a week and a half, will tell me if they want to have a restriction at all on the total numbers for next month’s concert, or if they just want to lift it and say first come first serve.
Rico: [00:04:42] Okay. So first come first serve meaning no reservations anymore?
Brian: [00:04:46] No reservations, no sit, no roped off area. It’s just the Town Green as we normally know it. And if you want to show up you, you know, show up. And if there’s a space somewhere, you can set your, you know, blanket up and do whatever. Kind of like you remember it the first summer we had.
Rico: [00:05:07] So, you know, I guess if we get to that point, it doesn’t matter when people come because people will come sometimes at two, even for a seven o’clock concert. But as far as this concert, this weekend will the, will it be roped off, like at a particular time? Two o’clock?
Brian: [00:05:24] Yeah, I think we’re keeping it at two, that seemed to work last month. We did a better job of telling the residents when it was going to be roped off.
Rico: [00:05:33] Right.
Brian: [00:05:33] They also understood the reason why we did it at all. Which is it’s easier to keep people from going somewhere to begin with versus having to kick them out. And so I think we’ll keep it that way. Because if not, I mean, we do have to set up the area at some point, so we would have to. And so that number seemed to be fine.
Rico: [00:05:54] Good. Great. So that’s a cool concert. Everyone should try to get to it. But again, there’s limited seats, so if you find it sold out, look at other concerts coming this summer. So you should enjoy that. Town Greens getting a lot more stuff. I mean, there’s more shops I think that opened. Playa Bowl opened not too long ago, a month ago, I think a month and a half ago. So I don’t know what’s going on with the old farmer retail there, but things are moving along. There’s more coming in. Even at the forum, there’s more shops opening over there. So the economy seems to be picking up a bit. I know that when I went out recently to a couple of restaurants, no masks. So actually hard to eat with the mask on. But people, I think that have decided that it’s not even worth bothering to walk in with a mask sometimes because you’re just going to take it off when you get to the table. So it’s hit or miss when people wear it, right? People are going into retail locations and wearing the mask. But half the people or two thirds of the people aren’t, you know. I mean, are you finding anything different going on economic wise? As far as new, I mean, there’s another new restaurant taken over, Nobel Fin, that Sage restaurant is coming in. You guys just approved the liquor license for them this last council meeting I think.
Brian: [00:07:06] Yeah. No, I mean, so you said it right. We’re seeing indications that things are opening up. That companies and people, entrepreneurs are starting to like make some decisions. And, you know, and sometimes try to capitalize on opportunities. And so we’ve had some vacant space that the pandemic caused that have turned around and had somebody, you know, say, Hey, maybe now’s a good time. So you know, we’re optimistic as some of these things fill in that our local economy will continue to get even stronger than it was. I mean, we’ve really overall been blessed. Our local economy has stayed pretty strong. And, you know, there are certainly some been some things that have closed that have been disappointing to see. But overall, there’s a lot of communities that are a lot worse off than we are.
Rico: [00:08:05] And there’s a lot of jobs still needing employees. I know, you know, every time I go to pass a restaurant, I mean, almost it’s almost seems like every other restaurant has a help wanted sign. From Dunkin donuts to Salada, to other places. It’s like hard to find people willing to work. In the retail and the restaurant business, at least. So, you know, they’re opening up, but they’re also getting crunched as far as whether they have help or not.
Brian: [00:08:30] That is true.
Rico: [00:08:32] Yeah. The other thing is, economically speaking too I mean, obviously the city has 12 or 13 hotels. Including the Hilton as well as long extended stay hotels and stuff. And the city just passed an ordinance about redeveloping may be possible with criteria’s and restrictions to hotels converting to apartments. Obviously hotels are one bedroom, you know, rooms and stuff. There would be tremendous amount of renovation going on, but I think the city limited to any hotels that are either extended stay, under 50% occupancy for a period of time, or are changing you know, lost their brand like you know, whatever. Like if you were a national chain, but all of a sudden you’re not a national chain and you’re just a one-off. That there’s a possibility for that to happen. So I hear that there’s a multi-billion dollar company, a holding company, real estate holding company that is targeting a possible two hotels in the city of Peachtree Corners for possible redevelopment. So I know you may not know which hotels, but. So tell us a little bit, just refresh our memory in brief about what could happen, couldn’t happen. And just let us know about that.
Brian: [00:09:43] I mean, you did a pretty good job. So, you know, the hotel industry in general, I mean, everywhere, got significantly effected by the pandemic. And so of course there’s been some changes in that. That industry is still under some duress. But as a result of that, there have been some companies that have decided to take advantage of that. Not necessarily advantage, but use this as an opportunity to potentially create a unique product. And that is to take a hotel that is in some level of duress and convert it from hotel to apartments. And so this company that you mentioned, that’s been kicking some tires around Peachtree Corners is doing it in a lot of places. They’re doing it wholesale. Lots of different, yeah, municipalities are having the same thing. Now, in our particular case when it comes to hotels, we might be especially ripe if you will for there to be opportunities because of two reasons. One, we started, you know, pre pandemic, we have a significant amount of hotels. A lot more than people realize in the city. And so there’s a lot of hotels to look at. The second thing is our hotel industry tends to be very business traveler centric. And so, you know of all the people going into hotels, the ones that are going back right now are not really the business traveler. It’s the vacationer. And so if there was a type of you know, a hotel that, or a group that a hotel caters to. The ones that cater to the business travel might be a little bit even more under stress then the vacation right now. So that’s why we think that there might, there’s two properties here that might, you know, be in the cross hairs of this company for them to do the due diligence. Now we don’t know, the company hasn’t like laid out to us exactly which ones per se. We do know which ones are not under duress. And so we do know which ones, you know, we can say are doing fine. We have a pretty good relationship with the hoteliers in the city. And none of the branded hotels, the ones that are under a flag of a national brand, whether it’s Marriott, IHG, you know, and their sub brands like Residents Inn, Homewood Suites, that kind of stuff. None of those are the ones that are you know, at a point where they want to consider selling to this company. We do have a few that generally tend to be on the south side of the city that are no longer branded. And you know, so we suspected that it may be one of those. Now again, so one last thing to consider is on the ordinance, we knew this was coming. So there’s been, as we keep up with trends out there. We started to see that, yes, there are hotels that start going through a cycle when they are not performing well. And there were some companies that are maybe wanting to convert. And so counsel, so what I did is I presented them an ordinance and I said, here’s the deal. This phenomenon is coming, or it is here. It could certainly be here very soon. And we probably should put some thought behind what we want to do if a company comes to us and says, Hey, we want to take this hotel, buy it and convert it to an apartment. What, you know, how would you regulate that? Do you allow it? And so council considered this versus saying, no, we don’t want to have anything. And their, you know, their ultimate stance that they, a majority of them took is with the regulations, with restrictions on how it would be developed and how much capacity could have, how many bedrooms it could have, things like that. They preferred to with a high standard, at least, have this in place so that if somebody wants to do it, they can do it. They can, there’s a mechanism for them to do it versus us just categorically say no. And then the hotel owner does one of two things. He or she continues to drop the room rates until they can fill enough rooms to make some money. And that usually doesn’t end well. Or they turn it into really, really long-term. Which almost acts like an apartment anyway. Or the worst is they just shutter the doors. And you know, so the council was like, look we don’t like those options. We think the alternative is to spend some time, come up with a well-thought-out ordinance. If a company comes to us and wants to do it. We have a mechanism for them to do it, but that they have a very narrow band to do it. We don’t say, oh yeah, sure. Whatever. We look forward to your product and cross our fingers. It’s highly regulated on how it transitions from hotel to apartment. But we feel like that would be a better product than the alternative. Now, mind you our first, you know, our first option or our preferred option is for the hotels to start performing great. And to, for them to be operating the way that they originally went in. That is certainly our preferred method. But if a gun is held to our head and it’s, you know, do this, or it’s going to shutter their doors and become a vacant property or one that just allows almost anybody in or rents by the hours as the case may be those kinds of things. We don’t want that versus a, well, you know, a well-regulated conversion into apartment.
Rico: [00:16:02] I think this is what a good city does, right? Like you said, you find trends that are happening across a competitive landscape, right? And you come ahead of that curve before waiting to see what happens. I mean, a city has to be able to be proactive in a lot of what they do, not just in the economic sphere of encouraging new business coming in, but to look at redevelopment, look at all of it. So I think you guys did a good job in coming up with that and being able to address it and maybe not the deny it. Because denying it or saying no, we can’t. You know, Sandy Springs, for example, I think was entertaining the same thing. And they said, no, we’re not going to do that. Well, that just doesn’t look at the reality of life and what can happen if you don’t allow some options there, right? So having some options and actually control over your own destiny is always a good thing. So I appreciate the city looking at that. You know, I mean, you guys have done the redevelopment authority. You know, I’m sure there’ll be more stuff coming out of that soon. You know, and addressing things like, for example, just recently, I don’t recall the name of the company, but it was like a $42, $45 million purchase of the corner center, I think it was. Which is an apartment complex on Holcomb Bridge Road, I think or Peachtree Corners Circle, right. So they just purchased that and you know, these things are gonna happen. Economic purchases, REITs are going to come in real estate investment groups like PEG is a real estate investment holding company. They’re not, you know, they go in and they buy stuff cheap and or wherever they can negotiate and then build something out that can give them cash. I mean, that’s what they’re in business for.
Brian: [00:17:39] That’s what they do. Right.
Rico: [00:17:41] Yeah. So and there are companies out there that actually do that with I think it was American Federation. They go out and buy residential property. Homes. And build up that and buy that and then rent them out, sublease them. I mean, so that’s going on, certainly going on in this market, that too. And it’s hard to find a house. The I mean, there was one article that I forget which paper put out, that there’s too many real estate agents now and not enough homes to list. Got that going on. Let’s talk a little bit about the charter amendment that just happened this past city council meeting. Originally, I thought it was a great idea to do what we discussed in our last podcast to give the city more, not more time, but to give the city sort of emergency powers, if you will. To be able to address something on a quicker basis than otherwise is being handled. But obviously that got a lot of protest against that. People didn’t like that idea. So tell us what happened Tuesday night with this amendment. Because it didn’t pass or at least a portion of it didn’t pass.
Brian: [00:18:46] That’s correct. So in the course of other activity, we will sometimes review documents and we needed to review the charter. Something came up when we were looking at it one day and we uncovered essentially a Scribner’s error or a typo. And so we were like, oh you know, we need to look at it. We looked at it and found two more. And so I had been sitting on it for a while and it was just, I had an agenda that I thought was just, let’s just get this out of the way. So we put it on there, but in the course of that, you know, charter amendments are a very formal event. As it should be, the charter is the city’s constitution, if you will. So it should be a, you know, a process that’s well thought out. And so when you have the, you know, when you crack that thing open, sometimes it’s a good time to make other changes while you’re there. It’s almost like the medical community you’re going to crack somebody’s chest open and get in there and do something. Why not fix something else that’s been nagging them or whatever. So one of the things that, even when it got here, having managed other cities, I found unique and that is a requirement that there be two separate reads at two separate meetings. And that in and of itself was not odd. One of the other two cities I managed had that mechanism. That was the normal course, but there was also a mechanism that if a majority, in the case of the other city, it was just the majority. Here the proposal was unanimous consent. If there was consent to waive that requirement, you could in fact have that second read and the vote at the same meeting. And it existed for instances that were emergent, but not necessarily emergent for the entire city. Like you’ve got to drop what you’re doing and do it. I mean, you could argue that the mask ordinance requiring the wearing of masks during a pandemic was a city-wide emergency situation. And, you know, it needed to be moved in fast. And we have a mechanism in the charter now allowing for emergency ordinances, but it only is in place for 30 days. And it has a very high standard. There’s gotta be a risk to life, limb, you know, property type of thing. And if that’s not the case, then it doesn’t meet that standard. So there is a, there are instances where it doesn’t quite meet that standard, but yet it is kind of exigent circumstances, an emergent situation. So I just thought, Hey, why not put a mechanism in there on the off chance that those situations happen, that you at least could do it. And we made it to where it was a unanimous consent of all council members. It wasn’t even just the ones that are present. Literally all seven of them would have had to at the meeting where the first reading took place would have had to have said yes, Mr City Manager, what you were just presented. And you’re asking us to waive that to a meeting requirement. This situation does in fact, warrant us doing it at this meeting. And all of us are going to actually be forced to raise our hand and vote yes, that it is emergent. I’ve seen that a lot of places and let’s remember a lot of cities don’t even have a two read requirement.
Rico: [00:22:36] Right. That’s not the norm.
Brian: [00:22:37] Yeah. There’s a lot of cities that you just it’s, you have the reading and the public hearing and the vote at the same council meeting. And the argument there is people track this thing one time, you know, it’s going to be at one meeting unless there’s a formal vote to table. In which case you will already be at that meeting to hear about that. We don’t, we don’t need a two read every time. And so that’s probably more common than the other. But for cities that do have the two read there’s oftentimes again, that mechanism to do it. So I submitted it and there were a lot of people who were opposed to it. You know, and they showed up and spoke and council said, you know what? Maybe now’s not the right time or in some cases, maybe they don’t ever want to do it. I mean, look, it was good to see people you know, A, watching things. You know, sometimes you wonder how many people are even civically active and knowledgeable about what’s going on. That was good. Two, you know, it was great to see a forum for people to show up and express their, you know, their opinions. There still is some confusion about what was being asked. You know, that was the disappointing part about, you know, lack of transparency and it’s, you know, you’re kind of like. You know, we could still have a special called meeting right now under our current charter. If I needed something done fast, I could actually call for a special call meeting tomorrow night. And if the mayor himself or a majority of council wanted to have agreed that we need to have it, we could have a special called meeting. You could argue that that’s less transparent than doing it always at a council meeting because everybody can put those council meetings in their calendar. I mean, it’s always going to be at the same time of the month, same, you know. But special called meetings, they may miss. And so somebody could have missed that and say, well, you did this, you know, I’m not tracking a city council meeting on a Friday night or something. And that was the argument some people were making is, oh, you could already do a special called meeting. Well we can and I guess if it ever comes to that, we will.
Rico: [00:24:48] Because what’s the notification time for a special meeting?
Brian: [00:24:55] It’s 24 hours.
Rico: [00:24:56] Okay. So versus it being on the agenda and everyone knows the city council meeting is the fourth Tuesday of the month. And that it wouldn’t just, you know, I mean, it just doesn’t show up 24 hours ahead on the agenda.
Brian: [00:25:09] Correct. It’s also live streamed and recorded and posted on the website.
Rico: [00:25:17] Right. And the fact that you had unanimous vote to be able to even consider the subject. I thought it was awesome. Because you weren’t…
Brian: [00:25:26] If just one council member, like you say, said this isn’t emergent enough for me and I vote no. And then that’s it. Literally all seven had to. Go ahead.
Rico: [00:25:39] No, because otherwise what happens is, let’s say it’s an ordinance and the city council votes on it and it’s, you know, whatever, four to three or something. It could be that, right? On the second thing, on the second read. But on the first read, and if you wanted to move to a vote that, you know, unanimous part is important, right? All the council people have to vote on allowing a vote. And then you would think…
Brian: [00:26:04] And then you still have the public hearing and you still have to vote on the agenda item.
Rico: [00:26:10] Yes. So I’m disappointed a little bit in that some people actually don’t know what it was about. But they came out, you know, and they found out. I think the same people found out at the meeting, because it was explained. But sometimes people still don’t quite get it. And, you know, there’s an opinion on everything. Maybe they, you know, maybe that’s a good thing that for now it’s not allowed. We’ll find out in the future, if that was a bad choice.
Brian: [00:26:37] Well you know, Rico. It’s interesting that you bring that up because we technically could have even had a real world example. Would it have been determined to be emergent, but some of the people were asking, well, you know, when do you ever feel the need to move quickly, but it doesn’t apply to citywide stuff. Well, we just had an issue this last weekend, where an individual rented out through Airbnb, his pool. So the rental mentioned that it was a, it was the rental of a pool, not the rental of a dwelling as our code has. And we do not allow for rentals less than 30 days. Or actually less than 31 days, it has to be 31 days or more. And so you can’t do an Airbnb for anything less than, you know, 31 days or more. But it says to rent out a dwelling. And so an individual rented out a pool and ended up having, there was probably approaching 50 people. You’re not supposed to even have 16 on any, more than 16 through Airbnb anyway. Upwards of 50 people that showed up. And the police were called and technically speaking with the pool thing, the argument was, we’re not violating the ordinance cause it’s not a dwelling and you just get into this. So my point to that is we are going to do a text amendment of our code and amend that to ensure that it’s the dwelling and any other, you know, amenities outside of that. But that could have been considered for the neighborhood. Like if you live next to this house, you would consider this an emergent situation. You would be like, look this is a good example of change that code quickly. So that I can go ahead and feel comfortable that they can run through this loophole. And instead we’ll introduce it, it’ll be 60 plus days before it’s voted on. And again that’s fine, if the residents want that, enough of them. And that’s why council, it was good to see people that say their opinion and counsel listened. And there was certainly more people that showed up and sent emails that were against it than forward. Although that’s usually the case, but that’s fine. I mean, that’s how democracy works. That’s how the city works. Council was responsive. And we’re going to drive on and move on and, you know, that’s it. But yeah, so the only disappointing part is if there were still some people who truly still don’t understand what this was and was it’s about, and how the protective measures that were in place, where you could argue even more restricted than the current one. And I just hate people making decisions based on false information or a misunderstanding.
Rico: [00:29:43] Misinformation versus this information, I guess they just don’t, they’re not, you know, everyone has an opinion too, obviously. So, you know the fact, like you said, I mean, it always happens that the cons are always, the no’s are always the ones showing up versus the, yes. The people that don’t have a problem with it are not showing up saying, yay, good job. This is exactly what we want. It’s usually the no’s that show up and say, why is government doing this? I want them off my back. I’m a libertarian. I’m a conservative. These are things you shouldn’t be doing as a government. Oh, by the way, the city probably shouldn’t exist. To some degree, you know, and they have the right to say that and they can, you know, there’s a belief there of that, and that’s fine. But that shouldn’t drive the evolution of a city as it evolves into doing good stuff. That they, you know, that that has to be taken into account every time to the detriment of, of other people possibly. So like you said, that particular, I’m sure if I lived next door to that, it’d be like yes. I would definitely want you to change that because the police could probably say, well, we could do disturbance of the peace, there’s too many people there. But what stops it from happening again, legally, you know?
Brian: [00:30:56] And you know, again, we’re going to change this. So it’s not like we’re not, it didn’t prevent us doing it. But you know, look. Again, that’s how it’s done. It was great. Clearly the, you know, the greatest number is what council heard that night. And they, you know, or that was presented that night. They heard it and they said, you know what? Now’s not the time. Maybe it’s not ever, I don’t know. But you know, I, as a resident of the city, I’m glad to see my city council. You know, to sit there and listen and say, look, we’ll reserve judgment until the bitter end. And they did. And so I’m glad to see that as a resident. I mean, sometimes it can be frustrating as an employee of the city. But as a resident, I’m glad, you know, council does it that way.
Rico: [00:31:47] And it’s always, it’s always good people show up. I mean, I like that. I prefer at least an active citizen. Because it just makes, it does make things better. Because you have to make sure that you do things a certain way, right? Dot the I’s, cross the T’s and stuff. So, I mean, that’s not a bad thing necessarily. Right. Last thing I want to talk about is something exciting too. I mean, obviously hotels, are opening up. We had a jobs fair this past weekend for the hospitality industry here in Peachtree Corners. Because, you know, I remember at one point as the Hilton was opening up, they could only open up certain floors because they didn’t have enough employees to clean all the floors for example. Getting people back to work is a little difficult post, I don’t want to say post COVID, but emerging and opening up for business. It’s a little tough for the hospitality industry to be able to get the work they need. So I’m glad they’re able to do that. And because of that, we’re able to bring in conferences and other things. So I’m excited to hear that the V2X Live conference is coming to Peachtree Corners. I mean, you guys were involved two years ago in the Smart City Expo, but that came in to Atlanta. And you know, and the city had a good, good representation there. And people from that international, national expo come out to the city. So now we have this V2X live. Because as most people might not realize cars are becoming the most connected device in the world at this point. And electric cars are moving towards being the norm by 2050, 2035. And even sooner. I mean, a lot of these companies are coming out. Volkswagen, Ford, all coming out saying they’re going to be like almost all electric at some point. So that, you can’t have self-driving cars without electric cars, right? I mean, they go hand in hand. So tell us a little bit about the V2X Live that’s going to be coming in, in October. That’s going to be, I think that’s through a partnership or because of Curiosity Lab and stuff. So tell us what’s going on with that, Brian.
Brian: [00:33:54] Alright. So as conferences go, you know, conferences have a theme, if you will. A reason to hold it. And a lot of times conferences, new conference themes are spinoffs of emerging technology from conferences they used to be a subset of. So you could have had a automotive conference and back in the day, you at some point had this subset where they were talking about cars being able to talk to something else and people are wow. You know? And so over time, connected vehicles and all that comes with it, you know, you’ve got the vehicle itself and that whole part of that, what is it going to say? How? Who’s doing it? Then you’ve got who’s listening? Because you’ve got vehicle to infrastructure, vehicle to vehicle, and I mean, you have vehicle to all sorts of stuff. And so all of those have their own subset, and then you have the software that you’ve got to do all this. You have this large ever-growing industry around connected vehicles. And it has merged off in one of the companies that does a lot of different conferences decided to be the first to create this conference on its own. And so it went through a due diligence period. And said, we’re going to create this brand new conference we’re going to be the first one to do a connected vehicle conference called V2X Live. Vehicle to everything Live, is what V2X stands for. And they did a due diligence and they wanted to pick three locations in the world to start this series. One in Europe. They chose Frankfurt, Germany. And they wanted to do two in the states, one in the east coast and one of the west coast. They picked a city I believe is Santa Clara, but a city in Silicon valley on the west coast. And because of Curiosity Lab, Peachtree Corners was picked on the east coast. Now mind you, when I say Peachtree Corners, as opposed to Smart City Atlanta that is held in the Georgia World Congress Center. This conference will actually be held in Peachtree Corners. And so the conference will be a little bit different in that it’s not one conference under one with everything under one roof. This is a little bit more of, call it an experiential one. And of course the reason is, is we actually have a vehicle to everything environment. I mean, we have created that city street where a vehicle that is capable of doing this, could drive up our track and be talking to every light pole, every other vehicle, every pedestrian who has a phone, every traffic signal, every pedestrian crossing all the way up. We have that environment now. And they want to do a conference where you can actually talk about connected vehicle and get out and in some cases, see them in action. Like literally be standing under a light pole that has the technology to talk to the car. And have the companies that provide that be there and have a tent set up. And so it’s going to basically be a linear conference. In that the conference host hotel will be the Hilton. And there will be a significant presence though, call it a host hotel, A and B. A would be the Hilton. B will be the Marriott. Our two conference hotels here. And then there will be a lot of meeting space there. Of course, the rooms for the conference attendees, and then breakout sessions and you know, and demonstrations will be up the track. So as you go, essentially north up the track, there will be some breakout and panel discussions held at City Hall. And then there’ll be locations of the track where you may have, you may have, Watt Way who does the solar roadway have a tent. And they, people can go out there and see our solar roadway. And then we’ll have more at the innovation center where you have breakouts. And then there’ll be even more so up at Atlanta Tech Park at the other end. And so we’re looking to do this conference. The cool thing about it is its ability to pump activity into our local economy. So now you’re talking, they are projecting maybe about a thousand conference attendees in year one. Because it is a new conference. And so that’s a lot of hotel rooms and maybe it will be more, I don’t know. But that’s a lot of hotel rooms that’ll be filled. So that, you know, for two nights, at least. And then it could even be more people during the day if Metro Atlanta, you know, people who live in Metro Atlanta show up. And then what we’re looking to maybe do is. Instead of having the keynote address at the beginning of the day, which is oftentimes what you see on a conference, is we do it at the end of the day and we get everybody to go up and we hold that keynote address up at the Town Green using the stage so that when you’re done with it, you’re already at our entertainment district and you can already eat right there and maybe we have a concert afterwards. And so we’re looking to pump more activity into the Forum and the Town Center. And, you know, we’ll have a bunch of pretty cool demonstrations there. We’ll have a bunch of autonomous vehicles for it.
Rico: [00:39:36] Yeah. That would be, that would be cool. People will get a chance to take a look at those autonomous vehicles, maybe tented areas with other interactive and such things going on. That would be a great experience, I think for local residents also. Besides bringing in, like you said, possibly you know, a thousand people economically impacting hotels and restaurants and all that.
Brian: [00:39:56] But you know, it’s just an example again, where, you know, our residents have been very supportive of Curiosity Lab because we have told them of its ability to do these kinds of things. And it continues to outperform expectations and its presence in what we’ve done with it and the activity that it has generated and putting us on the map. It got these conference organizers to reach out to us. And we told them what it was about. And they sent a delegation and they looked at it. We talked through the details and they said, you know what? We’d like to do it there. We think that would be a really unique conference. And so Curiosity Lab continues to deliver in its ability to generate activity for the city.
Rico: [00:40:43] Yeah. Exciting because activity begets activity. Companies, organizations will see this V2X Live conference, be looking at the city in a different length because of that conference. So we may end up seeing much more coming out of this than just that conference certainly.
Brian: [00:41:04] I hope so. So yeah, it’s exciting. It’ll be in the middle of October. There’ll be an announcement coming out next week. A formal announcement, website for it is almost done. So yeah, it’s some exciting stuff.
Rico: [00:41:18] Excellent. So much stuff going on in this city. Things that keeps us busy, gets this podcast going every month. And being able to, and we haven’t even talked covered everything really. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things that we could have covered. These are the top things. I hope everyone enjoyed this show. If you have any questions, post them down in the comments. I’ll see about getting those answered. If I don’t have the answers for them. Check out again, the concert this weekend, there might be some tickets left for On the Boarder, a tribute band. And check out the rest of the summer schedule and keep an eye out cause there’s a lot more new businesses opening up in Peachtree Corners. Just five or six in the last, retail businesses in the last month or two recently opened here in the Forum, Town Center and on I believe Jimmy Carter. So check it out. Brian, I appreciate you being with me. It’s always good to have you and always great to get the right answers. And good answers and solid answers. Thanks, Brian. Thanks everyone. Look out for our next issue. We’re working on it. That’ll be out the in first week of August and just hold some of these dates. There’s the Peachtree Corners festival, which is happening in September, I believe. And so that’s happening at Town Center for the first time. So that’s going to be working out there and then Light Up the Corners. I believe that’s happening in August. So check that out and we’ll be back to you with more information. Thanks everyone.
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