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Peachtree Corners Officials See Continued Smart Growth in City’s Future



The Forum Boulevard during tree lighting and festivities.

A crystal ball isn’t needed for city councilmembers and the city manager to predict good things in store for 2023 and beyond.

Peachtree Corners has seen a lot of changes in 2022 and has a lot more on the horizon. Peachtree Corners Magazine had a conversation with City Manager Brian Johnson about what has had a considerable impact on the city this past year and what he sees as significant factors for its future.

Brian Johnson

If you think of the city as a corporation, Johnson is the CEO, with the City Council as the board of directors. Although council sets policy, it’s his job to advise council as to the financial condition and future needs of the city.

Subsequently, he makes recommendations to the City Council concerning affairs of the city, and he facilitates the work of City Council in developing and implementing policy. Johnson is also responsible for assisting in developing long term goals for the city and strategies to implement those goals.

Looking back at Peachtree Corners’ economic development success, one must look at the city’s fundamentals. As the largest city in Gwinnett County, it assesses no city property tax. It currently uses effective partnerships with established businesses, start-ups and government entities to further its goals of remaining prosperous without increasing the tax burden on residents.

“That’s a huge plus for our city,” said Johnson. “We have one of the healthiest and most vibrant business communities in the area.”

The smart growth built into the city’s master plan allows for more residential and commercial properties to come online, but only when and where it makes sense to the existing footprint and where the city wants to be in the next few decades.

Retail, mixed-use growth

This year saw the rebranding of The Forum. New owners North American Properties had a vision to take an aging facility and breathe new life into it.

“[It will be] downtown Peachtree Corners, all of it, and you see that in our branding,” North American Properties (NAP) Co-Managing Partner Tim Perry said when the company unveiled the name. What was once The Forum at Peachtree Parkway, became The Forum at Peachtree Corners.

Tim Perry

Perry explained that 20 years ago, there was no city of Peachtree Corners. Now that the municipality exists, North American wants The Forum to be the de facto downtown, the gathering spot, the place where neighbors come together.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about experiences,” Perry said.

The typical resident may grab breakfast or coffee in the morning, a business lunch in the afternoon and drinks and/or dinner in the evening with friends. They may be part of a cornhole league or bring the kids to the playground and grab dessert before bedtime.

With zoning changes, the area will see an increase in residential offerings. That doesn’t just apply to The Forum, but to the Town Center across the street as well. The residential component is being included to support the restaurants and retail located at The Forum.

After what may have been the longest City Council meeting in Peachtree Corners history, North American Properties received approval in August to add apartments and a boutique hotel to the area adjacent to The Forum, and to add apartments across the street in the area at Town Center. When the projects are complete, NAP will have invested over $450 million in revitalizing that area of Peachtree Corners.

City officials have touted the redevelopment as a major boost to the area where Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners Circle and Medlock Bridge Road intersect each other.

“I would say I’m excited about the vision that North American Properties has,” Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick told Gwinnett Daily News. “I love the concept of sort of a downtown that’s got your density. I like looking at this area as a triangle. You’ve got both sides of the road and the [Peachtree Corners] bridge connects it, not only from a public safety standpoint, but also from an economic development standpoint. I think that will pay dividends once this is done.”

Bringing new businesses

With business incubators Atlanta Tech Park and Curiosity Lab attracting established and newly formed companies to the area, the growth will expand concentrically with a need for support services, said Johnson.

“Just like an auto plant needs support vendors who make car seats or windows or engine parts, companies like Siemens need smaller support businesses,” he said.

In March, international technology powerhouse Siemens announced a $100 million capital program aimed at advancing the decarbonization goals of small- to medium-sized enterprises. This infusion of capital will help small and medium businesses in the U.S. jumpstart their decarbonization efforts.

“Small and medium sized enterprises are the backbone of our economy, yet they may not have access to the same capital as our country’s largest corporations when it comes to making sustainability improvements,” said Anthony Casciano, CEO of Siemens Financial Services, in a press release. “We are launching this loan program to ensure essential resources for these companies are available to keep pace with our nation and economy’s climate goals.”

Anthony Casciano

Johnson said this type of corporate “paying it forward” benefits everyone with more job opportunities, a more diverse economy and a wealth of suppliers for the larger company. “This is the way it’s supposed to work,” he noted. “Success begets more success.”

Similarly, Intuitive Surgical announced in August 2021 that it will spend more than $500 million to expand its Peachtree Corners campus. A major player in the robotic surgery systems industry, the company is expanding its decade-old Peachtree Corners location to 750,000 square feet of manufacturing and engineering operations, training facilities for surgeons and hospital care teams, and administrative offices.

Intuitive Robotics had a mobile demonstration truck at the Peachtree Corners Festival this past summer.

When the project is complete in 2024, the company expects to have grown its 180 local jobs to 1,200.

And, as Johnson noted earlier, any major manufacturer will need the support of smaller businesses. “And Peachtree Corners is the perfect place for that,” he said.

City Councilmembers Weigh In

Peachtree Corners Magazine asked elected officials about their assessment of past developments in Peachtree Corners and their visions for the future. They pretty much all agreed about what had the biggest impact on the city so far, but their statements about what they see ahead are quite diverse.

Question: What do you think made the biggest impact this year in Peachtree City’s economic growth and development?

Weare Gratwick: There are two events that have made a large impact in 2022. First, Intuitive Surgical, which was announced prior to 2022 but has swung into high gear this year as their expansion is well underway. Most recently, the Intuitive Surgical project was awarded the Large Community Deal of the Year by the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) — a big deal. The second is the North American Properties acquisition of The Forum, where their improvements have begun and are already evident.

Weare Gratwick

Lori Christopher: Intuitive Surgical’s decision to choose Peachtree Corners for the headquarters, North American Properties decision to acquire the Forum and Curiosity Lab’s impact on autonomous development and innovation.

Eric Christ: I think the purchase of The Forum by North American Properties would be this year’s most significant economic development initiative. Having a new owner for the largest retail center in the city will be critical to reinvigorating the economic heart of our downtown area. North America’s long-term commitment to The Forum and, by extension, to the Town Center, will position Peachtree Corners to avoid the fate of other areas hamstrung by a dying retail center like Gwinnett Place Mall or North DeKalb Mall.

Alex Wright: Biggest impact — landing of the Intuitive Surgical expansion ($600 million investment and 1,500 new jobs). This was the largest economic development win in Gwinnett County history.

Question: What do you envision moving Peachtree Corners forward in the coming year and beyond in terms of economic growth and development?

Weare Gratwick: These two events will have momentum over the next 5-plus years as they are implemented. We want to continue to support our businesses near The Forum and Town Center, and in Tech Park as well, as we continue to seek redevelopment projects that can enhance the southern end of our community. Our Redevelopment Authority, made up of Peachtree Corners citizens, has been working hard towards that endeavor.

Lori Christopher: I envision Peachtree Corners in the coming year and beyond to continue to lead the way in innovation that benefits not only our community, but also the world with our strategic partnerships, our community leadership and remarkable city team. This collaboration provides jobs and economic growth for our area.

Lori Christopher

Eric Christ: Looking ahead to 2023, I think the city’s focus should be on the Holcomb Bridge Road/Jimmy Carter Boulevard Corridor. Specifically, what actions can the City Council or our Redevelopment Authority take to promote redevelopment in those areas of the city? I believe we can take some lessons from the Atlanta BeltLine initiative and identify opportunities to amenitize that corridor with trails, playgrounds, public gathering areas, bike lanes, sidewalks, street furniture (benches, trash cans), improved lighting, security cameras, wayfinding signage, etc. By creating a sense of connection, we can increase economic activity, reduce crime and spur the redevelopment of the aging residential, commercial and retail properties along that corridor.

Eric Christ

Alex Wright:  Moving forward — continued expansion of Curiosity Lab. This will include expanding not just the campus, but also the routes that the AV shuttles will be moving along with the ultimate goal of connecting Tech Park with the Town Center/Forum (aka Downtown Peachtree Corners). Our biggest hinderance to making this happen continues to be the Georgia DOT, but we are making progress.

Alex Wright

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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City Government

Peachtree Corners Receives Sixth Straight Distinguished Budget Presentation Award



Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

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City Government

Temporary Closures of Portions of the Town Center Parking Deck Through Summer



Peachtree Corners Town Center

Beginning March 21, 2023, portions of the parking deck located in the Peachtree Corners Town Center will be closed to perform maintenance, repairs and area improvements.

These closures will affect the entrances immediately in front of Lazy Dog Restaurant, the entrance entering the lower deck closest to the CineBistro parking lot, and the southern ramp section in the area of the electric vehicle charging stations. 

Peachtree Corners Town Center

During the closures, from March 21 to March 23, all entry into the deck must be done through the lower deck entrances across from CineBistro.  The entrance nearest the traffic circle fountain will be temporarily closed to facilitate materials delivery for the project.

Peachtree Corners Town Center

Following delivery, this entrance will be reopened for the duration of the project.  Additionally, the ramp providing access to the upper level of the deck will remain open throughout the project.

During this time, the vehicle charging stations will also be inaccessible.

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City Government

Peachtree Corners City Council Recognizes GCPD Officers



During the Council Meeting on February 28, the City of Peachtree Corners recognized three Gwinnett County Police Department Officers — Officers Dillon Burk, Aleksandar Panayotov and Amber Brown — for their actions last November.

The three officers worked quickly to stop alleged suspects involved in victimizing Peachtree Corners businesses.

City Manager Brian Johnson issued the following Proclamation:

A Declaration of The City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia Recognizing Officers Dillon Burk, Aleksandar Panayotov, and Amber Brown

WHEREAS, On Nov. 8, 2022 West Precinct officers were dispatched to a burglary at the SS Food Mart and Vape. A video was obtained showing four suspects smashing the front door.

WHEREAS, Detectives were contacted by Officer Burk, who recognized one of the suspects in the video as a juvenile he had previously been arrested on a shoplifting call alongside an adult.

WHEREAS, On November 12, Officer Burk and Officer Panayotov performed a traffic stop on a car with plates that did not match the vehicle. The driver was the adult female previously arrested for shoplifting with the juvenile. There was a book bag in the car that the officers recalled seeing in the burglary video. The female was taken to headquarters and interviewed by Officer Burk and Officer Brown. During the interview, the suspect disclosed her involvement in the burglary, as well as the location of the stolen goods, which were at the juvenile’s home.

WHEREAS, A search warrant was obtained and stolen items were found. The female suspect was charged with burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT DECLARED by the Mayor and Council of the City of Peachtree Corners that these officers be recognized for their good police work, for without it, the suspects would have likely continued victimizing businesses in Peachtree Corners.

SO DECLARED on this the day of 28th day of February 2023.

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