Economic development breakfast focuses on future projects and development
(GWINNETT- METRO ATLANTA) August 12, 2015— Partnership Gwinnett hosted its Economic Development Breakfast on the Future of the Sugarloaf Corridor at Gwinnett Center last week. The sellout event, attended by more than 200 local business and community leaders, focused on Gwinnett’s economy and future growth in the Sugarloaf Corridor, including three hotels coming in the next 20 months and the “indoor groundbreaking” of Embassy Suites Atlanta Gwinnett-Sugarloaf.
Preston Williams, CEO of Explore Gwinnett and Gwinnett Center, joined a panel of business leaders to share details of the Gwinnett Center Master Plan, which will include a significant transformation of the entire area. The plan’s strategy is to attract upper tier event clients and draw local citizens to a vibrant hotel and entertainment district.
“The goal of our plan is to deliberately provide a sense of destination to the Gwinnett Center area and provide ample opportunity for visitors to linger and for residents to use the space for year-round entertainment,” said Preston Williams, CEO of Explore Gwinnett and Gwinnett Center. “We want to create an environment that utilizes existing amenities, places to work, and places to play, all within walking distance of each other.”
To illustrate his point, Williams shared the timeline for $115 million in new hotel construction, along with Gwinnett Center expansion, renovations to The Arena and new concepts for transportation and parking.
Norwood Davis, CFO of the John Maxwell Company spoke on the creation of the Sugarloaf Community Improvement District (CID). The Sugarloaf CID differs from traditional Gwinnett CIDs, commonly focused on redevelopment. The Sugarloaf CID will focus on expanding existing assets.
“As property owners look at this Sugarloaf area, we’re blessed with great commercial and residential developments, so we really see an opportunity to get ahead of property declines and to increase the quality of life and opportunities for business in the area,” said Norwood Davis, CFO of the John Maxwell Company.
The panel discussions touched on business growth and hiring trends, a factor that must be considered due to changing demographics and the rise of millennials in the workforce.
“This is (Sugarloaf Corridor) downtown Gwinnett,” said Karen Fine Saltiel, Executive Vice President for Primerica, representing the largest employer in the Corridor. “Employees want to come to a place that’s not only a destination for work, but they want to come to place where they can live, work and play and that’s what this area offers.”
The breakfast event also offered a platform to highlight additional developments in the Sugarloaf Corridor including the opening of Honeywell’s Industrial Cyber Security Lab, a $44 million multifamily residential development on Satellite Blvd. and the $100 million Fuqua Development, Sugarloaf Marketplace (see attached list of recent development to the Sugarloaf Corridor). Recent developments represent close to $250 million to the area.
“We are excited to take this important step in realizing Gwinnett’s long-term strategy to bring more convention and local business to the community,” said Nick Masino, Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett. “The Gwinnett Master Plan, the Sugarloaf CID and other major developments in the area are examples of the type of vision that continue to set the Sugarloaf corridor apart as an activity center with wide-ranging, long-lasting economic benefits to Gwinnett County.”
Immediately following the breakfast, participants witnessed the groundbreaking of the Embassy Suites Atlanta Gwinnett-Sugarloaf during what is believed to be the first indoor groundbreaking ceremony, due to heavy rains creating a muddy construction site. The 166-suite hotel, located at 2029 Satellite Blvd., scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016, represents a $30 million investment to the community.
“This is going to be an incredible development for the Gwinnett-Sugarloaf area and we are pleased to partner once again with Hilton on such a great brand” said Alpesh Patel, CEO, Kana Hotel Group. “The Design Option III prototype has been great for us in other locations, and we’re confident that it will be a tremendous success here as well.”
“We are so pleased that Kana Hotel Group has chosen Gwinnett as an ideal location to build one of its Embassy Suites brand hotels,” said Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash. “With the strength of the Gwinnett Center, attracting visitors from all over, Embassy Suites will be a welcomed addition to the Sugarloaf Corridor and to our business community at large.”
Breakfast panelists included: Norwood Davis, CFO of the John Maxwell Company, Alpesh Patel, Owner of Kana Hotel Group, Karen Fine Saltiel, Executive Vice President at Primerica and Preston Williams, CEO of Explore Gwinnett and Gwinnett Center. Lisa Anders, Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, served as the panel moderator.
Among the program’s sponsors and supporters were: Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett Center, Rocket IT, Jackson EMC, CISCO, EMC Security and Leadercast.
The next Partnership Gwinnett Economic Development Breakfast, scheduled for November, will take place at Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta and focus on the film industry in Gwinnett. To register, please visit http://bit.ly/1JQYOXQ.
For more information about the efforts of the award-winning Partnership Gwinnett initiative, please visit www.partnershipgwinnett.com.