The City of Tucker is looking at a project that will transform an industrial site into an incredibly charming, 88-acre community. This is a huge development that would sit a couple miles from I-285 and less than a mile from downtown Tucker.
I have a little bit of an inside scoop on Tucker – my wife’s family moved there about 35 years ago when they lived just off Jimmy Carter in a house that was surrounded by horse farms and cow pastures. The area in southern Gwinnett has since been overrun with nondescript strip malls, apartments and industrial buildings. Aside from the old buildings on Main Street, charming is not a word that would describe Tucker these days. With this project, however, that could quickly change.
This development, called The Rise, would sit on 88 acres currently occupied by some industrial buildings and next to an old Sears building, which is rumored to be under consideration for conversion into a film studio. Macauley Investments is proposing the development.
It’s owner, Stephen Macauley, was part of the original group that is currently developing the massive old GM factory off I-285 in Doraville. That project is anchored by Third Rail Studios, a film studio that recently opened its doors.
The estimated $300 million Tucker project would include 192,000 square feet of retail space, 88,000 square feet of office space, 705 housing units, senior living space and a new elementary school and daycare. Tenants would include a grocery store, a brewpub and a food-hall concept, kind of similar to Ponce City Market. The project will be highly walkable and the renderings even include ‘millennial rental units.’
This development is another example of a suburban city making steps to significantly improve its downtown corridor into a mixed-use, walkable city center.
There is fierce competition underway among metro Atlanta cities to attract quality development with 15-hour clientele. The retail market is undergoing significant changes as many big-box retail outlets are closing down storefronts to instead focus on their online sales.
This is leaving the retail market to restaurants, service-oriented businesses and other mom-and-pop businesses. Experts are designing these new developments so that there is a smart mix of office and residential that can play off each other to give these smaller businesses customers during the workday, as well as at night and on the weekends.
The Rise in Tucker is yet another town center being designed by Alpharetta master planner Wakefield Beasley & Associates. They designed Avalon, The Battery next to Suntrust Park, Iconic in Sugar Hill and several others.
The Rise will require the City Council to approve a rezoning of the property from its current industrial zoning, to one that allows for the kind of mixed-use that is being proposed. Some residents have complained about the increase in traffic, as well as the cutting down of trees on the rear of the site. In response, the developer seems to be working with the city to install a traffic light and has agreed to plant enough new trees on the site that the tree canopy will be increased over the long run, according to one news account.
The development is scheduled to go before the City Council July 24. If approved, the developer is prepared to start demolition of existing buildings within the next few months and could begin building by summer of 2018.