The mixed-use development on 34 acres would be placed next to 53 acres, on the northwest corner of Barrett and Cobb parkways, which was already annexed from the county into Kennesaw by a unanimous City Council vote in February.
The property owners of the 34 acres, listed as Amak Partners, L.P. and Masal Partners Ltd., L.P., live in Vancouver, Canada. They are the same owners under contract to sell the first 53-acre portion to be developed by Atlanta-based Fuqua Development.
Last week, attorney Garvis Sams, of the Marietta-based firm Sams, Larkin, Huff and Balli, LP, who represents the land owners, told the Planning Commission the second development does not have a builder attached to the project. But three premier developers are in the running to be selected in the next two months, Sams said.
The two projects would total $200 million, Sams said, generating more than $1 million in yearly tax revenue to the city, compared to the current use as an old mobile home park contributing “negligible” tax dollars.
“We ask you to seize this opportunity tonight,” Sams said to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend the annexation. The City Council is expected to vote on the annexation after a public hearing Monday evening.
Councilmembers Debra Williams and Jim Sebastian were among those who attended last week’s Planning Commission hearing.
Sams said the designs are still in the conceptual stage, but when the purchase of the land closes in a few months, he will return with more comprehensive plans, including elevation drawings and renderings, to give to both the Planning Commission and City Council.
“So they kind of get another bite of the apple, so to speak,” Sams said about future rounds of approvals.
Sams said the existing site plan has 328 rental apartments, which could be owner-occupied condominiums in the future, with nine-foot-high ceilings and granite countertops. The apartments are mostly one or two bedrooms to attract young professionals who don’t have school-age children, Sams said.
There will also be 49 townhomes with a price tag of at least $300,000 each, Sams said, as well as commercial retail space.
The sale of the first property annexed into the city should be closed by the end of summer, Sams said. Groundbreaking is planned for fall, with buildings starting to rise by summer 2015.
The 450,000-square-foot shopping center, anchored by Whole Foods Market, would open no later than fall 2016, Sams said.
The entire block of 81 acres, including the newest piece to be annexed, is part of Kennesaw’s expansion strategy for future growth, targeting properties that are “prime for development,” Mayor Mark Mathews said in February.
“This application is the culmination of five years of work,” Sams said about the leadership by city officials and staff.
By annexing the 34 acres for a “planned village community” development, the city would absorb the rest of Castle Lake Mobile Home Parks, which continues to house dozens of families, many of whom are Spanish-speaking Latino residents.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the city provided an interpreter to deliver information not only about the current case, but also updates on other development project already approved.
Almost 100 residents, including young children, who saw the zoning sign placed by city staff, attended the public hearing.
In February, more than 50 adults with their children tried to stop the Fuqua development. But unlike the last hearing where mothers cried and fathers pleaded with the council not to tear families apart from one another in the close-knit community, this time the group elected a spokesperson to seek exact answers.
A mother of two daughters, Jacqueline Lopez, 29, said she did not realize until the staff presentation that the case was about another project on the land, instead of an update on the Fuqua development.
“There is no communication from management,” Lopez said about Castle Lake Mobile Home Park that still has new residents moving in.
But Lopez said she has made an effort to talk with city staff to stay informed, “and that is why these people trust me.”
By law, Sams said Fuqua Development representatives are not allowed to contact residents of Castle Lake until the company closes on the property.
Fuqua Development will be able to issue a timeline by the end of this month for when families will need to relocate and what help will be provided to get them moved by the fall.
Sams told the Planning Commission, “One of the most important impacts (of approving the annexation) is to the people seated behind me.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Sams told the families for latest annexation case in the western half of the mobile home park, each head of household would receive a minimum of $2,500, “to use as they please.”
The mobile park has 320 homes, so half the amount would be 160 families for a total of $400,000, Sams said. Help will also be given to identify mobile parks with available space.
At the first annexation hearing in February, Mathews gave his word that the families of Castle Lake would be treated fairly and be placed in a better situation than how they have lived under the existing management.
By the end of that meeting, Sams said Jeff Fuqua, who formed Fuqua Development in March 2012, pledged to form a committee to relocate families.
Sams said Fuqua has hired a professional relocation consulting group and he “would not be surprised” if Fuqua also gives money to each household.