Gaining ground: Kennesaw mayor touts plans to annex property, develop downtown
by Rachel Gray
January 15, 2014 12:01 AM | 6534 views | 10 10 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews delivers his annual state of the city address at Tuesday’s Kennesaw Business Association luncheon at the KSU Center. He discussed plans to annex 53 acres of county property at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews delivers his annual state of the city address at Tuesday’s Kennesaw Business Association luncheon at the KSU Center. He discussed plans to annex 53 acres of county property at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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KENNESAW — Mayor Mark Mathews in his 2014 State of the City address told a crowd of more than 200 people Tuesday the city will emerge from the stifled economy by annexing 53 acres of county property at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway.

Mathews said the plan is to close the Castle Lake Mobile Home Park, which has tenants, and build a 400,000-square-foot retail space anchored by a natural grocer, regional sporting goods store, restaurants and specialty shops.

The site is southeast of the city in unincorporated Cobb County.

The Atlanta-based Fuqua Development, which is under contract to purchase the land, is working with the property owners and going through the application process to annex the parcels into the Kennesaw city limits, Mathews said.

Mathews said the Kennesaw City Council will vote on the annexation in the first quarter of 2014 and the plan would have to be reviewed by the Atlanta Region Commission, an unelected intergovernmental agency.

From outside of Kennesaw, Mathews moved Tuesday’s focus to the center of the city, talking about revitalization on Main Street.

For years the city has been laying the groundwork for redevelopment of downtown, but “this will be the year we make major progress in that direction,” Mathews said.

The initiative began in 2008, as parcels of land owned by four different property owners were assembled into a 5-acre plot, which was bought by Kennesaw’s Urban Redevelopment Agency with a $2.8 million bond issuance.

Mathews said the future mixed-use development is planned to include 250 apartments, more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space and an additional 300 public parking spaces.

Construction will take 15 to 18 months, and the new space should be open by the end of summer 2015.

The developer is Atlanta-based South City Partners, which is the same company used to develop the West 22 student housing community at Cherokee Street and McCollum Parkway near Kennesaw State University.

At Tuesday’s luncheon, Mathews highlighted West 22 as a former “neglected” trailer park that was “targeted by the city for redevelopment.”

‘Let’s Build It’ theme

The economic development of Kennesaw will become even more stable as the city collects more in tax revenue as new businesses move into the area and property values rise, Mathews said.

Tuesday’s address was meant to highlight “the work (the city of Kennesaw) has done to stay ahead of the curve,” Mathews said. “Some projects have been a long time coming.”

Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said he always comes to Kennesaw’s State of the City because Mathews is a good friend and the city of Kennesaw, which neighbors Acworth, is a good partner.

Allegood said he knew positive economic news would be a part of Tuesday’s address because most cities in Cobb are feeling a recovery with “an overall renewed confidence in investing in new business.”

Three years ago, Winston Agebebiyi joined the Kennesaw Business Association, which played host to Tuesday’s event, and this is his first year on the KBA’s board.

Agebebiyi is a certified public accountant who opened his own firm, Meridian Consulting, in Kennesaw more than three years ago after moving to Cobb from Michigan in 2006.

Agebebiyi said he wanted to hear about initiatives that would partner residents with the city, including how to prepare the community for an ever-growing college on the Kennesaw boarder.

Mathews also highlighted Kennesaw State University for celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013 and announcing the addition of a football program.

Agebebiyi said “with Kennesaw State University busting at the seams,” it is a great time to focus on downtown, and possibly add more options for entertainment.

Comments
(10)
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H Martin
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February 14, 2014
This is great news for Kennesaw and Cobb County!! With the Braves and KSU - we are looking at great things to happen. Think of all the new jobs it will also bring!
ARC Comment is Wrong
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February 18, 2014
Note: Despite what the Mayor said, the Atlanta Region Comission (ARC) will not review or consider the annexation or proposed development as the site falls below the threshold for such a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) review.
Susan Norris
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February 13, 2014
I hate the thought of uprooting families and dismantling a community and calling it progress. I wouldn't want my neighborhood purchased, forcing me out of my home. Would you? There seems to be plenty of land up and down 41 and Barrett Parkway that wouldn't uproot anyone.
debbie hill
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February 13, 2014
It is sad that they are considering this.... perhaps another location that doesn't uproot so many families would be better? I have friends who live here.... it would be a shame for them to have to relocate just to help Kennesaw's "revitalization" efforts.... seriously!? I say look for another location....
Diane Johnson
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February 04, 2014
How about the property on US 41 and Kennesaw Due West Road. Thisnhas been an eye sore for to long. What are the plans for this property?
City Resident
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January 15, 2014
I really hate that I missed this event. I would have taken the opportunity to ask the mayor what the heck is going on with Sardis Street. This street has been a mess for months! It makes one antsy when politicians talk about making big changes, when something like the construction on this street takes way to much time to complete.
Mark Mathews
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January 15, 2014
I'm sorry you were not able to attend and also want to make sure you know that you can reach out to me any time if you have a question. I typically do not respond to no name questions but always happy to discuss anything directly with a real person. As for the Sardis Street Project...What a frustration!!!... the initial delays were a result of scheduling problems and weather related delays with utility companies and their need to relocate their equipment. Once we cleared those ridiculously delayed hurdles, it appears that the contractor has decided to blow us off. We have had to request the "Performance Bonds" be utilized to find another contractor. As of today the insurance company for the Performance Bond Company is making arrangements with another contractor and I hope to see construction resume as quickly as possible. It's extremely frustrating for all of us when contractors can't deliver what they have agreed to do. Thanks for the inquiry.
Erica Winston
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January 15, 2014
"Mathews said the future mixed-use development is planned to include 250 apartments, more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space and an additional 300 public parking spaces."

All this means is Kennesaw will continue on the path it has been on for the past decade. More traffic. More poor people moving into more apartments. More noise. More crime and violence. It is a sad state of affairs when a mobile home park is the safer option to a development. Marietta is buying up apartment complexes because of crime and poverty. It is obvious many of these people who once lived in these Marietta apartments are relocating to Acworth and Kennesaw. We need less apartments. Not more. This mayor is only concerned about projects and tax dollars and the appearance of improvements.

Concerned resident
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January 17, 2014
What does a trailer park in unincorporated Cobb have to do with

"downtown" Kennesaw?? Nothing at all!! This is just a land grab to facilitate corporate profit. Do Kennesaw politicians have some connection to Fuqua Development? Because they are the ones who stand to profit here. Something here stinks!!!
Maria Del Carman Rom
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January 26, 2014
So what are they gonna do with the people you live in those trailers. I think it's not fair
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