Gwinnett commissioners agree to sell bonds for Gwinnett Place purchase
By Arielle Kass, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 3, 2021 - Gwinnett County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to sell up to $25 million worth of bonds to pay for the purchase of property at the Gwinnett Place Mall.
Commissioners last year announced their intention to buy 39 acres of the mall property through their Urban Redevelopment Agency for $23 million. Gwinnett Place, at I-85 and Pleasant Hill Road near Duluth, has long been a target of redevelopment in the county after the current owner, Moonbeam Capital Investments, let it languish.
The bonds will cost the county a maximum of $1.85 million a year for 20 years, with a maximum interest rate of 6%. The final bond pricing will be approved March 2.
The purchase is scheduled to close next month.
What will happen at the mall is an open question. Commissioners said they wanted to ensure that residents will have a say in the eventual proposal for the mall, after some have felt left out of other high-profile development projects in the county.
“I’m in favor of involving citizens,” Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson said. “They’ve essentially paid for it. It’s their property.”
No mechanism for getting public input on the mall’s future is expected before the county closes on the property.
The mall, which opened in 1984, was long considered the center of Gwinnett County. Over the past two decades, it has declined in popularity and anchors and tenants have left.
Three tenants remain: Macy’s, Beauty Master and MegaMart. Each of those anchors own their own property and will not be part of the sale.
Additionally, the former Sears property is owned by a developer, Northwood Ravin.
The county’s Urban Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday also approved the bond sale.