MILTON, Ga. — The Deerfield Parkway area of Milton could be on the edge of a major development boom and could play host to region’s next large mixed-use development. Meanwhile, developments in the city’s most densely built node are primed for a possible refresh.
The city’s Community Development department has been engaged with developers and current owners of business complexes in the area as it charts a path forward for the area. A highlight of those discussions has been the possible development of a 38-acre tract of land sandwiched between Deerfield Parkway and Ga. 9. The site includes the Fry’s Electronics that is now out of business.
Community Development Director Bob Buscemi said there is a push among the city and the site’s owners to create a mixed-use development on the property, one that could rival already established complexes like Avalon in Alpharetta or Halcyon in Forsyth County.
Buscemi recently showcased a concept of what such a development could look like to the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee that is drafting Milton’s long-term blueprint for development and city goals.
“We are having ongoing, positive conversations regarding the development and redevelopment of that 38-acre parcel,” Buscemi told the Herald. “There are studies being done for a master plan for that area that could lead to a special live, work and play environment that could include a hotel, movie theaters, amphitheaters, public art, restaurants and the like. We’d expect such a development should also be accessible and attractive to younger residents looking for that more urban lifestyle.”
Avalon and Halcyon has shown that such mixed-use developments can prosper in the area, and Buscemi is confident a similar development would be successful in Milton.
“Generally, we believe large mixed-use developments like these could thrive in Milton,” he said. North Fulton has the labor base for businesses such as financial institutions, technology companies, law firms, and such that we believe could love to call Milton home, both during and after work.”
In his presentation to the CPAC, Buscemi said the project could include a central commercial “spine,” a parking structure, greenspaces, amenities like an amphitheater and a mixture of homes, from single-family detached homes and apartments. He added the architecture would still be consistent with the city’s rural character.
Meanwhile, the Kohl’s/Target shopping center just across Webb Road could also be redeveloped. In talks with the owners of the development, Busecmi said there is a proposal to create mixed-use buildings with retail on the ground floor and residences above, greenspaces, a parking structure and a boutique hotel between the two major retailers.
Buscemi said a boutique hotel would be greatly beneficial to the city’s tax base. Milton currently has just one hotel within its borders.
Buscemi also forecasts the potential buildout of a 10-acre property between Deerfield, Ga. 9 and the Avensong neighborhood. The current concept shows a fully commercial site with a parking structure shielded by retailers with buffers to adjacent homes. Buscemi said at 10-acres, the site could be fully self-supported without residential uses.
The Deerfield Parkway area is of distinct interest to developers, Buscemi said, because it is the city’s eastern gateway, its access to Ga. 9 and Ga. 400 and other amenities in the area, like Avalon and the Big Creek Greenway.
“People who live here also can enjoy terrific schools, restaurants and places where they can get necessities,” he said. “Yet, Deerfield is special in that you can have all these great things, then, two miles away, drive through bucolic settings with picturesque horse farms and overhanging trees. There are few places, if any, in metro Atlanta or even the country that can offer that.”
To anchor these new and refreshed developments, Milton is attempting to woo a Fortune 500 company into calling the city home, Buscemi said.
“In addition to any new businesses and/or development coming in, there’s a lot in the works to improve the Deerfield area,” he said. “Critical transportation projects, like the widening of Ga. 9, Morris Road, and Ga. 400, the McGinnis Ferry interchange, as well as a concerted efforts to bolster walkability…are already in the works. The City is excited to see these improvements come to fruition, then to build off them to making Deerfield an even more accessible on foot and by car.”