By Natalie Simms
On Tuesday, we will usher in a new year filled with big opportunities in downtown development, health care, education, government and recreation.
The Lofts at Third & Broad, Ira Levy’s retail/residential mixed project, are slated to open late this spring. According to Levy, construction is about five months behind schedule because of a wet fall but framing is now completed, sheetrock is going up and plumbing/electrical are about 80 percent completed. “The rain is just killing it but we anticipate an April occupancy. We finally have it where folks can come through with Hardy Realty to see the units,” says Levy. Four of six retail spaces are leased and 12 of 26 condo units are sold. For more.
Hawthorn Suites expansion: Around the block, Levy plans to start an expansion to the Hawthorn Suites by the spring. On the way is a four-story building with 40 rooms and two large meeting rooms, one with seating for 250 and one with seating for 125, plus a rooftop restaurant/bar. The building will run parallel to the riverfront. “The project is out to bid now and we hope to get those back in January. We have the financing in place, so as long as bids come in within budget, we will get started after the first of the year, hopefully by spring,” says Levy.
West Third residential and retail: Across the Oostanaula River, Wayne Robinson hopes to start construction on his West Third mixed-use development in the spring. The final designs are being completed but the initial plans include 21,896 square feet of retail/restaurant space, 49 apartments, 16 to 24 condos and 146 parking spaces. “We aren’t sure how many retail and restaurant spaces we will have at this point,” says Robinson. “We are still finalizing that now in the design. Once we know how many, then we will start marketing to potential partners.” Robinson says construction will take 18 months or more once things get underway. “Everything is looking great. I am really excited about this project,” he says.
Redmond’s first Urgent Care location in West Rome at 601 Shorter Ave. will open on Jan. 3 with a ribbon cutting with the Rome Floyd Chamber at 10 a.m. Work has begun on Redmond’s second Urgent Care location at 1810 Turner McCall Blvd. with an anticipated opening in the first half of 2019. Both Redmond Urgent Care locations will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Accredited by the Urgent Care Centers of America, Redmond Urgent Care will offer walk-in care for most minor injuries and illnesses, including onsite x-ray and in-house labs.
Also on the way: In Cartersville, the new Cartersville Medical Urgent Care at 10 Main St. Marketplace is nearing completion. Ginger Tyra with Cartersville Medical Center says the office will be open first quarter of 2019. Business hours will be Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more: https://cartersvilleuc.com/services/
Harbin Clinic is also working on its new medical office building at 200 Gentilly Blvd., next door to the current Harbin Clinic Cartersville. The new 34,000 square-foot building is expected to be finished in late summer 2019 and will house both new and expanded specialties.
Collection on the extension to the Education Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) is set to start April 1, 2019 as the current package ends. Both Rome City and Floyd County Schools have already been working on new construction or renovations projects approved in the new E-SPLOST package.
For Rome City Schools, construction is progressing on the new Main Elementary School. The project will be completed by summer 2019 and will open at the start of the new school year in August 2019. Tashia Twyman with RCS says there are also plans to break ground on the new College and Career Academy on the Rome High campus after the first of the year. An exact date has not yet been scheduled.
For Floyd County Schools, the construction of the new gym at Armuchee High School is in progress now with construction wrapping up in 2019. At the end of the school year, McHenry Primary School will close to primary students, but will house 6th and 7th grade students from Pepperell Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year while a new Pepperell Middle School is being built (8th graders will go to Pepperell High). Look for that project to get underway with demolition in the summer and construction starting early fall.
On the ballot: There will be Municipal elections this fall for the Rome City Commission with seats for Ward 1 and Ward 3 on the ballot. Ward 1 commissioners include Bill Irmscher, Milton Slack and Sundai Stevenson and Ward 3 commissioners include Bill Collins, Evie McNiece and Craig McDaniel.
It’s all about the Lincolns (pennies): Collections will begin April 1 on the new $63.8 million 2017 SPLOST package. The Floyd County Commission has approved funding for several projects to begin with the top project being the new medical wing at the Floyd County Jail. Part of that project was included in the 2013 SPLOST ($1.9 million) and will be added to the 2017 funds ($5.2 million) for a total of $7.1 million. “This project will be fully funded in 2019 and will be our number one project,” says Gary Burkhalter, assistant county manager.
- According to Burkhalter, other county projects ahead in 2019 will include $500,000 for improvements at State Mutual Stadium; $485,000 for capital equipment and vehicles in various departments; $210,000 for prison security upgrades; $125,000 for the Historic Courthouse to hire a consultant for project design and space needs analysis; $100,000 for Public Works facility design; $96,000 for Public Safety technology upgrades; $75,000 for recreation needs; and $10,000 for E-911.
- As for the City, the first project of the 2017 SPLOST was the installation of the new scoreboard at Barron Stadium. City Manager Sammy Rich says their top priority has been the public safety funded items such as patrol cars for the Rome Police Department. “I expect we will have a more in-depth prioritization once we are able to determine if the county wants to issue a bond to cash flow the projects. I would expect those decisions to come from our next planning retreat which will be in early spring,” he says.
The Rome Braves return for their 17th season in Rome this April with the first home game on April 11. The county will be funding approximately $500,000 in improvements to State Mutual Stadium later this year with matching funds from the Atlanta Braves’ organization. Braves General Manager Jim Bishop says they don’t yet have a timetable for the projects that will include a new scoreboard, new sound system and improved security among other items. The Braves will also have a new field manager to coach the team in 2019; look for that announcement any day now says Bishop.
LakePoint Sporting Community exited bankruptcy on Dec. 21 after reorganizing to emerge with a strong financial footing and path towards sustained growth. Ahead in 2019, the completion of the $29 million Lakepoint Parkway road project connecting Allatoona Road to Red Top Mountain will be completed late spring. Once completed, the North Campus will be opened up for further development.
- Also ahead in 2019 at LakePoint, the partnership with Prep Baseball Report will begin. PBR will operate LakePoint’s baseball fields once Perfect Game exits in 2020. The first PBR tournament at LakePoint is planned for spring 2019.
And some wild cards to watch in the new year:
- Rome’s Kmart site: At last report, Ledbetter Properties was negotiating with Rome KIM for control of the former Kmart site and surrounding acreage. The latest rumors (and only rumors): An Old Navy store and 5 Below (upscale dollar store).
- Mount Berry Mall: So the plan is to increase the occupancy rate by demolition the Sears wing, allowing for potential outparcel development. We’re six-plus years into the ownership by Hull Properties and they’re lined up for TAD assistance as well. Will 2019 be the year?
- Economic development: At issue are who governs industrial recruitment starting sometime in 2019 and who leads a very “light” edition of the chamber of commerce. Plus: Getting the underfunded runway extension completed at Russell Airport; continued work on four-laning Ga. 140; goosing yet again efforts to build whatever we’re calling the 411 Connector this year; and creating both spec buildings and additional “site-ready” development spots.
- Georgia state government: Gov.-elect Brian Kemp is beginning to name folks to some key positions and the changes extend far beyond the General Assembly (which convenes Jan. 14). So far, Northwest Georgia is on the outside looking in.