WOODSTOCK – Woodstock officials on Thursday announced the city has acquired the final piece of land for a 3.5-acre mixed-use development for downtown, while also picking Morris & Fellows as master developer of the project after a competitive bidding process.
A deal is in place with Morgan’s Hardware to relocate the store to another location near downtown and create the assemblage needed to develop Woodstock City Center, city officials said in a written statement.
Morris & Fellows has worked on the Alpharetta City Center project, as well as a previous projects in downtown Woodstock. The developer was chosen from a pool of four applicants in a competitive request for quote process, according to City Manager Jeff Moon. All applicants submitted bids and interviewed for the project, Moon said on Thursday.
City staff said the Morgan’s site will be added to the city center plan “for purposes of master planning and redevelopment.”
“Over the years, the city has been presented many plans for this land that we knew our citizens would not like, from big boxes to highly dense projects,” said Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques. “We reviewed numerous partner options and proposed plans, and Morris & Fellows is the clear choice based on their history of successful downtown redevelopments and their lower density approach to address our needs and vision. We are very focused on creating a city center in keeping with the existing downtown character and Morris & Fellows shares that vision.”
Cheri Morris, president of Morris & Fellows, Inc., said the city center project was driven by the success of another of the company’s projects with the city, Woodstock Downtown.
“This project would be, visually, an extension of that. We want it to feel as if it belongs in downtown Woodstock,” Morris said. “It would be classical architecture – brick and stone and wood building materials, customized storefronts, which we do on all of our buildings, just a heavily detailed architecture to feel in context with the existing historical buildings that it will sit within.”
Some features of the development include:
• Additional parking.
• Improvements to the intersection of East Main Street and Arnold Mill Road at Main Street and additional pedestrian connectivity in the Arnold Mill corridor
• A mix of retail, professional office, restaurant space and boutique hotel with meeting space
“After looking at options for my property over the last several years, I am pleased that the city has stepped forward to lead redevelopment of the project which will fit with the overall character of downtown Woodstock. It’s also great that the city has agreed to help me with the relocation of our business to a place that will allow easier access for our customers. I am excited that our store will be able to continue to serve our customers and the community for many years to come” said Mike Morgan, owner of Morgan Hardware.
Moon said while a “final financial package” won’t be completed until later in the process, the city has set aside proceeds for the project from the sale of Magnolia Hall event center off on Arnold Mill Road and from the new special purpose local option sales tax approved by voters in November. That money will help pay for a parking deck to be included in the city center plan.
City officials said they will announce a project timeline and other details, including project renderings in a few weeks.