Posted: Wednesday, September 26th 2012 at 5:13am
Local developer pitches plan for largest apartment community in Hall Co.
GAINESVILLE - Local developer McKibbon-Robison has announced plans for an $8 million gated apartment community off Thompson Bridge Road. Plans for the 288-unit Riverbrook Village apartments will be presented publicly for the first time Monday evening October 1 at the Hall County Planning Commission meeting. The planned 22-acre site is located on Price Road across from the Lanier Village Estates retirement community off Thompson Bridge Road.
If approved by the Hall County Commission, the Riverbrook Village apartments would become the largest apartment community in unincorporated Hall County while providing a timely investment to a local economy that has undergone an extended housing-market downturn in recent years.
“This would be the area’s first new apartment community of this size in several years,” said developer Steve McKibbon, a principal with locally based McKibbon-Robison. “Furthermore, we intend for the economic success of this project to be shared by our entire community. We will focus on hiring locally as much as possible in our construction and eventually generating local jobs.”
Hall County also would benefit much sooner from development impact fees, estimated to range up to $300,000, according to developers.
In a press release, developers said the three-story Riverbrook apartments will target a higher-end market of two primary demographic groups:
•Active seniors who are not quite ready to transition into an assisted-living community
•Younger empty-nester couples with grown children.
In addition, McKibbon envisions interest among area graduate students who prefer not to settle down in a permanent residence for the short term.
“The recession has reshaped life in America in many positive ways. Families are getting back to basics and focusing on greater quality of life. They want to be outside walking or biking. They are telecommuting out of a desire to spend less time in traffic. And many of them don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage right now,” McKibbon said.
Riverbrook will address these new-economy trends, he said, with fiber-optic cable, high-speed Internet service and specific home-office areas set aside within each apartment. The community also will feature several miles of nature trails and wide electric-cart pathways with numerous pocket parks.
McKibbon also plans to utilize the latest rainwater harvesting techniques for landscape irrigation and to convert standard retention basins into aesthetically pleasing “reflection ponds” surrounded by lush vegetation visible from the back decks of several apartments in the planned community.
The Riverbrook apartment plans represent the first phase of a much larger vision of a “walkable community” connecting residences to offices and shopping, including a primary grocery store anchor. McKibbon-Robison has owned the 83-acre Riverbrook Village site since 2007, but plans had been delayed due to the recession.
“We now feel the time is right to move forward,” McKibbon said. “Plus, in our talks with potential commercial tenants, it is clear that they are interested in more rooftops before they commit to Riverbrook.”
McKibbon said this feedback was responsible for changing his original plans for a much smaller 61-townhome development, which had already been approved under a Planned Residential Development (PRD) zoning.
“We would envision all grading being completed by the first of next year (2013) and construction of the first phase of approximately 80 apartments to begin shortly afterward and completed by the end of 2014,” Robison said.
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