Northwest Cobb leaders predict more growth

Oct. 28—KENNESAW — Northwest Cobb leaders agree: the area is primed for continued economic growth and development.

That was the overriding message during Thursday's "State of Northwest Cobb" panel discussion at the Governors Gun Club in Kennesaw, hosted by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce's Northwest Cobb Area Council and moderated by incoming Cobb Chamber Chair Greg Teague.

Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood and Town Center Community Improvement District Executive Director Tracy Styf shared that message in discussing how their respective communities fit into northwest Cobb's economic landscape.

The mayors said a balanced tax base has allowed their cities to grow and offer new amenities, like Kennesaw's new recreation center at Adams Park. Easterling noted how new business partnerships the city has fostered through the center, including with the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, have been "incredible" for Kennesaw.

"Not only is it a beautiful facility, it's something that the voters, the people in Kennesaw have asked for," Easterling said. "It is us."

Easterling said Kennesaw's tax base has grown significantly since 2017, jumping from $1.3 billion to just over $2 billion over that time period. He stressed that the "live, work, play" lifestyle he and other city leaders around Cobb have pushed for is made possible by that growth.

Also something to look forward to in Kennesaw, Easterling said, is the new amphitheater at Depot Park, which he said the city hopes to open before Christmas.

Similarly, Allegood said Acworth has struck a balance between business and residential that has made new development in the city desirable.

"That balanced tax base has been able to put into place a sustainable tax base whereby we come back and we have in place the revenues long-term to be able to deliver great quality of life services," Allegood said.

Allegood noted the new, mixed-use development known as The Logan coming to Acworth, which he told the MDJ will include residential, hotel, commercial and medical uses and be phased in over the next six years.

"It is going to be the largest development investment in our community," Allegood said. "It's going to create lots of jobs and have a really positive impact on our tax base."

As the Journal reported in August, Marietta-based Lynwood Group submitted a proposal to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for the mixed-use development at Cherokee Street and Old Cherokee Street near Interstate 75 in Acworth.

According to the proposal, the development would include 210,000 square feet of medical space, a hotel, 500 multifamily units, 15,200 square feet of restaurant space and 11,312 square feet for retail.

Allegood said the development will also bring with it a shift in identity for the city.

"We've changed the name of Cherokee Street and changed the name for Glade Road there to kind of signify a new season of development in that area," Allegood said, with the street renamed Allatoona Parkway.

Styf, who heads up the Town Center CID, noted how Town Center mall is also part of the vision for northwest Cobb's future.

She said occupancy of the mall has continued to climb, and with over 92 acres of land, the area is begging for redevelopment, which the CID is plotting through its master plan.

"We have 14 current projects in our plan totaling a little over $100 million," Styf said, including the last phase of the South Barrett Reliever project.

Styf said the CID has "created a very solid framework of infrastructure" to revamp Town Center mall, including new roads and parks, such as 42 acres of greenspace between I-75 and I-575.

"At the end of the day, it's the commercial development community that is going to drive what happens there," Styf said.