Updated 9:34 a.m., March 15
After an on-site visit in February, state officials have agreed to seek National Register Historic District status for a major portion of Old Town Suwanee.
The decision means that the lease-purchase deal for the Pierce's Corner building on Main Street is closer to reality. Also, it means owners of income-producing property in the area would be eligible for federal tax credits.
In a letter to Suwanee dated March 1, Amanda Schraner of the state Department of Natural Resources said, "We believe that the district meets the criteria for listing in the National Register and has been documented to National Register standards. ... We will schedule the district for nomination to the National Register Review Board as soon as possible once we receive the list of property owners."
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City officials already have sent to the state the required list of property owners.
Also, Schraner's letter noted, "We will also be scheduling a public information meeting in conjunction with your office to discuss any concerns and answer questions that residents might have."
Boundaries of the proposed district have been extended beyond the original scope. They include some homes on Main Street whose owners had earlier asked to be excluded from the district.
Efforts to establish the district began with the deal in December 2011 to sell Pierce's Corner, which dates to 1910, to a group led by Norcross attorney Michael Deming Sr.
Deming has made it clear that tax credits from a historic district were essential to completing the deal. Those credits would be worth some $300,000, more than the purchase price for the Pierce's Corner site.
Deming's group wants to redevelop the building to include a ground floor restaurant, and a so-called incubator for business start-ups in the upper level.