Suwanee officials have gotten a "thumbs up" from state officials to apply for National Register Historic District status for part of the Old Town area.
Such status is seen as crucial to the completion of the lease-purchase deal for Pierce's Corner on Main Street.
In June, an official with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources sent Suwanee officials a letter that said the Old Town district "appears to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."
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This comes after city officials sent the state a preliminary inquiry on the matter, and after city officials met with Old Town residents on the matter in March.
Consequently, Suwanee leaders now plan to submit a formal application in September, according to Denise Brinson, the city's economic development director.
However, at the state's urging, Suwanee will expand the scope of its proposed district. Already, Main Street and the iconic Everett's Music Barn were included. However, the formal application also will include Suwanee First United Methodist Church, which is on Scales Road and which is more than 100 years old.
The state's letter to Suwanee said, "It appears ... that there are contiguous historic buildings northeast of the proposed boundary on Main Street."
In March, city officials met with Old Town property owners inside Pierce's Corner to discuss the plans for the National Register Historic District. Also at that meeting was Norcross attorney Michael Deming Sr., who is leading the group that has the lease-purchase deal for Pierce's Corner.
Deming Sr. said then that the deal is "not feasible" unless he obtains the tax credits that a historic district would bring. And that status would be easier to obtain if a wider geographic area in Old Town was included.
Tax credits of up to $300,000 -- more than the would-be $258,000 purchase price for Pierce's Corner -- would become available to the Deming Group.
Deming's plans for Pierce's Corner, which is now vacant, include a restaurant on the ground floor and an upstairs facility that would serve as an incubator for start-up businesses.
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