The City of Suwanee has purchased a shuttered hotel property near I-85, in keeping with residents' desires to see blighted properties eliminated in the Gateway area.
The former May Queen Hotel, which has been closed for about a year for safety reasons, is now city-owned. The purchase price was $1.25 million, with First Intercontinental Bank being the seller, according to a city news release.
The city plans to demolish the existing structures on the property, which is located at 2955 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, and land-bank the property.
“This purchase represents one more step in the City of Suwanee’s efforts to improve the Suwanee Gateway and ensure the long-term viability of this commercial area,” Mayor Jimmy Burnette said in the news release.
The hotel structure is antiquated, visually unappealing, and financially impractical to rehabilitate, the city said. Also, the property has become a setting for criminal activity.
Suwanee Police Chief Mike Jones said recent calls from the location have included theft, trespassing, manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, and verbal disputes.
“A vacant building like that,” Jones said, “is a magnet for crime."
Suwanee's strategy is similar to that which led to the new police substation, which is also in the Gateway area near I-85. In 2011, Suwanee paid $750,000 for a blighted building and one-acre lot. The shuttered gas station building on that property was razed, and the new police substation opened in September 2012.
One of the top goals cited by residents in Suwanee’s 2020 Vision strategic plan is improving the Gateway, the city’s oldest commercial area. The area extends roughly from I-85 to Satellite Boulevard along Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.
According to City Manager Marty Allen, “Significant improvements in the Gateway area are going to require bold measures like this. We’ve had success in the past in acquiring land, creating a master plan, and turning to the private sector for implementation."
-- What do you think about Suwanee purchasing this property? What should replace the building? Share your thoughts in the comments below.