Updated 1:50 p.m., May 30, 2011
The City of Suwanee has officially closed on property that will become a police substation and is described as a key to the Gateway area's viability.
The lot of approximately one acre, purchased for $750,000, is described by City Manager Marty Allen as "a key to ensuring the area's long-term viability." The Gateway area is Suwanee's oldest business district and one that has gained increasing attention from city leaders.
The blighted lot, at Interstate 85, currently holds a former gas station, car wash and Waffle House. Existing structures will be demolished.
The city has allocated about $1.6 million for construction of the new 7,000 square foot police substation, primarily using 2009 SPLOST funds. Atlanta-based TSW has been retained to design the facility, and Hogan Construction Group of Norcross will build the substation. Construction will begin later this year.
Police Chief Mike Jones envisions “a very visible building that makes a real statement” and that will be utilized as a regional police training facility. This also means Suwanee Police will not have to travel to other areas for training.
The city also will receive $320,000 annually from lease payments on a billboard that will remain on the property, reducing the overall cost.
Suwanee has undertaken several recent efforts to promote the Gateway area. It held a contest this spring involving businesses, and two tickets to a Lady Gaga concert were offered as top prize. Also, hot-air balloon events were planned for April, but were cancelled due to inclement weather.