With Baxter building a plant near Covington and other businesses expanding in the area, growth is coming to cities and towns east of Atlanta.
With signs of economic recovery, Four A International sees a rare opportunity to plan for this growth in an orchestrated way and to create a unique place that allows Conyers and Rockdale County to reap the benefits of this growth, not just react to it.
As the economy begins to rebound, the timing is right to create a new place with new choices that meet the needs of current and future residents and employers.
These are not the days of "build it and they will come."
That outmoded development mentality left scars on Rockdale County and numerous counties across the country.
It's time to do things differently, to offer new choices.
The Four A team is focused on creating a market-responsive development. We will pre-lease commercial space and pre-sale residential space. And, we won't build without committed demand.
Resulting from the Development of Regional Impact study, the Atlanta Regional Commission with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority have found that our proposed development is in the best interest of the region, and therefore, of the state.
Having owned the property since the early 1980s, Four A has a vested interest in seeing its land developed in a high caliber, economically sustainable way.
It is my responsibility to Four A - and, in turn, the community - to ensure that this property is a financial success. We must create something that the market demands and will respond to.
That's why we are working to ensure that from its very beginning, the new neighborhood will include a mixture of residential, office, retail, entertainment, and recreational options.
Four A's business objectives are therefore aligned with Conyers' and Rockdale County's interests.
This won't happen overnight. It will be done patiently, in multiple phases over more than a decade. But with economic growth headed our way, now is the time to begin.
At full build out, plans call for 303,300 square feet of retail, 202,200 square feet of office and 1,451 homes (726 single-family detached, 435 multifamily, and 290 townhomes).
With this configuration, the development is expected to generate approximately 2,500 temporary construction jobs and around 1,400 permanent jobs that will result in an estimated $57.3 million in annual payroll.
And, this new neighborhood is anticipated to generate $10.5 million in property and sales taxes annually for Conyers and Rockdale County. The property taxes alone represent more than a 25 percent increase in what Conyers currently collects annually.
We understand the cost of development. And, we are prepared to pay our fair share to ensure there is proper infrastructure to support this neighborhood's growth. We're continuing discussions with the school system, Rockdale Water Resources, the city, the county and others to help ensure such needs are coordinated.
The numerous conversations we've had with residents and business and civic leaders the past few months - including the open house we hosted in late May that was attended by more than 40 people - have revealed a lot of misinformation about our proposed development.
To continue to get the facts out, we're making more frequent updates to NewChoicesForConyers.com.
Those that sign up to receive news from us will have updates emailed to them at least once a month. Indeed, we encourage continued dialog.
David Roper is asset manager for Four A International and leads the development of this proposed mixed-use development.
The Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission will vote on the Four A development July 11 and the City Council is slated to take up a vote on rezoning for the development on July 17.
To see David Shipp's column on the Four A development and promotional video, go to www.rockdalenews.com or see the June 15 edition of The Rockdale News.