Bank takes new bids on Fischer Crossing

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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Fischer Crossing developer Steve Gaultney spoke with members of the Coweta Board of Zoning Appeals in June.

There's a new delay in the getting the long-stalled Fischer Crossing development in eastern Coweta going again.

Steve Gaultney of Gaultney Development Company in Lawrenceville was working on a development plan for the property, which is currently owned by Synovus Bank.

Gaultney spent several months working with the Coweta County Planning Department to craft a new plan for the site, located at the intersection of Hwys. 34/54 and Fischer Road, near Peachtree City.

Gaultney planned two buildings for the site, one an "anchor tenant" building with a few larger stores, and one a strip with smaller stores. He had plans for future use of outparcels.

He requested several variances to the county's Quality Development Corridor regulations to make the project more feasible from a cost perspective. The Coweta County Board of Commissioners denied most of those requests in July, but did approve a few.

After the vote in July, Gaultney said he didn't know if he would be able to go forward with the project, because of the added cost, but that he was hopeful. He estimated the project would cost $32 to $33 million. He said that the QDC requirements for the design elements and materials on the backs of the buildings added about $2 million to the cost.

Gaultney said that there "has not been a project like this" since the QDC requirements went into place.

The requirements were "well intentioned by consultants,” but not thought through, Gaultney said at the time.

During that time, Gaultney had a contract with Synovus.

But now, Synovus has decided to ask for new bids on the property. The bid process is to close sometime in late November, said Coweta Planning Director Robert Tolleson.

"Mr. Gaultney indicated that he hopes to hear from the bank by Dec. 15," Tolleson said.

Gaultney could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Fischer Crossing development was first approved in 2006. The development was to cover three corners of the Hwy. 34/54 and Fischer Road intersection.

The northeast corner was graded shortly thereafter, but sat empty for years.

The Sam's Club and Christian Brothers Automotive were developed on the northwest corner.

The southwest corner, which was never graded, was lost to foreclosure in 2009.

The NCG Cinemas, the only development on the northeast corner, opened spring 2011.

Original developer Scott Seymour said in 2011 that an agreement with Kohl's for a store in the northeast section was imminent, but it never came to pass, and Synovus foreclosed on the property in September 2012, according to Coweta County property tax records.



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