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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Snellville 'Bridge to Nowhere' property on Wisteria faces foreclosure

So many people have been interested to know what is going on with the property on Wisteria Drive in Snellville. The property is across from the now under-construction Snellville Police station.  Maybe a photograph will spur your memory. Everybody in Snellville should recognize this.  (As always on My Snellville Blog, you can click on the photos to see them larger.)
"Bridge to Nowhere" on Wisteria Drive in Snellville
Nope, it's not a bridge. It's not a pagan altar either, although good guess. Whatever it is or was meant to be, it's a moot point.

You see, Douglas B. Spohn, a Duluth Ga developer whose company is known as Spohntown, wanted to develop the property as a mixed-use development. It was going to have shops, restaurants and even places to live worked into the development. I always thought it was kind of a funky idea for Snellville, but maybe it just might work.

Well, it didn't. Spohn said he couldn't get investors for the property, and he needed investors in the property to move ahead with it. What leaves us all scratching our heads is why the land was all cleared out, why put a whole parking lot there and build a weird stone thing if you don't have investors? I guess that's why I'm not a real estate developer. I don't understand these things. I suppose clearing it out helps people visualize what the property could look like when developed, but a good piece of art could do the same thing. Attempts to contact Mr. Spohn for an interview or a comment were not fruitful.
Parking lot with no development is a dismal image for Snellville

But rather than bang our heads on the wall trying to figure that out, let's move ahead to the present.

During a meeting of the Snellville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) last night, City Manager Russell Treadway updated those present on the Wisteria development. Mr. Treadway said he had met with the bankers for the Spohn property and was informed that foreclosure is scheduled for September 7th. There is a $3.1 Million note on the property.

Currently, the property is zoned in such a specific way, there aren't going to be many interested parties in the property, but that spot is such a prime piece of real estate in the city center focus area of Snellville.
Another view of the forlorn "Bridge"

It may be possible, if Snellville residents are willing to dream big and are amenable to the idea, for the city to make use of the property and develop it into something that has value for Snellville citizens.

Do we want run-down looking properties, or do we want to make an investment in Snellville's future?  Personally, I'm for investing. What do you think?


  1. Anonymous12:41 PM

    I don't know if this is the spot (not that I'm opposed) but the City needs to make a skate park as a safe outlet for these teens who ride their skateboards all over Snellville, occasionally causing property damage.

  2. Here's a thought for the Council. How about NOT approving the permits to clear cut land unless the person requesting the permit has ALREADY SECURED THE FUNDING and signs an agreement to begin building immediately upon clearing. Allowing greedy developers to come in and buy land and clear it with only the hopes of getting funded does nothing but create eye sores and unnecessarily wipe out trees and woodlands. We already have an overabundance of defunct "neighborhoods" that never made it past paved street phase or at most half way of build out. Some are entire neighborhoods with only a model home at the front and some poor sucker a few houses in that bought with the hopes of the community developing around them and are now stuck with weedy nasty lots around them.
    Its time for Snellville to be smarter with their growth plans and permit issuance. Growth is good, throwing permits up against a wall by the hundreds hoping a few stick is bad and leaves us with eyesores galore.


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