Blairsville Downtown Facelift Begins

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Building will be razed to the foundation and metal support structure.

Blairsville, GA – On Friday, August 4, 2017, Union County reporter Mark E. Smith spoke with Blairsville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Program Manager Darren Harper about current plans in the works for refacing downtown Blairsville.

Area behind (L) and area perpendicular to (R) Copeland’s Restaurant.

Survey Map #1

Harper said that the first major building project, which is slated for completion by the end of 2017, is the building across the parking lot from Copeland’s Restaurant on Blue Ridge Street which was the former home of the Blairsville Dance Project. The featured image for this article is an artist’s rendering of what the new building will look like when completed. He said the old building will be razed down to the foundation and metal support framework and that the walkway in front of the building will be widened for better access. The building will remain single story. There will be either a three or four suite configuration constructed depending on tenant needs, he said; with the three suite configuration, two of the four suites on one side of the building would be combined into one suite double the size of the other two.

Harper said there are plans in the works for two other buildings in that same area behind Copeland’s, but the plans for those buildings have not been finalized. At this time, the lot directly behind Copeland’s is empty, as is the far rear lot which is perpendicular to the parking area. Harper said these two planned buildings will be two-story buildings with retail on the first floor and apartment space on the second floor. He said the challenge with these buildings is to have them fit into the theme of Downtown Blairsville without looking like they were all build in the same era. Harper said he is hoping these buildings can be constructed by the end of 2018, but he can’t promise anything at this time because the plans are still in flux. Please see the concept plan/survey map #1 pictured for this project.

Survey Map #2

Lot across Pat Haralson Drive from Foodland grocery store.

Another building project in the works is development of the green area, bordered by Hwy. 515, Pat Haralson Drive and the back of City Hall (Blue Ridge St.), where the new Hwy. 515 on/off ramp was built in 2016. Of immediate interest is the vacant lot directly across Pat Haralson Drive from the Foodland grocery store. Harper said that there is a buyer for that lot and, as reported in a June 8th, 2017 FYN article, planners from UGA are working with the DDA and W.C. Nelson to create a building that will meet both the development needs and the aesthetic needs of Downtown Blairsville. Harper said this building will likely be a three story structure with the bottom floor below street grade and accessible only from the back of the building. The proposed plan is to have retail in the two lower floors and apartment space on the top floor, he said. The City, which owns the lot, would sell only the footprint of the building plus about four feet on each side for walkways. Again, Harper is not at liberty to say any more about this project because it is still in the design/development stage.

Area between new on/off ramp and old off ramp

Harper did mention that, eventually, the area between the old Hwy. 515 off-ramp and the new Hwy. 515 on/off ramp would probably be next to be looked at for development. One possible concept is to have two buildings similar to the building across Pat Haralson Drive from Foodland grocery store with parking in between. Harper also mentioned that the area of the green space behind the new Hwy. 515 on/off ramp and bordered by America’s Home Place Builders on one side and Blue Ridge Street on the other would likely be made into a park area because of the creek that runs through it. Please see the survey map #2 pictured for this project.

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