GAINESVILLE, GA-The developer of the largest mixed-use commercial project ever attempted in this rural area, 40 miles northeast of Downtown Atlanta, has offered to donate 15 acres at its 607-acre site to the Gainesville School System which estimates the $513-million, 1.2-million-sf Mundy Mill venture will add 1,200 students to the system.

REL Properties of Decatur has also given the Gainesville School System an option to buy another 4.6 acres at fair-market value. The school system had asked the developer to donate either land or money to reduce the economic impact of the project to the community of 25,000 permanent residents, local brokers following the project tell

Robert Lanier, president of REL Properties, plans to develop 578 townhomes, 460 apartments, 1,148 single-family residences, 687,000 sf of office space and 510,000-sf of retail, according to preliminary development plans filed with the city. The project’s size and scope is unprecedented among a 10-county Atlanta suburban area, according to brokers intimated with the venture’s progress.

The Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center is against the project. The state agency’s June recommendation cites an earlier development plan that was not in the best interests of the state. Since then, REL has reduced the total number of shelter units to 2,186 from 2,594. But the developer increased the office space component by 100,000 sf to 687,000 sf and raised the retail component to 510,000 sf, as previously reported.

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