CARTERSVILLE, GA-Land prices of $10,000 to $25,000 per acre are attracting developers to this 172-year-old city where preliminary plans for at least $2 billion in new commercial-residential-retail ventures have been submitted for approval to local elected officials, the city confirms.

The rush to develop in this city of 18,000 permanent residents, 40 miles northwest of Downtown Atlanta, is unprecedented, local brokers tell Land priced lower than comparable dirt in metro centers and an exodus from traffic-clogged big-city areas are fueling the development race.

One of the newest projects is Henderson Properties’ 180-acre, 200,000-sf commercial and retail development scheduled to break ground in 2005 north of the 23.4-square-mile city. The project will have four 50,000-sf anchors and several restaurants, according to the filed plans.

Demand for retail space prompted the developer to move quickly on the project, area brokers tell Downtown Cartersville retail space is 90% occupied. The Henderson development site is at GA 20 and US 411 near the Emory-Cartersville Medical Center.

Another project, Cartergrove Plantation, a 2,342-acre venture planned by developer Steve Simpson of Paulding County, calls for 89 acres of commercial and retail development amid 600 acres of green space and 27 miles of connecting trails along creeks and sidewalks. Simpson is donating 40 acres and about $1,750 per home to the Cartersville City School System; and about $500 per home for recreation and public safety, according to filed preliminary plans.

Adjacent to Cartergrove Plantation is the 620-acre, $100-million Dellinger project at Old Alabama Road and GA 61 where Roswell developer Peter Calabro of Habersham Investment and Development Corp. plans 250,000 sf of commercial space, 80,000 sf of office, a 170,000-sf business park and 844 townhomes and single-family residences.

Three miles from the Dellinger project in Emerson, Dallas-based Centex Homes has filed preliminary plans for a mixed-use subdivision of 1,000 residences on 550 acres near Interstate 75 and Old Allatoona Road.

And at Hendricks and Simpson roads in Cartersville, developer Zeb Barbee plans a700-home subdivision on 283 acres. The site needs county rezoning approval. The entire project also has to pass standards set by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Pro-business Cartersville and Bartow County officials are partnering to buy 500 acres of prime industrial land that will be sold in parcels to various developers in the near future. Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. of Osaka selected the Cartersville area earlier this year for its planned $150 million, 500,000-sf manufacturing plan on US 411 outside White, as previously reported.

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