A large development being proposed for Villa Rica would be the anchor for the Mirror Lake Connector, a long wished-for road that would link that community to downtown.
As such, the proposed mixed-use project would be a key component in the city’s first Tax Allocation District, a special zone targeted for developments that would vastly expand the tax base for the city.
The Villa Rica City Council is scheduled to discuss the project on Oct. 21 in a special called meeting. Fuqua Acquisitions of Atlanta, the developer behind the project, will be asking to rezone properties on the west side of Mirror Lake Boulevard at Shoreline Parkway, directly across from the Mirror Lake community.
If approved, it would be a green light for Fuqua to begin work on the 55-acre project, which includes a roadway that would connect Mirror Lake / Shoreline with Cleghorn Street, a point that is roughly halfway to downtown.
Also part of the project is another road that would lead to Old Stone Road in the area of Tanner Health Center / Villa Rica and the Villa Rica Public Library. Other thoroughfares may also be part of the project, city officials said on Friday.
The project is within the city’s first Tax Allocation District (TAD), a development tool that city voters gave the council in 2018.
TADs are a unique way that cities may use to stimulate development within an area that has historically proved difficult to develop. Essentially, it involves deferring the increased tax revenues generated by that development long enough to pay for infrastructure improvements and other costs.
Although TADs have been used in large Georgia cities, this would be among the first for west Georgia. They are difficult to achieve, because they require buy-in from major developers.
They also require taxing bodies, such as the county commission and school board, to agree to the deferring of tax income.
That income — which would return to the taxing authorities once construction bonds are paid — will, along with a $135 million investment from Fuqua, fund the road projects and other aspects of the development.
City Manager Tom Barber told council members on Sept. 21 that agreements had been reached that would all but complete the Mirror Lake Connector TAD.
Mirror Lake residents have long desired a direct link to downtown since the golfing community was first begun more than 20 years ago. The Fuqua project would represent a massive new development for the city that would be similar to Mirror Lake.
According to documents submitted to the city for the Fuqua plan, it would be a mixed-use development fronting Mirror Lake Boulevard at Shoreline Parkway. It would straddle the proposed Mirror Lake Connector, which would run west from the intersection toward Cleghorn.
The project would include a commercial space, consisting of a grocery store, several restaurants and a retail center. But it would also include 463 housing units consisting of 255 townhome units and 208 multifamily units.
The development is one of several on the drawing boards that promise to transform the city over the next few years, adding thousands of new residents.