Sugar Hill selling 99 acres in old gold mine country near Richland Creek

By David Pendered

Almost 100 acres of undeveloped land along the Chattahoochee River, located just south of Buford Dam, has been put up for sale by the city of Sugar Hill.

Sugar Hill is seeking a company that will buy and develop a 99-acre site the city owns near the Chattahoochee River. Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered

Sugar Hill is seeking a company that will buy and develop a 99-acre site the city owns near the Chattahoochee River. Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered

And there’s more than just the land to whet interest. The site overlooks Richland Creek, where gold was mined in the 1830s as prospectors looked for nuggets far from the crowds who’d flocked to Dahlonega in the gold rush of 1828.

Sugar Hill is seeking a company to buy and develop a 99 acre site owned by the city. Companies interested in the project have until Nov. 18 to submit proposals.

As Sugar Hill describes the site, it is:

  • “Undeveloped greenspace overlooking the Chattahoochee River, the Sugar Hill Golf Course, and Richland Creek.”

Richland Creek may be largely overlooked these days, or noted mainly as a bucolic place-name for modern neighborhoods. But here’s an entry from aboutnorthgeorgia.com:

  • “Gold was mined along Richland Creek near present day Buford as early as 1830. Mines were located around Little Mill Road in Buford, Level Creek Road in Sugar Hill and other places in the area. The Piedmont mine is still there in Sugar Hill. The tunnel hasn’t caved in….
  • Sugar Hill intends to sell three parcels that total 99 acres for development as a live, work, play community. Credit: Sugar Hill

    Sugar Hill intends to sell three parcels that total 99 acres for development as a live, work, play community. Credit: Sugar Hill

    “My great grandfather Westbrook was a farmer in the 1930’s near Buford but mined gold on his land in his spare time. He used to find nuggets up to an ounce. Gold can still be found in many streams around Buford and Sugar Hill. Several mines were located around E.E. Robinson Park in Sugar Hill.”

Incidentally, Sugar Hill reached a deal last week to sell the 53-acre Robinson Park to Gwinnett County for $10 million.

Sugar Hill issued a request for proposals on Oct. 15 to seek an entity to buy and develop the 99 acre site.

Sugar Hill initially had intended to close the RFP process on Thursday. However, the city postponed the deadline to Nov. 18, without addressing the reason for the extension.

Four companies attended a pre-proposal meeting on Oct. 28. The sign-in sheet showed they are:

  • Pond & Co.
  • Marthasville Development
  • TPA Group
  • Garam Properties, LLC

The city intends to foster a development of homes, shops and offices. The goal is to increase city revenues in order to enhance economic development within the area, according to the request for proposals issued by the city.

This is how the RFP describes the city’s objectives:

  • “The purpose of this solicitation will be to deliver a development and/or purchase agreement and ultimately transact the sale of the land in order to turn this tract, which is currently a blank slate, into a vibrant mixed-use hub near the intersection of two thriving county economies. The delivery method is flexible and specific deadlines will be established as the terms of the agreement are negotiated.”

The document further states:

  • “The city will give added consideration to proposals that achieve key city objectives that result in growing property values, utility revenues, and that will enhance ancillary economic development potential within the area. Creative use of adjacent city-owned parcels or joint ventures will not be excluded from consideration. The adjacent golf course driveway, for example, may serve to provide access to Suwanee Dam Road, which may benefit the type and scale of project being proposed.”

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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