The City’s Downtown Master Plan recently took another step forward as the City of Fayetteville now owns the downtown property along Stonewall Avenue used for decades as the Fayette County Board of Education (BOE) headquarters, and city planners say construction on a new city hall building and landscaped greenspace components of the nearly 10-acre downtown parcel could begin as early as March 2019.
Fayetteville Downtown Development Director Brian Wismer says the real estate closing process, which began earlier this year, was officially completed in mid-June. He says the RFQ (request for qualifications) process begins now, and he hopes the City Council will select an architectural and landscaping firm at their Sept. 6 meeting.
The former BOE land fronts Stonewall Avenue (Hwy. 54 eastbound) between The Hollingsworth House and Fayetteville City Cemetery. The former BOE land stretches back to a point adjacent to the Fayette County Public Library parking lot and then wraps behind the cemetery.
Looking at the City’s conceptual Downtown Redevelopment Plan map, the former BOE land represents “Pod C”, the third of three key parcels being planned for enhancement and redevelopment in the years to come. Pod A, which is entirely privately owned, is located along Glynn Street (Hwy. 85) between Lafayette Avenue and Lanier Avenue (Hwy. 54 westbound), and developers are pursuing plans to build a mixed-use project there. Pod B, located between Lanier Avenue and Stonewall Avenue (essentially within the median of Hwy. 54’s one-way lanes), is owned in pieces by the City of Fayetteville and several private parties, so the City is moving slowly to engage the other owners and create a mutually-beneficial redevelopment plan for that area.
Pod C of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan has been envisioned to serve as the home of the new Fayetteville City Hall, which would front the highway, as well as space for landscaped parks, potentially including a small event stage, a splash pad, a playground and more. A building located near the northeast corner of Pod C, while more recently serving as a school system maintenance building, was originally the Fayette County High School gymnasium back in the 1960s and 1970s. Wismer says the interior architectural features, including the original roof and floor structures, are beautiful and still in good shape.
“We will investigate whether the building could be creatively repurposed in a way that suits the overall vision for Pod C,” Wismer said.
The City on May 17 approved a contract with Atlanta-based Comprehensive Program Services (CPS) to serve as project manager for the work to take place in Pod C.
Starting with the RFQ process, CPS will be involved through all of the steps toward bringing a new Fayetteville City Hall and the adjacent development within Pod C to fruition.
“They’re going to be on site every day when construction begins, making sure plans are being followed and corners aren’t being cut,” Wismer said. “They will be a great asset to the City. As much as possible, they will work for us to keep the project on time and within budget while ensuring the City gets a quality result.”
CPS is the same firm providing project management services for construction of the new Fayetteville Fire Department Station #93 and the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements.