Demolition has begun in the long awaited redevelopment of the West Third Street corridor of the River District.
Crews have already demolished buildings at 200 N. Fourth Ave., 211 N. Fourth Ave. and 218 N. Fourth Ave. as of Friday morning.
The former home of Broome’s Hall of Fame Trophies at 406 W. Third Ave. is also expected to come down soon.
As part of the redevelopment of West Third Street, the city has been making improvements to water and sewer lines ahead of redevelopment. The water line on West Third will be upgraded from 6-inch to 12-inch, and sewer work is planned for Fifth Avenue.
That work is not only looking ahead to development in the River District but also to the widening of Second Avenue. The price tag for the infrastructure work is $1.2 million, half of which is defrayed by a $600,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant awarded in 2019.
After that’s complete, the plan is to move forward with a streetscape project along West Third. The engineering and design contract for the area’s streetscape project has been awarded to Peachtree Corners-based firm Pond and Co. for $187,718.
The company will put together the package, which will be reviewed by the city. Once that’s complete, the work can begin.
The ultimate goal is the multimillion dollar FSRE Impact development planned for the lots near the Courtyard by Marriott Rome Riverwalk.
“We are both honored and excited to execute on the Rome’s transformative vision for the River District,” said Jeff Warwick of CRE Impact, the developer of the project.
The group has been methodically picking up smaller pieces of land to make a larger area intended to, one day, be the heart of the district stretching all the way from the hotel property to North Fifth Avenue.
The project is expected to come in several phases. However, a few items must be ticked off the list first.
Following demolition, the next step is for the developer to finalize their Tax Allocation District proposal to local officials.
The tax allocation district designation, essentially a tax abatement for the area, is designed to entice private development of the renamed River District. The city created this TAD, in 2005 as officials were looking to expand the successful Broad Street business zone across the Oostanaula River.
Once the TAD proposal is received, which officials believe should take six to eight weeks for review and potential approval, then the development process can begin.
The initial plans called for 250,000 square feet of housing and 10,000 square feet of artisan retail space, with an estimated price tag of $43 million.
“If we do this right then we’ve created an artisan retail district,” Warwick said in a March 2021 meeting. “What we always want to do is complement Broad Street.”
Officials have stated they are hopeful that FSRE Impact will be breaking ground this year.