You probably remember Braselton as the small, quaint country town somewhere northeast of Atlanta that used to be owned by actress Kim Basinger. Well, it ain’t that anymore.
Basinger and some business partners spent about $20 million in 1990 to buy a bank, industrial park, 50 buildings and 1,700 acres of land in Braselton with dreams of turning it all into a major film and recording studio. They also thought about building a theme park, homes and shopping centers, according to a 2016 article in the AJC. She may have jumped the gun by about 18 years.
There is a lot going on in Braselton right now. Starting with one of the town’s long-time crown jewels, Chateau Elan Winery & Resort is planning a $25 million overhaul, according to reports in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Renovations include a complete overhaul of 251 guest rooms and 24 suites, four new food and beverage outlets, the winery, the resort lobby and improvements to the existing pool terrace and spa. The new dining options will include a coffee and wine bar located in the lobby. The Marc Bar will be added to the back of the winery restaurant and the new Atrium Bar will get a 40-foot Douglas fir wood sculpture.
Chateau Elan may very well be stepping up its game to keep up with development that looks to be going up all around it.
The biggest thing happening up there will be the 500-acre, mixed-use project that will be known as Reveille. It will be just to the northwest of Chateau Elan and will include three segments. The first will include 122,500 square feet of retail, 122,500 square feet of office, 560 units of multifamily residential, 75 townhomes, 25 assisted-living townhomes and a 175-room hotel. The second will include a 5,000-square-foot events facility, 92,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and 160 residential units above the retail. And the third will have 340 townhomes and 220 cottage homes.
The 506-acre site is where a developer had planned for a similar development in 2016 called Atlanta River Walk. It was an aggressive development that included the construction of a river flowing through the town. Not that Reveille isn’t an aggressive development for Braselton, but it is more in line with similarly large projects that are going up throughout the metro area. The other difference is that it brings with it Avalon and The Battery designer Wakefield & Beasley. Having designed several successful and massive mixed-use communities, they likely will bring with them a certain confidence that could be helpful in winning over county officials. According to the Chronicle, they anticipate breaking ground near the end of this year.
When and if they do, they may have company. Just to the northeast of this project, and one exit up I-85, Stolz Partners LLC of Alpharetta is proposing a 79-acre industrial, multifamily and commercial project. They are proposing commercial lots on 9 acres, 240 multifamily residential units on 30 acres, and a warehouse/distribution building on 40 acres.
Braselton is undergoing a pretty significant transformation. The town has always provided us with nuggets of interesting stories. Aside from Basinger and one of Georgia’s first wineries, the town was home to motorsports entrepreneur Don Panoz. After making his fortune by inventing technology associated with the nicotine patch, Panoz started a company that manufactured super high-end sports cars including the Avezzano and Esperante. Mr. Panoz, who recently passed away, was also instrumental in building Chateau Elan, according to reports in the Chronicle.
Braselton certainly has an interesting and marketable history. These new developments will certainly add to it.
Geoff Smith is a mortgage banker with Assurance Financial focusing on residential home loans for refinances and home purchases.
*The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of Assurance Financial Group