The first truckloads of dirt were moved over the weekend to make way for a new shopping center on Ga. 400 near Dawson Forest Road.
As least three retailers have already committed to be among the first to occupy Dawson Crossroads, a 29-acre mixed-use development on the southeastern corner of Ga. 400 expected to open in 2016.
Halpern Enterprises announced last week that Brooklyn Joe's Pizzeria, Lee Nails and Great Clips have signed leases with more tenants, including a major national grocery store, coming onboard in the coming months.
"Dawsonville is becoming a shopping hub for the entire surrounding area, and Dawson Crossroads will be right in the middle of that activity," said Dan Gagne, Halpern regional director of leasing. "With excellent highway access and a prime location, the center will be a good fit for tenants looking for a high traffic area."
There has been much speculation that Publix is set to anchor the shopping center, and it's no secret that representatives with the Florida-based grocer have had their eyes on Dawson County for several years.
However, a call to the corporate office indicates that nothing had been finalized as of press time Tuesday.
"We do not have a confirmed site in Dawsonville," said Publix Media and Community Relations Manager Brenda Reid. "We only comment on confirmed sites."
According to Halpern's announcement, there is space available for a junior anchor and an assortment of other shops and restaurants.
"Chili's restaurant is coming to the corner outparcel, and there is also a high level of interest in the property's other outparcels from popular franchises," the release said.
Officials with the Development Authority of Dawson County have spent several years talking to developers interested in the location.
"I actually started working on that property with the grocery store and with various developers back in 2007 and it's only with Halpern that we've been able to actually see it come through to fruition," said Charlie Auvermann, executive director. "The development authority is extremely pleased to have this project get started."
Among the proposed projects were an indoor ski resort and a big box retailer that wanted to cut down a portion of the property to build on site.
With retail on the front and multi-family housing in the back, Auvermann said the project is "the best solution that has come forth...on how to balance this property."
Dawson Forest Road's intersection with Ga. 400 has quickly become one of the most sought after areas for developers interested in Dawson County.
Earlier this summer, Kroger announced a plan to move the store currently located at Hwy. 53 south on Ga. 400 to the southwest intersection of Dawson Forest Road.
Atlanta-based Blanchard Real Estate Capital purchased the 102-acre lot just south of North Georgia Premium Outlets between Carlisle and Dawson Forest roads in 2013 with plans to development a commercial "power center" that will bring national retail and restaurants to Dawson County.
While specific tenants have not been revealed, Blanchard reps have said to anticipate retailers that are new and needed locally.