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Retail development expected to surge
Restaurants, retail, grocery stores eyeing Dawson
I-Retail dev on the rise Berg pic
County commission chair Mike Berg addressed the chamber during a recent luncheon. - photo by Amanda Head Dawson Community News

At least six retail shops, including three restaurants, have contracts or commitments in place to be among the first to open in a new commercial development on Ga. 400.

"Don't ask me the names of those ... I can't tell you that. You can't go over there and apply for jobs yet, so hold off on that," Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg said Thursday when he gave his annual State of the County address at a chamber of commerce luncheon.

"It's nice to know that sometime next year we'll be starting that process."

Atlanta-based Blanchard Real Estate Capital purchased the 102-acre lot just south of North Georgia Premium Outlets between Carlisle and Dawson Forest roads last year with plans to development a commercial "power center" that will bring national retail and restaurants to Dawson County.

"We are going to be a magnet for commercial building for the next few years," Berg said.

Berg also announced last week that a major grocery store chain is eyeing a piece of property at the southeast intersection of Ga. 400 and Dawson Forest Road.

The county commission on Thursday was asked to approve a letter that will be sent to the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission requesting assistance in finding grant money for road, water, sewer and broadband expansion for what is being called the Shiery Project.

"That property is being under consideration for a retail center," Berg said.

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said the Shiery property is located directly south of Arby's on Dawson Forest Road and connects with the strip mall on Ga. 400 that houses Johnny's Pizza and Outside World.

Berg said he could not reveal the store's name but did say the developer wanted to build a grocery store on the property.

While the identity of the potential development remains under wraps, Berg confirmed earlier this year that representatives with Publix Super Markets want to open a store in Dawson County.

"It's definitely happening. They've definitely been looking," he said in late January. "They have been out for two years now trying to figure out a spot where they want to be."

Berg also expects to see and influx of residential development in the coming months.

"Housing permits were up 31 percent in the last year, which is good for us. Some of the folks I've talked to in the banking industry ... say while south Forsyth is really growing like crazy, it's all moving up this way," he said. "We can expect both residential and commercial development to be up in a larger portion than it's been over the last six years."