Plans to include additional parking, retail, boutique hotel.
Woodstock officials recently announced plans to purchase the Morgan’s Ace Hardware property at the corner of Arnold Mill Road and Main Street. The hardware store will be relocated to another site near downtown. Closing on the property is anticipated later this year.
This acquisition is the final step needed to move forward on the new Woodstock City Center, a plan that’s been in the works for several years, according to Cheri Morris, president of Morris and Fellows. The firm specializes in developing historic downtowns and was chosen to partner with city officials in Woodstock’s development.
Woodstock City Center contains seven acres and will be developed in two phases. The first phase involves the southeast quadrant, 3.5 a res on the southeast corner of Arnold Mill Road and Main. Street, surrounding the hardware store property. Initial plans include a 400-500 space parking deck, a mix of additional retail, professional office space, restaurant space and a boutique hotel with meeting space. Improvements are planned for the intersection and pedestrian connectivity along Arnold Mill Road.
The city also owns 3.5 acres on the northwest corner of Main Street and Towne Lake Parkway. While development of this parcel is the second phase, passersby already can see improvements to the existing parking lot beside the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village and City Center Auditorium. The resulting 200 parking spaces and improved landscaping, signage and lighting, will offer an immediate relief for local visitors and business owners. Construction should be complete over the next two to three months.
“Over the years, the city has been presented many plans for this land that we knew our citizens would not like, from big boxes to highly dense projects,” Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said. “We reviewed numerous partner options and proposed plans … we are very focused on creating a lower density City Center in keeping with the existing downtown character and Morris and Fellows shares that vision.”
Morgan’s Hardware opened in 1961 as a branch of the original Morgan Brothers, started in Canton in 1939. The owners were Anis and O.E. “Red” Morgan. Red’s son Mike joined the business in the mid-1970s and moved the operation across the railroad tracks in 1978, to the current location.
“After looking at options for my property over the last several years, I am pleased that the city has stepped forward to lead redevelopment of the project, which will fit with the overall character of downtown Woodstock. It’s also great that the city has agreed to help me with the relocation of our business to a place that will allow easier access for our customers. I am excited that our store will be able to continue to serve our customers and the community for many years to come,” Mike Morgan said.
Project timing, details and renderings will be released in the coming weeks and months, as plans develop. Updates
also will be available on the city of Woodstock website — www.woodstockga.gov.
– Candi Hannigan, executive editor of TowneLaker