Six firms express interest in commercial district at Infinite Energy Center

An artist’s rendering of what the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth might look like: a mix of entertainment venues, retail shops, offices and restaurants.

An artist’s rendering of what the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth might look like: a mix of entertainment venues, retail shops, offices and restaurants.

Six companies have expressed interest in developing a new commercial district at Gwinnett County’s Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.

The county hopes to create a mix of retail, residential and office space at the 104-acre site off Sugarloaf Parkway near I-85. The Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, which operates the facility for the county, recently solicited qualifications from developers interested in the project.

On Wednesday CEO Preston Williams told the visitors bureau board of directors that six companies have responded. Five of them have agreed to make presentations on their qualifications at a meeting in June.

Williams said he could not name the companies that have expressed interest because it’s too early in the selection process. But local developer Brand Morgan recently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is involved with a group that responded to the request for qualifications.

Infinite Energy Center is home to a 13,000-seat arena, a convention center, an exhibition hall, a ballroom and a 700-seat performing arts center. Nearly 1.3 million people attended events there in 2015.

But Gwinnett County has long hoped to create a commercial development there. A master plan for the site calls for restaurants, retail shops, apartments, condominiums and offices. It also envisions a pedestrian-friendly entertainment district anchored by a “great lawn.’

The proposed commercial district is just part of the county’s plan to develop the area around the Infinite Energy Center.

The Board of Commissioners recently approved plans for the Sugarloaf Community Improvement District. The district would initially include 43 commercial properties near the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway and I-85. The owners have agreed to pay an extra property tax to pay for transportation, landscaping and other improvements.