Drive through downtown Jonesboro and the transformation of the historic district is obvious. City leaders are well into an extensive redevelopment plan to create a trendy live-work-play hotspot that is projected to rival its northside peers.
Historic Jonesboro to Feature Arts, Entertainment, and Residential
Jonesboro officials will break ground this Friday (2/4/2022) on a four-story senior living complex near downtown.
The 55-and-older HearthSide Jonesboro sits on nearly seven acres and will offer one and two-bedroom apartments, a community room, a bistro, a fitness center, a garden, and wellness services when it opens in mid-2023. It will offer easy access to MARTA. OneStreet Residential is developing the project – its ninth in metro Atlanta.
“The city of Jonesboro is excited to be able to provide Hearthside for our seniors,” Mayor Joy Day said. “Hearthside is in a strategic location in the Historic District and will add to the amenities the city continually seeks to provide.”
Jonesboro City Manager Ricky Clark Jr. said Hearthside enables the city to diversify its senior housing options.
“Our city’s seniors are the cornerstone of our community and we must do everything to ensure they continue to enjoy their golden years here in the community,” Clark added.
The senior living project is the latest in an ongoing multi-year, $22 million redevelopment, so far, of downtown Jonesboro.
Details of Jonesboro’s Live-Work-Play Redevelopment
Here are some of the redevelopment highlights in downtown Jonesboro:
- Nouveau, a posh upscale restaurant with offerings such as fried lobster tails and signature cocktails, occupies the old fire station behind Main Street.
- Residents recently watched the Georgia Bulldogs beat Alabama’s Crimson Tide at a gathering in the City Green, a Broad Street venue with a stage built for festivals and other such gatherings. The Green is part of the nearly $7 million Broad Street project.
- A few blocks away near the intersection of Fayetteville Road and Smith Street, the skeletal beginning of Jonesboro’s two-story 30,000-square-foot city administration complex known as the City Center is taking shape. It is expected to be completed sometime this summer.
- Across the railroad tracks, Slutty Vegan, the hip-hop hangout for those with a hankering for vegetarian fare, will celebrate its second anniversary in the city in July.
- The Grove, a single-family residential community by Rockhaven Homes, “sold as fast as they were built,” according to Mayor Day. “That’s really been a boon to our downtown because getting more residents in downtown is really important in order to balance it with businesses that we’re trying to attract.”
These developments have occurred since Come Home To Clayton’s last story despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and serve as building blocks to city leaders’ overall plan.
Come Home To Clayton spoke with Mayor Day recently about ongoing redevelopment and other plans for downtown Jonesboro.
Q. What projects do you want to do this year?
A. We want to work with our businesses that own buildings (facing Main Street) because the back of those buildings face (the) Broad Street (project). We want to work with them to get the back of their buildings looking as good as the front of their buildings. We have facade grants. Some of them don’t need to do much. Just cosmetic things and spruce up. The Broad Street project has pavers. We also have commemorative bricks that people purchased. The landscaping is awesome.
Q. How has the pandemic changed the city’s redevelopment plans for downtown?
A. The pandemic did set us back some. We had someone ready to build a bed-and-breakfast and we have a couple of individuals who bought some of the downtown buildings. One of them has been completely gutted for a restaurant. I think he’s still going to do it but there have been setbacks. A lot of businesses and restaurants didn’t make it. But we’re seeing an uptick in interest. Our building permits have not waned. We’ve still had lots of building permits through the whole pandemic and our tax base continues to rise which is good.
Q. So Broad Street is finished. What phase of the redevelopment are you in now?
A. We’re concentrating on our City Center building. We’re trying to get it completed without a lot of changes. That’s about a $15 million building. It will include city hall, the police department, probation, and a large community room.
Q. What percentage of the city’s total redevelopment is done at this point?
A. It’s hard to say because it’s an evolving plan. We own 15 acres downtown, which is right across from our police department on McDonough Street where Jodeco Road comes up through there.
That’s one of the things the city did after 2008. We bought property. So that will be a part of our ongoing development. We also were able to buy some parcels around our police department which of course is going to move. We have about seven acres on that parcel. That’s right in downtown. So that will be another area we will develop. Having control of those properties is going to help us pick and choose and plan what kind of development we want to see such as commercial with maybe residential above. That’s going to be the next phase of our development. Of course, we have this property at City Hall which we will be vacating and we own all the property from North Avenue to Haines Street. We’ve put ourselves in a position to be able to control some of the downtown growth.
Q. What has been the total cost of redevelopment to date?
A. Probably $22 million at this point.
Q. Is that higher than what the city initially projected?
A. It’s somewhat higher. Our building (costs) have gone over simply because the cost of building materials has gone up.
Q. Are you happy with what the city’s accomplished so far?
A. Yes. If the pandemic had not happened, we would be a couple of steps ahead of where we are now. It just kind of changed everyone’s perspective. We’ve been so isolated, Thank goodness for Zoom meetings. Everybody says they don’t like Zoom meetings but I’m so glad we have Zoom. We can at least continue to move forward because without Zoom meetings, I don’t know what we would have done.
Click on the pictures below to view Jonesboro’s Live-Work-Play Redevelopment:
JONESBORO: AT A GLANCE
Size: Two square miles
Downtown Jonesboro: Three blocks
Zipcodes: 30236 and 30238
Pictured above: Rendering of Jonesboro City Center provided by Mayor Day