"Kennesaw has really become a boomtown," declares Jim Eaton, a local chiropractor whose office fronts the historic central business district of this North Cobb community.
Eaton, who opened his practice in 1992, has seen Kennesaw develop and thrive, but there's never been anything quite like the building now under way.
Downtown is getting several new mixed-use developments. Madison Retail LLC, is developing one of the biggest, a $40 million-plus project on 13 acres with shops and restaurants on the ground floor and two levels of residential on top, plus a parking deck and town homes.
Several retail, residential and office projects are in the works along Highway 41. One of the largest is a $70 million upscale retail center spanning 34 acres and including 250,000 square feet at Cobb Parkway and Kennesaw Due West Road.
This growth is the result of careful planning on Kennesaw's part, says Community Development Director Bob Fox. "The city took several significant initiatives where they identified 14 areas within the city as redevelopment areas," he says.
The same is true in Acworth to the north, where a thriving downtown draws visitors from miles away for shopping and dining. Over on Highway 41, the city is developing a virtual big box row; Lakeside Marketplace offers Target, Circuit City and a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
"2006 has been the year that the retail has come to completion," says Acworth Assistant City Manager Jeremy Hayes.
"You start with some good businesses, some strong businesses and you begin to improve the curb appeal of the town, and people start discovering you. And if you've got a great restaurant it will often bring another one with it," explains Acworth Downtown Development Authority Director Jan Harris. "They all want a piece of the action."