Roswell’s Economic Development Forecast
by Steve Stroud
My favorite part about the start of a new year is the chance it gives us to reflect on all that’s been accomplished the past 12 months and look forward to what’s ahead in the coming year.
By the Numbers
In 2017, Roswell Inc worked to support 82 business attraction and recruitment projects, 40 retention projects, 66 expansion projects, 44 ribbon cuttings, 13 new opportunity zone certifications, and 165 one-on-one meetings with local businesses.
New Business Class Hotels
Last spring, we released the key findings from a hotel feasibility study we commissioned, which confirmed what our team knew anecdotally – that we desperately needed to increase the number of quality hotel options in Roswell or we would continue losing business travelers, and city revenue, to our neighboring cities.
Those findings helped us secure two hotel deals off Westside Parkway—a Home 2 Suites by Hilton and a Springhill Suites by Marriott—that we had been involved with for two years. Both projects are set to break ground in 2018. This also helped us secure interest from a third hotel, which is currently going through the approval process at city hall.
Large Recruitment Projects
Three of the most exciting projects we welcomed to Roswell last year include Delta Dental’s expansion in Sanctuary Park, which brings 200 new jobs; Kamstrup’s new North American headquarters off Hembree Road, which brings 52 new jobs; and Fuqua Development’s mixed-use project on the corner of Highway 9 and Sun Valley, which brings 400 new jobs, 300 multifamily units, a much-needed grocery store in the area, and walkability to the city’s largest employer—GM Innovation Center.
Breweries & Craft Beer
Five years ago, Roswell Inc took more than 60 community leaders to Asheville, North Carolina, to learn about its highly-acclaimed brewery industry. This group included elected officials, city staff, and local Roswell business owners and civic leaders.
Upon our return, we worked hand-in-hand with our elected officials and city staff to create Roswell’s first microbrewery ordinance, which allowed Gate City Brewing Company and Abbey of the Holy Goats to open in 2015. This past November, both Variant Brewing Company and From The Earth Brewing Company opened their doors, which now brings our total to four.
After the City of Atlanta, we are now tied for 2nd with Decatur and Savannah for having the highest number of breweries in the entire state of Georgia.
A Look Ahead to 2018
To build on our city’s economic success, we will focus on three key areas in 2018.
First, we will actively pursue an innovation and coworking space to support our entreprenuers. In 2017, we visited several in the region and began discussions with stakeholders, and we are now ready to pull together a team to make this happen in Roswell.
Second, we will continue adapting to the changing retail market through our partnership with NextSite, a leading retail research firm, that will allow us to pull and analyze data about retail trends and shopping patterns and use those to help current businesses and shopping centers as well as proactively recruit the right projects for Roswell.
Third, we will continue to focus on the craft beer, wine and spirits industry. In 2018, we will see Roswell’s first meadery, which is a winery for wine made from honey. By 2019, we are confident we will welcome Roswell’s first distillery. And, of course, we will continue to focus on growing the brewery and craft beer scene. Our goal is to solidify Roswell’s position as one of the top destinations in the state for this emerging industry by 2020.