The Canadian real estate firm Walton has sold its holdings in four large subdivisions near Braselton in Jackson County to other investors.

The property being sold represents a total of 766 building lots on 489 acres.

The subdivisions being divested are: Liberty Crossing (326 lots); Baker's Farm (179 lots); Liberty Park (139 lots); and Walnut Creek (122 lots).

The move is part of a larger transaction of Walton divesting itself of some of its real estate holdings in the Atlanta area.

Walton is the largest landowner in Jackson County, having bought several thousand acres since 2008.

The international company typically focuses on pre-development of raw land by purchasing undeveloped property in high-growth areas, acquiring appropriate zoning, then eventually selling the property to developers.

In many of the deals, large groups of individual investors are involved, a plan known as "land banking." At one time, Walton marketed its land banking program in Asia to small investors, each of whom owned a small fraction of the larger project.

Walton has been controversial in the past in Jackson and nearby Barrow counties where some of its representatives reportedly led local leaders to believe the company itself would be developing property rather than managing it as an investment and later selling to other investors or developers.

A plan by Walton to have the City of Arcade annex a large tract in South Jackson near the Clarke County line was thwarted in 2014 after a public outcry over the idea. Walton wanted to annex the land to get a more favorable zoning for higher density housing than it could have gotten from the county board of commissioners.

Walton was successful in having Arcade annex the large tract known as the old 4-W Farm into the town for a massive master planned community, but the property remains undeveloped.


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