Columbia County leaders say yes to 300 luxury apartments in the downtown area


EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — Columbia County leaders are a step closer to bringing people to live in their new downtown area.

“We’ll probably develop between 250 to 300 apartments, that could bring as many as 400 to 500 people to the immediate area,” said Matt Mills. “Which is critical in building a vibrant downtown.”

County Commissioners voted four to one to approve rezoning properties near North Belair Road and Ronald Reagan Drive. That area was the home to the Marshall Square Retirement Home. A fire destroyed it in 2015. Southeastern Development Associates says that space is the heart of Columbia County.

“Having the density close to downtown will help traffic,” explained Mills. “Because people will be living close to where they want to and work.”

Chairman Doug Duncan says there is a severe drought in the county for high-level apartments. They need more houses for folks moving in the area due to the cyber boom.

“Those folks will come in and fill those spots up,” said Duncan. “Then, they will take their next assignment, maybe to Ft Meade Maryland, or in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. There has to be housing for those folks, and this is the solution for that.”

Outside of this project, there are more retail developments to attract people to the area.

“We’re not trying to compete with Downtown Augusta, we never will,” explained Duncan. “However, a small-community-feel downtown area is what we are striving for here. It’s going to be very exciting.”

The Columbia County Chairman says more development means more foot traffic, and that he says, is good for business.

“That’s what is going to make the retail work,” said Duncan. “You need the people, and the consumers in there to buy. That what makes part of the downtown work.”

The property has to be transferred to Southeastern Development Associates or a related company by July 1st, 2020, and begin construction by July 1st, 2021. If not, it goes back to its prior zoning if conditions haven’t been met.

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