If more than 23 plans stay their courses, Liberty County will see a lot of dirt moving in coming months to accommodate new subdivisions, a hotel, a retail center in Midway and a buffet.
A report from the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission indicates that 20 of the projects are in the private sector and 11 are either new, revived or expanded subdivisions.
Two of the projects listed are expansions at industrial presences Chemtall and Firth Rixson. Three others are government projects.
LCPC Assistant Zoning Administrator Gabriele Hartage said the revival of old residential projects is a good sign for the economy, but the projects generally are smaller than when they were planned before the economic downturn.
“Residential and commercial development projects have picked up pronouncedly compared to the previous two years,” Hartage said. “However, we have not yet returned to the activity level we experienced between 2005 and 2008.”
Last year, Hartage added, two properties downtown also were rezoned for apartment complexes. She said her office also has received requests from another developer seeking a multi-family dwelling site.
The Liberty County Commission last week approved preliminary plats for The Colonies at Habersham Plantation, which is the first in a larger project off of Highway 196 near Fleming. It previously had been approved under a different name but stalled.
The Colonies is not the only old project being revived, according to project architect Trent Long with T.R. Long Engineering.
“Things really slowed down for a number of years as far as subdivisions go. There were a couple of years where we didn’t design any subdivisions,” Long said. “These numbers are awesome news.”
He said he saw a pick-up about six months ago. He said he can’t pinpoint what spurred the growth, however.
Long also is working on new developments, such as Hampton Ridge in Walthourville at Dunlevie Road and E.B. Cooper Highway.
Others, like the Villages of Limerick, are continuing development.
P.C. Simonton & Associates engineer Matthew Barrow said most of the subdivisions his company is working on are expansions of existing communities. They include the Reserve at Oak Crest off Red Oak Lane in Hinesville, Griffin Park’s phases five and six, and the Villages on Marne at Independence phases one and two.
Midway party shop
Rain has delayed parking lot completion on a five-suite Midway retail plaza at Isle of Wight Road and Highway 84, but site developers Heather Brannen and her husband, Brian Orent, hope to open by February.
The couple will open Celebration Beverage Center, a store offering a variety of spirits paired with party supplies, seasonal items and “innovative ideas,” Brannen said.
But the store aims to be more than a grab and go location. Brannen said there will be monthly featured items with ideas for hosts and special events such as a chef-led expo on cooking with tequila.
“We can set you up with a party,” she said, adding the store will offer consultations on selecting appropriate amounts for the size of each gathering and will refer customers to caterers and mixologists.
“When you come in, you’re going to want to stay awhile … we want to attract women that want to plan parties, and instead of getting the same old vodka and cranberry, we want them to come in and get something that’s going to wow their friends,” she added.
Coastal Family Therapy, which specializes in family counseling, will fill one of the suites.
Two 1,000 square-foot suites are available as well as a 1,525 square foot suite that Brannen said would be ideal for a restaurant or sports bar.
“We have a lot of interest in them; I don’t have a firm commitment, but I’ve been meeting with a lot of people,” Brannen said.
Abundant Life campus
Abundant Life Worship Center, which currently meets on West Memorial Drive, is in the process of building a new campus on Highway 17 about a mile south of Highway 196 East.
Church spokeswoman Felicia Delacoudray said the 16,000 square-foot sanctuary is the first phase of larger project that will provide a life skills center and teen meeting place.
“It’s a pretty big project, but we’re very excited about each phase of it, because we know that we want to assist the community in aiding the people,” Delacoudray said. “We are a growing congregation, and people are always amazed how God has allowed us to do such an awesome project…”
She said the change in location may add about a 10-minute drive for some. The church has members from Savannah, Richmond Hill and even Glennville who attend services and workshops.
“A lot of times, people are thinking church is about more than just worship and fellowship. It’s about the totality of family life … In the facility we’re currently in, we offer all of these (budget, pre-parenting, parenting, marriage workshops) — but the bigger facility will allow us to bring more comfortable accommodations,” Delacoudray said.
Golden Corral on Highway 84 in is nearing completion. Behind it, crews are laying the infrastructure for a TownPlace Suites.
Long said the building is coming along well and the parking lot is underway, but he was not sure about opening. Originally, the buffet was projected for a February open, but has hit some rain delays.
Restaurant franchisee Rajan “Rock” Patel was not available for comment.
The hotel plan is pending review of architecture and site plans. Developer San Patel could not be reached for comment.