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Construction projects set for north, south
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The Bryan County Board of Commissioners last week unanimously approved two projects that promise both commercial and residential development in opposite sides of its jurisdiction.
During the board’s Aug. 19 meeting in South Bryan, commissioners OK’d a zoning change from agricultural use to commercial use for nearly 42 acres of land at the intersection of I-16 and Hwy. 280. The change will allow for restaurants, gift shops, hotels, motels, professional and business offices, convenience stores, warehouses and banks, according to Bryan County documents.
The property, which is mostly woodlands, is located next to the Interstate Centre, the county’s industrial park that contains Blue Bell Ice Cream, DICON Technologies, Daniels Defense, Inc., and a DKW distributor among other businesses.
Building a commercial center there can boost economic growth, Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said during the meeting.
“It’s a very strategic location,” he said.
Commissioner Rick Gardner said this week that rezoning the property was the first step toward development of businesses that will give Bryan County an economic boost through jobs and revenues.
“People come, spend the night and leave,” he said. “From an economic point of view, it really makes sense.”
Harvey Gilbert is the managing director of Gilbert & Lattimore Commercial Real Estate LLC and broker handling development for Savannah-based owners North Bryan Properties LLC. He said there is no timeline for the project yet, but paperwork filed with the county estimates that commercial lots can be completed by 2022.
“It’s a fairly long-term project,” Gilbert said. “We’re excited about it.”
Meanwhile, commissioners also approved construction of 76 homes in the Ridgewood Park subdivision, located in the Waterways Township development. Waterways is on what was formally known as Genesis Point, a coastal region of the southern part of the county.
Last week’s vote brings the number of total lots approved for the development to around 140 though no homes have been built yet, County Administrator Phil Jones said. The developer, Savannah Land Holdings LLC is responsible for building and selling the homes.
The entire development, Waterways Township, can have a maximum of 2,946 homes, Jones explained in an e-mail. It will eventually also feature a health spa, a lake system, retail stores, a golf course and a site for boat launching.
When the entire township is built, it could add more than $1 billion to Bryan County’s coffers, according to Jones. But completing the development could take a long time and can also be influenced by the economy and housing market.  
The rezoning process started about 10 years ago, Jones said, when former owners Panoz Group, of Braselton, purchased the land.
Last week’s approval is only the first step in what can be a 25- or 30-year project that will bring more economic growth and jobs to Bryan County, Gardner said this week.
“They really are a long-term type project,” he said.   

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