Marshall Square developers cut land prices

A Chili's restaurant is the only occupant of the Marshall Square development.

For nearly a year, the only business occupying Marshall Square has been a Chili's restaurant.


Developers hope to change that by slashing prices on land by 40 percent at the 57-acre mixed-use development in Evans.

"We're cutting prices to get some more buildings out there," said Don Lawrence of D.C. Lawrence Commercial Real Estate LLC. "I'm trying to get them (Chili's) some neighbors."

A half-acre lot in portions of Marshall Square now sells for as low as $223,000, with a $25,000 discount for buyers closing on the property within 60 days.

Specifically, developers cut prices last week to encourage office development at the site between Evans Town Center Boulevard and North Belair Road.

"I'm trying to get some medical office groups out there," Lawrence said. "I've had two people tell me that they have medical office groups interested."

Lawrence said the lots are appropriate for any office building.

One group that had intended to build an office complex at the site backed out because of the economy, Lawrence said.

Sections of Marshall Square designated for office use include the lots surrounding Chili's, segments north of Ronald Reagan Drive where a hotel had been planned and the area near Evans to Locks and North Belair roads.

A portion designated for apartments is unavailable for sale.

Marshall Square developers are engaged in a $57.5 million lawsuit against Columbia County for what they call "overly restrictive" and "unduly burdensome" actions taken by county commissioners regarding apartments.

Marshall Square's initial plan, approved in 2004, called for as many as 459 apartment units on 13.5 acres. The county's planning and zoning board later recommended that apartments be limited to 288 units. Commissioners took the issue a step further in May by restricting developers to 14 units per acre, which shaved the number of units to 189.

The case is heading to a summary judgment hearing in Superior Court on March 24.

"Anything but the multifamily right now is available for development," Lawrence said.

He said the land sale isn't a reaction to the impending court date.

"It's not that we're trying to unload the property," he said.

"All along we've had these office sites available for development. We're just reducing prices to spark some activity here."