Media and local officials were given a sneak peek Thursday of the Meybohm Building, the first phase of Columbia County’s master plan for the Plaza at Evans Towne Center.
Space is being prepared for the new Your Pie pizza restaurant and outdoor eating area running the length of the building facing what will soon be the promenade of The Plaza. The restaurant will be on the second floor of the building, on what developers call the street level of the four-story building.
Across from the restaurant on the second level will be several retail shopping areas, with a lobby dividing the two spaces at the main entrance of the building.
Meybohm Realty will occupy about 60,000 square feet of office space, meeting rooms and other professional space on the third floor. Adjacent to those offices, across a main lobby area, will be a large public space available for events, overlooking the Plaza.
“We’re really excited about how this project is progressing and it’s going to be an exciting time for Columbia County,” said county administrator Scott Johnson while standing on the rooftop that overlooks the upcoming new Performing Arts Center and the Evans Towne Center Park. “The great thing about this is it’s not just this building it’s the entire downtown.”
Another restaurant and a professional business are currently in talks with Meybohm to occupy some of the available retail space on the street level, according to Lionell Prather, Senior Vice President of commercial development and Construction.
“We’ve got another restuarant we are talking to and a large professional company, a software company, that is looking at the entire second floor space, 6,000 square feet,” Prather said. “They have about 30 employees, so we are working on some numbers for them.”
Prather said the building is the first of three to accomodate that side of The Plaza. Buildings four, five and six, will be constructed across from the Meybohm building, and will mirror it but will be smaller. Behind those buildings, a parking deck is planned that Prather said should accomodate more than 200 vehicles.
County officials are also considering an open-air space for a Farmer’s Market and a playground at the back of the property, that will double as a space for additional parking when needed. The entire project will be connected by a promenade with the Performing Arts Center as the focus of the entire space. Portions of the area will consist of raised terraces where visitors can stop and sit and enjoy music at the Lady Antebellum Amphitheater.
Commissioners also recently updated its alcohol ordinances to allow open containers throughout the Plaza area.
The overall vision is people will be able to flow back and forth between the park and The Plaza, Prather said.
Upon completion of the raised sidewalk currently being installed at Evans Towne Center Boulevard, the speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph, and portions of the road will be closed to accomodate large crowds during events.
”It’s just terribly exciting to see this first building which will set the standard for what will go on moving forward,” Cross said. “It’s going to be a tremendous asset to Columbia County.”
Weather has caused several construction delays and officials are not firm on a completion date at this time.