Marshall Square developers cut land prices

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

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

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."

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Brad Owens
4749
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Brad Owens 02/09/10 - 04:46 am
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You know the economy is bad

You know the economy is bad when Evans can't fill up a stripe mall with chain stores and retaurants! This is a more powerful indicator than anything I have seen.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/09/10 - 09:14 am
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Didn't the developers have to

Didn't the developers have to get special dispensation from the Col. Co. Commission to build the Chili's restaurant? If so, won't they have to do the same thing if someone builds an office building? Still, the "lowered" price of $223,000 for a half-acre sounds a bit steep.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 02/09/10 - 11:30 am
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I hate the way this whole

I hate the way this whole thing has turned out. It could have been a nice community setting like North Augusta is building. I'm sure there is some "blame" on both sides, but I wish what was originally on the signs, would have been built. The Marshall family has done so much for Columbia County. I feel like there will probably be some money changing hands, to pay out this lawsuit.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/09/10 - 12:23 pm
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I hope the judge rules for

I hope the judge rules for the county. The "developer" got PUD zoning and then thumbed his nose at county citizens while attempting to do his end run around the approved plans that led to the PUD zoning.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/09/10 - 03:38 pm
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The following link takes you

The following link takes you to the web site of the "developer":

http://www.marshallsquareaugusta.com/

It appears (if you go to the home page) that this developer has only one client, Marshall Square.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 02/09/10 - 10:36 pm
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Okay, I've gone back over the

Okay, I've gone back over the Marshall Square website, the News-Time article, and the blog. It would appear, 'Little Lamb', that you've already voiced your displeasure about the development, in the News-Times. I'm now more convinced that the County is wrong in this matter. It would be in everyone's best interest, to start over, and work this thing out. I live in this county, go to church in this county, am a CERT member of this county, and donate a fair amount of my time, money and effort to this county government (EMA). It's time to start playing nice in the sandbox.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/10/10 - 09:31 am
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Hi, Mr. Jones. It would

Hi, Mr. Jones. It would appear from the article above that the Marshall "family" and the county are working things out, or at least are attempting to. They are working things out in court. The article says a judge will hear the case on March 24, and then presumably will issue a ruling sometime later. My only complaint with the developers is that they are playing bait and switch with the citizens of the county. They promised to build a unified development on the property, but now wish to build only apartments. Since they got PUD zoning by promising a unified, mixed-use development (the bait), they should not be allowed to switch in mid-stream. The county is correct in holding up the building of these apartments. In my opinion, the developer should request rezoning from PUD to apartment residential zoning and follow the protocols and codes of the county.

lw9474
18
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lw9474 02/10/10 - 09:53 am
0
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Don (the carpet bagger)

Don (the carpet bagger) Lawrence needs to go back to Washington DC. The planning commission and county commission knew he did not have the ability to pull this off when they approved the zoning. Now rather than the "planned town center" he promised you get Columbia County's version of the big dig. A big whole with nothing in it.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/10/10 - 10:24 am
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Here's a link to Don

Here's a link to Don Lawrence's company website:

http://www.dclcommercial.com

It looks like Marshall Square is their only client. ? ? How can they stay in business that way?

ripjones
2
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ripjones 02/10/10 - 11:20 am
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I have no problem with the

I have no problem with the county holding things up until the entire development is ready to build, I just have a problem with the county changing the density per acre. I want Marshall Place to match what was originally planned -- like North Augusta's development.

Little Lamb
47283
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Little Lamb 02/10/10 - 12:57 pm
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Sounds like you and I are on

Sounds like you and I are on the same sheet of music, Mr. Jones. The reason the county changed the density requirements was that the developer told them that he could not get financing for the retail/office construction, but that he could get financing for a stand-alone apartment complex. The county used sound reasoning when they said that if he was going to build only an apartment complex, then he had to comply with stand-alone county zoning ordinances, and that's where the lower density came into play. The developer pouted and filed a lawsuit. Maybe we'll have a resolution in April when the judge's order comes out.

yelvington
90
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yelvington 02/12/10 - 08:47 pm
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There are empty storefronts

There are empty storefronts all over Evans right now, the result of overbuilding fed by cheap and easily available capital. If it weren't for the recession, the entire county would be bulldozed and replaced by empty storefronts. The county has a track record of caving in to developers' wants at the expense of those of us who have to live with the resulting traffic and drainage problems.

There's nothing overly restrictive, or unduly burdensome, in Columbia County putting some badly needed brakes on this building mania. It looks to me like the real problem is a developer who's guilty of poor judgment and now wants to force taxpayers to cover for his errors.

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