The construction on Riverstone Apartments, as part of Mill Branch at the Gateway, is expected to begin before the end of September on a 39-acre piece of property across from the Wal-Mart on Horizon South Parkway, according to Bobby Meybohm, a partner in the property and developer of commercial sites on an adjoining 41 acres.
“I think it’s a great location for that type use,” said Richard Harmon, the Columbia County Development Services Division director. “When you mix it with the Gateway and the things going on over there and then you mix it with (multifamily residential) and then you mix it with retail, it all works out.”
The apartments are expected to be built in two phases, beginning with 192 units that are expected to be ready next summer, followed by about 150 more units. Plans for the first phase of apartments are in the review process.
Meybohm said most of the county’s residential growth in the past few years has been in the area, including Mill Branch residential development on the back side of the 165-acre property that Meybohm was a partner in buying in the early 1990s.
He expects to have the 16 commercial lots ready for sale by November.
“Wherever you have residential growth, you need retail and commercial to complement it,” Meybohm said. “We hope it will attract hotel sites, full-service restaurants and potentially professional office buildings – that sort of thing.”
Meybohm said the property was zoned as a multifamily development in early 2000, years before county officials instituted a moratorium on multifamily zonings. The moratorium, which lasted about five years, was lifted in March 2011.
Riverstone and Lull Water at Riverwood, about 180 units in the permitting process, were approved before the moratorium went into effect in 2006. Harmon said at that time there were zonings for about 3,500 units in addition to existing apartments.
Since the moratorium was lifted, only apartment and townhouse developments with fewer than 50 units have been approved.
Meybohm said the Interstate 20 interchange is a great area to develop.
“The good thing about it is at that interchange, everything is going to be new,” Meybohm said. “There’s not existing buildings or anything like that, so we’ll be able to have architectural control and hope we can do a quality development there.”